When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you see a woman who is beautiful?
Last week a friend offered to take new headshots of some local writers at her photo studio. The next day she sent a few her favorite photos to the participants. The women looked just beautiful in their photos. (This friend is a gifted photographer who has a way of showing both inner and outer beauty through her photography.) My photo is lovely too, though when I looked at it I saw a too-large nose and tired-looking eyes.
Just then I realized how absurd it is to look in a mirror and still see the flaws first.
That initial reaction to seeing the photos truly bothered me, until I realized that this is the way I have trained myself to react. It has been a lifetime of seeing the flaws first, and that is way too long. It is not as if I see in the mirror some hideous creature that bears no resemblance. It is more of a defense mechanism which says that I look okay but….
Nevertheless, I did this – and I can undo this. Yes, my eyes are tired. They are up before dawn to write each morning. So what if my nose appears larger in photographs? My kids inherited that nose (which looks adorable on them) and they will forever resemble my lineage.
We can all undo the negative self-talk simply by replacing it with positive self-talk. After all, we deserve to look at ourselves and see beauty before flaws. And parents who are raising daughters can teach them to see beauty before flaws too. It does not mean that we are raising them to be conceited; it means that we are raising them to appreciate themselves. What could be more beautiful than that?
For inspiration I asked a few friends who are radiant on both the inside and out about the secret to feeling beautiful. Take a read and be inspired:
Being the mom to only sons, I find my current beauty in being strong enough to keep up with them. – Rachel Blaufeld, BackNGrooveMom.com
I don’t see any other option besides self-love. When I finally started to truly love my body, it felt like a thousand pound weight being lifted off of me. My secret is to look past the ideals that our culture has brainwashed us with and embrace my own uniqueness. – Valerie Rowenkamp, CharmedValerie.com
I wouldn’t say I think I’m beautiful but I do love my body – especially since becoming a mom. This body birthed and nursed three babies, this body comforts my children when they are scared or hurt, this body expresses love to my husband, this body carries arm loads of groceries and scrubs floors and runs for miles. The more I do to make my body fit, the more I love it for all it can do. Even when it fails me, I’m amazed by how it can heal itself with proper care. – Jo-Lynne Shane, MusingsofaHousewife.com
I think being confident is what is beautiful. I know that when I feel my most beautiful, it’s usually the moments in my life when I feel confident about myself. Whether it’s a shoe I’m wearing, a dress I’m wearing, a lipstick I’m trying… I feel confident in the choices I make and they – in turn – make me feel beautiful on the inside and on the outside. –Audrey McClelland, MomGenerations.com
I’m learning to feel beautiful. I truly believe it comes from embracing who you are and accepting yourself: mind, body and all. You are who you are – and if you rock who you are CONFIDENTLY, if you really BELIEVE you are beautiful – you will exude the grace, confidence and self-esteem that exemplifies true beauty. – Stephanie Anderson, ModernDayDonnaReed.com
So, when you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do you see a woman who is beautiful?