Fat, tall, thin, curvy, petite…we would all use different vocabulary to describe ourselves. But as I talk more openly with stark vulnerability, I am finding that my readers and even long-time trusted friends have a blindingly different view of myself than I do.
Is that something we, as women, even consider; that others might not see us as we view ourselves?
I mean, have you ever walked into a friend’s home and honestly judged her by the cleanliness of her baseboards? Highly unlikely. But yet we are hyper critical of ourselves over these very things. It just doesn’t make sense.
So I interviewed a few of the most important women in my life about the subject of beauty and how we see ourselves and others.
Women-I assure you that others are almost never looking at you through your line of sight. They aren’t scrutinizing your ability to mother your children, or the shoes you paired with those jeans, or the fact that your struggle bun is a direct indication of how hopeless you are feeling. Nope. They see someone very different.
What does beauty mean to you?
“Beauty to me isn’t just about how someone looks. Beauty takes on many forms. It’s how you treat people, it’s being comfortable in who you are, it’s intelligence, self confidence, determination and hard work to achieve something,. It’s the journey of accepting and loving yourself right here right now in this particular situation and body we are in. Beauty is so many things to me other than just looks. There are a lot of pretty people out there who are ugly.” -Saleswoman, Wife, Mother of 4
“I think a person’s real beauty is an expression of their heart – their goodness, kindness, love for others.” -Teacher, Wife, Mother of 3
“As my momma always said to me, ‘Pretty is as pretty does!’ I have always looked for beauty within when looking at others. You can be a strikingly beautiful person from the outside but if your heart is not cold and your intentions are unkind, you are not beautiful to me.” -Former Teacher, Wife, Mother of Boys
“Beauty comes from heart and soul.” -Insurance Agent, Wife, Mother of Adult Kids
Mamas, did you catch that? Not one mentioned an outfit, a hairstyle, makeup contouring, or your weight. Other moms, other brave, beautiful women who really ‘get it’, they aren’t looking at you and judging. They see you in the checkout line with your box of wine and screaming toddler and they are cheering you on.
They think your stained leggings and over-sized sweatshirt are an honest thing of beauty because you are doing it-life, motherhood, messes and parent pick-up; all of it. And they aren’t searching your hairline for untouched grays or dry shampoo remnants because they have them too…or they did 20 years ago. We are a sisterhood and we are gorgeous!
What makes you feel beautiful?
“This is hard for me because I’m still struggling with self acceptance and self worth. I feel beautiful when I am confident. I feel beautiful when I’m in my favorite outfit or dress. My husband makes me feel beautiful. I feel beautiful when I am taking care of myself but lately that’s not often because of struggling with accepting myself as I am. I can put on a good face and fake confidence with the best of them. But to actually be okay with how I am right now, that’s tough.” -Successful Business Owner, Wife, Mother
“When my husband tells me that I am. I can see in his eyes that he’s not just saying it because he thinks he is supposed to; he says it because he really means it. And he tells me at times when I feel like I actually might look beautiful and just as often when my hair is a mess, I have on no make-up, and am wearing mismatched comfy clothes around the house.” -Educator, Former Counselor, Wife, Mother
“Being able to get dressed up, fix my hair, and put on make up and go on date with my sweet honey.” -Entrepreneur, Wife, Mother
Wow. Men, did you catch the power you have?
As women, we want to feel beautiful and empowered for ourselves and for our girlfriends, but what carries the deepest meaning is how you see us. We were created that way and, ladies, that’s okay. Whether we are still searching for approval from a parent, waiting for the right spouse, or feeling our way through a relationship that is difficult to navigate at times, we have all been there; searching for acceptance, desperately wanting to be fought for and defended, to be found beautiful.
And we are. But women, we have to believe the person in our life who is telling us we are enough.
How important is self-care to you? Do you make it a priority? Why/why not?
“I’ve been either pregnant or nursing for 8 years. Five pregnancies resulting in four babies and nursing/pumping for a year with each one. It’s taken 8 years to figure out just how important self care is. Having a child with quite a bit of behavior issues just makes it even more important but it also makes it even harder to do sometimes. I have started making self care a priority after the birth of our fourth baby in March. Whether it’s just staying up a little later to watch my show and unwind without children, taking a bath, taking a trip to the grocery store by myself, just something. Realizing the importance of self care is a big part of why I became an Arbonne consultant. I wanted to actually start investing in my health and myself and start working on my own personal journey to a better me. And I’ve never had a skincare routine. That was a big step in self care for me. That was an investment in myself I wanted to make. It was a way to pamper myself that took 5 minutes every night and made me feel good.” -Consultant, Wife, Mother
“I think self-care is important, but I do not regularly make it a priority. I guess when I don’t it’s because there is always so much that needs to be done! As often as possible, I do make a point to have some “girl time” with my ride-or-dies. A little time and laughter with them can last me for a while.” -Former Stay-At-Home-Mama, Wife, Mother
“Self-care tends to be pushed to the back burner when my husband or kids need something. It makes me feel guilty to take alone time or time with my girlfriends, but I’m learning that it is important to my health because, now, I tend to ‘reward’ myself with unhealthy food or binge-watching Netflix.” -Writer, Wife, Mother
“Self care is very important to me. It makes me feel good about myself when I can treat myself to a pedicure, manicure, and every five weeks a hair appointment for color. Got to cover those grey hairs girl!!” -Successful Business Owner, Wife, Mother of 2
“No priority. Mom is always the last to be taken care of.” -Working Mom and Grandma, Wife
Mamas, this is crucial. We tend to have a hard time taking time for ourselves but it is so true that if we will prioritize time to take care of and invest in our best selves, we will return to our families even better for it. Whether it is a full out girl’s weekend or just time at the gym, ladies, we need this personal investment.
Have you ever looked at a female friend and judged them as ugly or not beautiful?
“Seeing them with their kids, the smiles and laughs they share with them. The way they light up when their kids run to them for a hug. Seeing them be raw and real with life. Seeing them face struggles everyday. Speaking words of life to ourselves and to each other is beautiful. Our truth is beautiful. No matter what that looks like. I have a very eclectic group of friends I’ve been lucky to know. They are all beautiful. When I became a mom I realized just what this journey is really like and how we are all just doing the best we can. That is beautiful.” -Seamstress, Wife, Mother