You are beautiful. I know you don’t always feel beautiful, but you are.
Now come a little bit closer, because I’m going to tell you a secret that society likely didn’t share with you as you grew up: You don’t have to be a perfect wife/ mother/ daughter/ sister/ aunt/ niece/ granddaughter/ employee/ entrepreneur or friend; you don’t need to be thin or manicured or eat perfectly or exercise or drive a fancy car or work for a non-profit or make heaps of money or always choose others over yourself or change the world or stay on top of the laundry or meet everyone’s expectations in order to be beautiful.
No – you are already beautiful.
Sure, sometimes you’re frustrated, bone tired, angry, heartbroken, disappointed, resentful or ashamed. Sometimes you judge others harshly (though more often, you judge yourself harshly). And sometimes you do things you feel deeply awful about. And quite possibly you have wrinkles or cellulite. Or both (gasp).
You know what? You’re beautiful.
I’m not quoting a Facebook meme. I mean this with every fibre of my being.
You know what makes you beautiful? Being fully, unapologetically YOU.
Here’s why. The world will only ever know one YOU, the you that’s in the physical body you now live in. All the things you may think of as your ‘faults’ are what make you achingly, beautifully human. We NEED those unique expressions of you. We don’t need clones of each other. We need originality and bravery and a unique voice (your voice) that is born from your own experiences and memories and unique perspective.
That’s how we learn from each other. That’s what makes life such a rich experience – the beautiful diversity that is created when we all come together to share the same time and space.
So, how do we feel beautiful in the chaos, crazy schedules and laundry of life? Here are five (maybe unexpected) ways to do it.
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Scientists have found that smiling actually changes your brain chemistry. It sends feel-good signals to your brain that help reduce stress and elevate your mood. And there’s a wonderful side benefit: smiling is contagious. So, flash those pearly whites in the biggest smile you can muster. You’ll feel more beautiful, look more beautiful, and boost your mood in the process.
Do something just for YOU
We often take care of those around us, but what about doing something special for ourselves? This can be as simple as taking a precious half hour to yourself and going for a tranquil walk, then stopping at a café for your favourite beverage. Or it could mean jet-setting off to a luxurious retreat for a weekend and having your every whim looked after. Whatever you choose, it doesn’t matter, as long as it feels special. By doing this, you are acknowledging to yourself that you are worthy of being honoured and cared for.
Surround yourself with people who lift you higher
We’ve all experienced people who routinely leave us feeling drained, and others who encourage us and leave us feeling great about ourselves and life. Life comes with its ups and downs already, so why let people drain you and pull you down further? Instead, surround yourself with people who genuinely want the best for you and encourage your growth. And when negative people are around you, do your best to limit your exposure to them.
Do something kind for someone else
There’s something so powerful about helping others. It shifts our attention from our own dramas to the needs and feelings of other people. And when we help someone – even with the smallest act of kindness – there’s no telling the ripple effect it may have. Once I was in the checkout line at the grocery store and I sincerely complimented the cashier about something. She absolutely glowed afterwards – it made her day. Such a tiny act on my part brought her happiness and made me feel amazing.
Make yourself a priority
Pay closer attention to your own needs by tuning into your intuitive nudges and doing your best to follow them. If someone asks you to do something and your gut strongly says ‘no,’ there’s a reason for that. Or if your body keeps giving you signs that you need to rest, take heed before the signals get stronger. Honour those nudges and signs. When you make your needs a priority, you’ll feel more beautiful inside and out – and you’re better able to care for others because you won’t feel depleted or resentful from putting everyone else first.
Treat yourself with kindness and love, beautiful soul. You deserve it.
Originally written for The Wellness Universe.