Finding the Beautiful

Apparently it is National Compliment Day. Who knew! I don’t know about you, but I find it much easier to give a compliment than to receive one. Some types of compliments are almost impossible for me to accept without embarrassment, attempts to minimize or outright denial. Changing the way I receive compliments is a part of my Powerfully Beautiful theme for 2017 and always a challenge.

A few days ago I came across a 7 day challenge to love your body via Girls Gone Strong. I was at once intrigued, hopeful, doubtful, frustrated, and uncertain. I’m 45 years old. How can a lifetime of not liking my body be changed in only a week? To be completely honest, I don’t truly believe that is possible. However, for all of my doubts and insecurities, I like to see the glass as half full more often than half empty, or at the very least that the glass can be topped up. I am a realistic optimist. And even though I’m skeptical that seven days is all it takes to change how I feel about my body, I do believe that seven days just might be enough time to change the direction of my internal thoughts and to send them off down a better path.

Part of today’s little assignment was to take a few moments to think and write about what I find most beautiful about myself, both internally and externally. I get a kick out of these programs & courses that state you will only need 10-15 minutes a day to do the work. As if! Maybe if you don’t actually put thought into your responses…but I digress. I sat with blank paper before me for quite some time as I considered the question and how I could possibly respond. Almost instantly I knew that it would be much easier to find something internally beautiful. Thinking about external beauty just made me want to cry.

What is beautiful about me as a person? Inside? Even here, looking at the inside, I see so many flaws and short-comings and imperfections that make me question the validity of my answer.

  • I am loyal. When someone slips past my defenses and isn’t frightened off by what they find, he/she will be my friend for life. When someone allows me the privilege of being their friend, I take that rather seriously.
  • I care and I love. Sometimes I do forget things, but I typically remember details, big and small. I consider others wants and needs before my own a great deal of the time.
  • I encourage. I take great joy in building others up and in expressing love and gratitude.

What do I find most beautiful about myself externally? I’m biting my tongue to not say something negative or self-deprecating. It is easier to find beauty in my character than it is in the mirror or the way my mind sees my outward appearance, and, although I eventually came up with some instances of feeling beautiful, my natural inclination is to temper them with qualifiers and explanations. It requires tremendous effort to not do so now.

  • I feel beautiful when I get my hair cut, coloured, and styled.
  • (Okay, this one cannot be stated without the extra commentary, because this answer isn’t how I always feel.) At random moments, in random attire, I feel beautiful. I might be wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, but, for a few minutes in the day, I can feel beautiful. Another moment might find me in a dress or pyjamas, wearing my glasses or wearing my contacts, hair up or hair down…there is no rhyme or reason.
  • Where I feel most beautiful is the gym. In a t-shirt and shorts and funky knee high socks. Sweaty. Hair threatening to break free from its’ restraints. I might be tired or sore, elated or frustrated, but I feel strong, capable, powerful…and beautiful.

Today is the bonus day of my weekend, and it has been my intention to make today all about staying in my pjs and doing virtually nothing but relaxing and resting. As such, I’m not exactly in a position to be receiving compliments today, which is likely just as well since I’m not always comfortable accepting them. However, I am going to take some time to send out some compliments, and I am going to keep plodding along on this journey, learning to love myself inside and out.


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