Alissa

I am beautiful because I am loved and accepted for who I am. I don’t have to try to be someone I am not, or strive to be anything other than me. My friends, family and faith have kept me strong. I have learned that it doesn’t matter how much makeup you put on, or how you do your hair, or who you hang out with, or what you eat. What matters is the confidence you have in your beliefs, and how much love you have for other people – these shine through in a way no moisturizer, or healthy eating plan ever can!

Autumn

What makes me look beautiful is that I’m looking back at you. I often notice people looking at me, and I used to think it was because they thought I was particularly unattractive, or particularly attractive, or that I had spinach in my teeth, or whatever, depending on the day. And that might be true at any given moment, but with age—I’m 34—I’ve begun to believe that the main reason someone’s eyes might fall on me is because they see mine being open to the world. I make eye contact with everyone on the street—everyone! Old people, babies, classically beautiful women, unconventionally striking women, men with acne scars that bespeak a hidden past, the homeless woman who walks through the subway car asking for change: I can’t keep my eyes off the faces of my fellow humans. It turns the act of “looking beautiful” from something passive and essentially out of my control into something active and on my own terms. Does this make me more physically “beautiful”? Well, perhaps: When two people’s eyes meet, gentle impulses reign, impulses that will make my big brown eyes be what one remembers over, say, my crooked teeth. But more important, it helps me continually take in the beauty of the world. And just as people who see the world as an ugly place will find the grotesque wherever they look, when you seek beauty, you find it in every face you see.

Sarah

I know that true beauty does not mean having long hair, sparkly eyes, a tiny figure, or a perfect smile.  True beauty means being alive and living life to the fullest.  I am a 3-year survivor of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and when I lost my hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows, I came to realize that it mattered what is on the inside, not the outside.  Now I feel very silly for crying during my senior year prom because I hated my hair-do.  But I did not have the life experience that has taught my true beauty is found in many other qualities besides desired perfection.

Alexandra

I am beautiful. I am beautiful because I am kind, sensitive, graceful, a listener, a believer, and a great friend. I am beautiful because despite the binging in the past to the constant assumptions that I need to be thinner I have grown and am growing more everyday into a confident and strong woman.

As a teen I began to struggle with anxiety, shyness, and insecurities about my image. When the anxiety began to become more serious, I  was sent to a psychiatrist who prescribed me drugs to ‘regulate’ my anxiety. In the moment of hopelessness and confusion, I was close to agreeing to taking the drugs I was prescribed. However, my family thankfully convinced me not to. The summer of 2008 I met an extraordinary woman in Lviv, Ukraine (hometown) who paved an amazing journey for me by just the two words that I never understood or never heard of. Love yourself. Although these words seemed so foreign, my anxious heart and unrested mind soaked in these words. Ever since that day, I have been discovering, learning, and growing. Although there are days where I struggle and fall, I stand right back up.

I am beautiful.

Janetha

i used to look in the mirror and focus on the things i wanted to change. my pale skin. the size of my legs. the scar on my nose. my freckles. the shape of my arms. nowadays, i look in the mirror and focus on the things i love. my pale skin. the size of my legs. the scar on my nose. my freckles. the shape of my arms. no, nothing has changed on the outside. but something has changed on the inside. i decided that i am good enough for me.

Ashley

To me, beauty comes from within. True beauty shines from a beautiful soul, it’s inviting and warm and incredibly attractive; you can’t help but be wrapped up in it and drawn in to it. I think I have a beautiful soul that comes from the love that I’ve been given from my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It’s the confidence and security that I have in His love that makes me beautiful.

I find my blue eyes from my Mama beautiful, my nose from my Daddy beautiful, and my legs from my Mom beautiful. God has allowed me to see myself as beautiful and to want to share that beauty with other women as encouragement. It has taken me a long time and quite a journey of self discovery and self awareness to get here. God’s had to break me of a lot of rebellion, idols, and unbelief. It’s my hope and prayer that I can share that journey with other women to encourage and strengthen them in their journeys that we’re not alone in our walk. Life is made to be lived together. It’s time we stop pretending we have it all together when inside we’re all in need of love…and a little beauty!

I’ve always had a “fantasy” of being described as beautiful as Christmas morning. I chose this photo because I’m in my PJs, no make-up, excited to start the day, not worried about anything but the love and generosity that I have for my family. Christmas morning comes with the beauty of love and life and a childlike faith that is so innocent and pure. I think my beauty in this photo comes from within. It isn’t fussy or over-the-top, it’s just simple and plain, from the inside.

Our Deepest Fear

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most.  We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?”  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  Your playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you.  We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us.  And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

–Nelson Mandela, 1994 Inaugural Speech

 

***Edited to note that the quote is originally from Marianne Williamson, but was used in Nelson Mandela’s 1994 Inaugural Speech***


Learning to Define

beau·ty

beauty pronunciation

1.  the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).
2.  a beautiful person.
3.  a beautiful thing, as a work of art or a building.
4.  Often, beauties. something that is beautiful in nature or in some natural environment.
5.  an individually pleasing or beautiful quality; grace; charm: a vivid blue area that is the one real beauty of the painting.
6.  Informal . a particular advantage: One of the beauties of this medicine is the freedom from aftereffects.
7.  something excellent of its kind.
And so there is it:  beauty defined in words.  How will YOU define it in your life?
Remember, we are all beautiful; you are beautiful just the way you are!

Clare

My eyes that change from blue to green are beautiful, and even more so because I got them from my Grandmother. My undereye circles remind me how lucky I am to be my Mother’s daughter, and my rosy cheeks come straight from my Dad. I am beautiful because I am unique, yet tied to my loved ones in every way.

I have been unhealthy in the past, and it has made me a stronger and more confident woman. I know that my body, when treated properly, is capable of amazing feats. I know that I have good qualities that extend far beyond any hairstyle or flat stomach, and I know that they are what I want to be valued for. And so while I make an effort to live in a healthy and active way, I must also make an effort to remember that it is the internal results of that lifestyle that are most important. Because having a goofy grumbling laugh like my dad is beautiful, and it’s the moments when I get to share that laugh with others that make life beautiful for me.