Alright everyone!! I am soo excited to start this blog! I have wanted to start one for quite some time but due to my perfectionist personality, which I constantly attempt to keep at bay like a fire that strives to rage despite firefighters efforts to squelch it, I have hesitated in starting it feeling like it was essential that my first post is so FANTASTIC that it blows everyone out of the water. Basically I decided I'd better just start it and eventually one of my blog posts will be meaningful and help some person with whatever they struggle with :). I love life! I love sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What is beautiful?

A few months ago when I listened to Stephanie Nielson speak about redefining "beauty" I kindof wanted her to give it a rest. I wanted her and everyone else caught up in this movement to give up on clinging to the term "beautiful" as a source of validity and something that is so essential to have. I thought it was fine for the definition of beauty to be exclusively that of one's physical appearance. But since then I have come to believe that a person's beauty really is all the unique amazing things about them including, as a piece of their giant puzzle of beautifulness, their physical appearance. I am a mentor in an eating disorder support group (the most meaningful thing I have ever experienced) and in group last week we did an activity where we wrote on a piece of paper "I am beautiful because...." and everyone filled up the rest of the page with reasons, apart from physical ones, that we are beautiful. Then we went around the room and took turns reading one reason aloud at a time until we had all read all of our reasons. This group has been one of the prime experiences of my existence and we have had sessions that have changed my life and blessed me in so many ways but I really think that this activity was my very favorite. As each woman expressed uniquely gorgeous aspects of themselves, some of which would be looked down upon by traditional ideologies as negative traits, I just felt truth and happiness glowing within myself. Those things each woman said were beautiful. They were real and unique and genuine. They were individual but also some were universal. I believe that the definition of beautiful is everything about us that makes us who we are. The combination of our strengths and weaknesses and our needs and our abilities. Our tendencies and our quirks. Everyone has genuine beauty. I honestly believe this is true. I was a skeptic and now I am a believer :) I want to share with all of you the list that I wrote about myself. And I want to encourage you to make your own. Please do it :)

I am beautiful because I express my genuine love despite fears of how it will be received.
I am beautiful because I need to be held when I am having a hard time.
I am beautiful because I tell jokes that I think are funny even if other people probably won't think they are.
I am beautiful because I love to listen to people and hold them and comfort them.
I am beautiful because being with my little cousins is one of my very favorite things to do.
I am beautiful because I am imperfect and I openly let others know.
I am beautiful because I am intrinsically, inherently, and innately lovable.

I share these intimate feelings towards myself not lightly. I share this tender activity with you so that you can see how amazing it was for me to feel the unique beauty inside myself and to embrace myself without reservations. Reservations which at times are fueled by perceived inadequacy in the area so many of us (especially those of us who have struggled with eating disorders) so often use as the measure of our validity, our physical appearance.

"You are not defined by how you look. You get to be defined by something much greater."

You are beautiful.