Well, I was all geared up for a post about nail polish and bracelets, but then I read Amanda’s blog and I thought, “well geez, Kait, have some substance.” Because I do, and here I am.
Beauty is a hard concept. There are infinitely many definitions of beauty over time and space, but isn’t beauty just in the eye of the beholder? More often than not, beauty is defined by media and cultural standards. In turn, our personal definitions of beauty are shaped by this, until everyone has identical definitions of beauty. Only we aren’t identical in looks or personality. What happens is that we are left with a comparison to that stagnant definition, with ratings of beauty on a scale of closeness to the so-called standard. This leaves the “lesser beauties” with feelings of inadequacy, and in general, pitches neighbors against neighbors, judging each other and themselves according to a made up scale they so readily adopted but in time learned to resent.
This is true of our society, the world we live in. But it doesn’t have to be. When we take off our beauty blinders and learn to see clearly outside the lens of vanity that’s thrust upon us at an early age, we can find the beauty in ourselves and the world around us. We can either accept these skewed standards of beauty and live in self-loathing and judgement of others, or we can choose to reject the magazines and learn to see beauty in ourselves. The easy part is recognizing this. The hard part is choosing. Opting against the mainstream is never easy, but isn’t it what we’re called to do? If we aim to have lives rooted in love, well, isn’t that made easier by loving yourself and your neighbors?
These questions are hard, and are ones that I ask myself daily. I don’t have the answers, friends. But I sure am trying to shake off the rigid definition of beauty and learn to see myself in full. And sometimes it’s painful, and I don’t always love what I see, and I think maybe I could love myself more if I fell closer to the beauty on that stupid old scale. But then I am reminded of grace and humility, and the love of family and friends and an incredible Savior, and then I think I’m not half bad. Seeing others love me well helps me to love myself well, if that makes sense. I am worthy of love because I am loved. There’s so much beauty to be found, in ourselves and others, when we offer up a little bit or grace. Grace for the road, grace for imperfections, grace for trying. Grace and beauty are the perfect foils to each other, always playing off the other, ever increasing. So lets give ourselves a little grace, so then we can see beauty for what it is – a reflection of all good and perfect gifts.