(Note: This is a most incomplete thought, and only about a tenth of what I have written on this subject in the last two days...trust me, much more to come...)
I kind of hate my smile, true story. Check my profile pics, you won’t find a toothy grin I promise. The tricky thing is, in real life people don’t just rummage through my Facebook page- they see me. The other tricky thing is, I laugh a lot. And I laugh big and loud; I can’t help it. And so, my smile is mostly all over the place and there is nothing I can do about it. Tricky thing number three, I discount my beauty because of it.
Griff said something funny the other day, as he does. I laughed and then Gabe, my Sweet One said “Mom, your teeth are big.” I replied with a sarcastic little “Thanks buddy.” It wasn’t that my feelings were hurt, it was more of a mocking little acknowledgement that I was right. It was a nod to my own silly notion that my big giant, eye hiding, face swallowing, big teeth baring smile somehow made me less beautiful. He cocked his head to the side and then, my eight year old boy, my Sweet One, grabbed my face in both of his hands and got very close to me and said “You. Are a beautiful woman.” And he meant it with all of him; I could feel it. He wasn't discounting my beauty and didn't want me to either. What a gift.
How often do we disqualify our beauty like that though? I can not tell you how many times I have sat with a woman while she looked through her photos and criticized herself. I have heard the most outrageously gorgeous women tear themselves apart. I’ve done it too, I’m too fat, too thin, my ears look funny with my hair like that… I’ve said it all. But really, can we stop this? I mean, it’s pointless.
Look, I am going to try to love my smile a little more. Actually, for a couple reasons, I am going to just go right ahead and believe that I am beautiful.
First- because Gabe Sees well and he speaks the truth. I recognize this gift in him and it is beyond important to me to call out the greatness I see in my kiddos. He is blessed with vision and the ability to speak honestly with boldness, and I want to encourage him to do that as often as possible.
Also, I’m believing because I want to. Honestly, who doesn’t want to have their face taken in and told they are beautiful? When I tell my girls, (and fyi, I try to throw in smart, funny and brave just as often as I say beautiful), they do not hesitate to agree. Never has Emmy said, “Oh, but my hair looks awful today.” And Grace has certainly never given pause to the thought that she is anything but wonderfully radiant. I hate that we lose the ability to see ourselves as the lovely creations we are. The truth is, regardless of your perceived “flaws” (I hate that word), you were created in the image of God and you are amazingly captivating.
I’m not going to ask some cliché questions like “When do we stop believing people when they tell us we are beautiful?” I am aware of all the ways that we can become jaded, all the lies that are thrown at us, and all the imperfections that these damn magnifying mirrors draw out. And hey, shout out to all the females who do believe. But man, I so wish I could make every woman believe. Goodness, I so want to figure out a way to help us all love ourselves a little more… I’m not going to name any names, but Lady, Friend, Sister, Girl, Woman- You. Are beautiful.