You Are More Than Beauty

"You have more to do than be weighed down by pretty or beautiful. You are a fiery heart and a wicked brain. Do not let your soul be defined by its shell." -Carolyn Costing

I have been feeling unattractive of late. I could probably trace it back to the haircut: the one that chopped my locks into this short style,  the one that makes every outfit seem wrong or gives me less confidence than the long hair I have sported for years.

Perhaps that's unfair, there have, after all, been fleeting moments of physical confidence in these months and were many periods where that was lacking before. Maybe I could attribute it to my singleness, I have spent far too long pinning my self worth to the romance in my life and my self belief to the men who believed in me, which I do not recommend to anyone. That too doesn't seem quite right as most days I am thankful for being free of unhappiness and find so much joy in my lifestyle.  So then I can't quite understand why what I see in the mirror leaves me feeling unsettled.

It's not that I am severely unhappy, please don't think that to be the case, but more that I feel so distinctly average. Which, of course, no one wants to feel. No matter the makeup I put on my face or the way I curl my hair, nothing quite gets me to that happy glow of "yes, today I look good".

Happily I have been part of an email chain unlike any other, one where friends send round inspiring quotes, and an old friend of a new friend emailed me the one that you read above. Her timing and message were perfect, it was exactly what I needed to hear.

Why does it matter that I don't feel pretty, when there are so many other things to feel happy about? I'm living an exciting life filled with opportunity, indeed a summer in New York is becoming more possible by the day. I am working hard towards classes I love, and designing a proposal for a UNICEF bid in my internship. So much else is being handed to me that my inherent dislike of my physical features should pale in comparison. More to the point, if I think hard about it, I would rather someone told me that I had a beautiful soul than a beautiful face. I want to be the kind of person that makes people feel good about themselves, and the only important feature in that should be the way my mouth creases into a smile or forms words that light up others.

It's impossible not to fall into defining ourselves our external features, society is bombarding us with messages about our physical self worth everyday. But today I'm asking you to fight back, to value yourself based on what is contained within you, not what is displayed outside. To compliment others based on who they are, not what they look like or wear. Perhaps if we all took a moment to congratulate ourselves and each other on a beautiful mind or a pretty heart we would all feel better.

Liza Tait-BaileyAdvice