Explaining your goal in life or work is never easy. There are all these things that people expect for you to say – to make the world a better place, to have an effect on people’s lives, to make money, et cetera. Of course those are all things I want to do, but that doesn’t really explain how I’d like to do it. I think my life is better summed up as an endless pursuit of beauty. I want to seek beauty, find beauty, and cultivate/create beauty within others and within myself. So when Natalie Borton began her Choose Beauty Linkup, I knew I had to get in on it. I’ve read such lovely and poignant stories being shared on Anne‘s Love Yourself Linkup so it was a no-brainer to join another network encouraging earnest reflections on personal stories and experiences. I may not be able to post every week on both linkups, but hopefully what I do get to share will be fulfilling for both me and you.

the pursuit of beauty | tide & bloom

I’ve always thought of beauty as an outward journey, an active search or effort to bring more beauty unto me. Whether it is through clothes, make-up, decor, or whatever, the thing I thought I needed to find would always be out there somewhere. It was within the pages of the glossy magazines showing me who I could be if I just tried a little harder. It was in the stacks of history books in the art and architecture library. It was growing outside in the meadows and all around me. It can actually be overwhelming sometimes when I think about all the ways in which I see our beautiful world. And perhaps one of the biggest reasons why I see beauty so pervasively is because I often fail to see it within myself. 

Sometimes, I just have to fake it. It bugs me when other people don’t take compliments well so I do my best to accept the ones given to me with grace and appreciation. But in my head, I’m usually thinking “well, it’s only because I try so hard,” as if the effort negates any perceived merit. It pains me to continue explaining all these weird personality nuances I have because for fear that it will reveal too much of the internal me, particularly to my friends and family. I want them to believe that I’m as pulled together as I look and that I have the same faith in myself that I try to impart on others like me. After all, who will listen to or admire someone unless they seem like they have it all figured out? Even worse is the fact that because I want to seem so composed, my boyfriend often bears the load of all my crazy. He has to hear me say terrible things like “I’m fat” or “I’m such a bitch” and experience first hand just how much self-doubt I drag along with me every day. (Side note: For his unconditional love and support, he just might be the most beautiful person I know.)

If beauty is my goal, then I have to begin paying more attention to the positive in what I do – take more notice of my lovely self – to carve it from the inside out. I tend to see myself as someone who needs improvement or lacking too much in conviction or talent. And the result of that is completely debilitating to my internal growth or any forward movement for my career. I need to not only recognize my beauty but also allow it to seep through to all parts of me and the things I do. I need to have more pride in my abilities and actions. My hope for the coming year, the first year of this blog’s existence, is that all of this inward reflection will mark a turning point in my story. A turning point in which I’ll begin accepting every part of myself equally and therefore become able to make the art (beauty) I was always meant for.

Another hope of mine is that you do this too. It’s obviously so much easier said than done, but it is one of the most important challenges we face as we are forced into the expectations of adulthood. Accept everything of yourself good and bad, silly and weird, crazy, practical, and ridiculous. Do not allow your let downs to validate your worries or negative self-image; you will only sink further back into doubt. All of it is part of our imperfect humanness and all of it is beautiful.

Please tell me, how are you beautiful?

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12 Comments

  1. A turning point is all we can hope for in the daily (and minute-by-minute) struggle to accept ourselves… and eventually embrace and love ourselves just the way we are. Beautifully written! Looking forward to reading more of your journey. 🙂

  2. I’m so thankful to have gotten to know you through these linkups. Your perspective resonates with me each week.

    To answer your question: I feel beautiful when I serve others, when I am kind, and when joy is evident. I feel beautiful when I dwell on the truth that God made me exactly how I am, with no mistakes in His eyes.

  3. andreateggart Reply

    Thank you for sharing! I feel beautiful when I am surrounded by people that love me unconditionally, without even thinking about it. When I’m around them, I’m reminded that no matter what I do, say, wear, act, whatever – I am loved and cherished by them simply for being.

    • I feel the same. I’d feel pretty lost right now if it weren’t for the love of my friends, family, and significant other. Good thing we have them 🙂

  4. Thank you so much for sharing these words and for joining in on this beauty conversation—I loved reading your post!!

    To answer your question: I am beautiful when I accept and love myself regardless of how I feel about my body; I am beautiful when I am kind to others, regardless of how “nice” I feel that day; I am beautiful when I choose to put others first rather than seeking my own selfish desires; I am beautiful when I invest in the lives of others, no matter how messy they may be.

    • No, thank YOU for continuing the discussion!

      You obviously have a good heart and I trust that those who receive your kindness recognize the beauty in it too. 🙂

  5. This all rings SO TRUE to me (especially the boyfriend bearing the load of my craziness…) and I’m so thankful you were brave enough to hit publish and join the linkup.

    How am I beautiful? Yikes. It feels weird to even answer such a question. Like I’m so scared to claim something so special as “beautiful” as part of who I am.

    I am beautiful… in my ability to communicate love and joy to people through song at church.

    • Good thing my boyfriend loves me… sometimes I don’t know how he puts up with it!

      Hahaha. This is exactly the reason why I asked it! You should try to recognize something beautiful in yourself every day and write it down.

  6. I love how you wrote it: “I need to not only recognize my beauty but also allow it to seep through to all parts of me and the things I do”. This is so true! If only we could all do that and help each other in doing the same.

    I feel most beautiful when I am at rest in my soul and allowing other women around me to be at rest in their souls as well, not trying or striving or pursuing but just being. It’s hard to do. 🙂

    • It’s definitely not something we’re really given lessons on (at least I wasn’t), but hopefully just talking and posting about it will foster growth and self-appreciation. You’re right – it definitely is hard to just be still sometimes, but it’s always worth it when I am actually able to do it.

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