Wednesday, January 22, 2014

You're Beautiful ... Just As You Are {Coffee for Your Heart}

(via Holley Gerth)
(via Pinterest//Mauli Hans)

I hate that you don’t know this yet. You’ve been told it a thousand times at least … but you brush it off, or worse, you inwardly drown it out with lies. You tell yourself you’re ugly, a has-been, a never-will-be, ordinary, plain, not good enough … and then you criticize every feature you see in the mirror. I’ve been there, believe me. You tell yourself your nose is too big (if only you could have one like so-and-so’s), your smile too crooked, your laugh lines and crow’s feet too prominent, your hair too wild, your cheeks too big … until you’ve nitpicked yourself into a dark place where you try to console yourself with the one feature you deem adequate - “At least I have nice nails …”
I almost can’t bear the thought of you going through this. The reason this topic fires me up so is simple: I have said those things to the mirror (not those exact things, but of the same variety). I have ducked my head at the bathroom sink, just so I wouldn’t hear the nasty things I said about myself, but even so, the feeling was still there; the core belief I had could not be avoided like the mirror could. I have believed that I am worthless; of no value. I wasn’t just critiquing my appearance - that was simply the easiest thing to judge. Inside, I have hated far more things about myself. I’ve hated my habits, my talents (or lack thereof), my personality, my health, my failures, my weaknesses. Every stroke of makeup has been a manifesto of my belief that I am less than lovely. With this inside of me, every time I heard similar lies from another; their self-consciousness, I could not stand it. I would refute them, boldly, yet each time I did so, I would be telling myself that although they were stunning, I was far from it.
All that to say, this isn’t just for you; I am preaching to myself here. I need reminded of this too, daily, desperately.
You. Are. Beautiful -- just as you are.
I’ve noticed something interesting, over the years: the things you don’t like about yourself, or are self-conscious of … those are the very things we love about you.
That dimple in your cheek? We see it and can’t help but smile wider; to us it is genuine joy, and in our eyes you are forever young.
Those bangs you cut yourself in frustration? We love them. Your small rebellion makes us grin, and you actually aren’t a bad hairdresser.
Your shy smile? We would do anything to make it resurface. Honest to goodness, it’s simplistically stunning.
Your full cheeks? They make us feel at home; comfortable … we resist the temptation to squeeze them, and just squeeze you in a hug instead.
Your bright blush? To us it is innocence, unplanned charm, and so very endearing.
Your wrinkles? Yes, dear one, we love those too. We know you have walked through the valleys, and love that you came out still yourself - not afraid of years, yet not letting them define you. You’re still crazy wild.
Those things you deem “blemishes”? Please never ever change them. They are part of your identity, part of what makes you beautiful. To us, you are radiant. Always.
That sloppy ponytail that you didn’t have time to fix? We are somehow inspired by how real you can be.
Everything about you is beautiful. Don’t change a thing. We have seen you for who you are, and we have learned to love every quirk, every wrinkle, every scar, every feature, every expression, every emotion … you were made beautiful, without flaw, fearfully, wonderfully, in the very image of the One that created you.
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my 
soul knows it very well.” -Psalm 139:14
“You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” - Song of Solomon 4:7
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness …” - Genesis 1:26a