Updated: Feb 9, 2019
"Beauty is beyond first glance, it’s lies in the heart of the created.” -college Katie, circa 2003
Being a makeup artist at Bare Essentials while in college will forever be one of my favorite jobs. I was able to use my artistic and creative skills while drawing out the beauty I saw. It helped me develop the skill of learning to really see others. It was a vulnerable place to be in with my clients because tender insecurities would surface.
There was usually a point before the makeover would even start that I would compliment my client. More often than not the compliment would quickly be dismissed or replaced with shame. As women, it seems we are conditioned to speak this way over ourselves, as if it's a form of being humble, but really we're reinforcing shame.
What I mean by shame is the negative thoughts that are on repeat in our minds about how we look. You might hear it pop up as the first thought when you see a picture of yourself or catch a glimpse of your reflection somewhere. It’s the resistance after receiving a compliment.
“Shame is the most powerful, master emotion. It’s the fear that we’re not good enough.” says Brené Brown. I identified with the shame in these women because I was so connected to my own. I had embodied years of it, believing on every level I wasn't enough and sometimes too much.
The truth is, no perfect eye shadow or amazing glowing foundation could take this shame away or heal the ache in these women, or my own.
During the reveal, there was something magical I got to witness. There was a shift in her presence. There was a spark that lit up in her. A lightness in her eyes and she would stand a little taller. I witnessed time after time women glowing from the inside out. I wondered how could this external shift made such an impact on her internal reality.
Then I realized, this "glow" was always within her. The mineral makeup didn't put it there. It was always there and only revealed itself once she believed she was beautiful.
Just for a second, I want to invite you to think about the last time you encountered true beauty. This is beyond the aesthetics and something that gives you that spark on the inside. It's that twinkle in someone's eyes as they talk about something they love. It's a compliment that stays with you, or the beauty of someone’s vulnerable presence. It's when a heart is open and shares a tender thought, "I love you." There’s an energy exchange that is filling, restoring and authentic when we encounter true beauty. It has the ability to draw us towards the heart of God.
No wonder beauty has been hijacked. No wonder there is such resistance to accepting it. No wonder we are all filled with shame around the idea of beauty. True beauty is powerful.
CHANGING THE WAY WE SEE
No one has been a better teacher of this concept to me than my daughter Hallie, who literally does not see with her eyes, but oh how she does with her heart. I’m thankful she will never have to know the pain of disconnecting from her body through comparing herself to images from social media or cultural standards.
She is so full of beauty because she drinks it in when she experiences it. Beautiful sounds, genuine acts of kindness, being in the present moment, joy in laughter, the delight of her other senses. She receives the gift of beauty so effortlessly. I love the way she connects with people. Not concerned about how they look, she cuts through insecurities by the way she embraces them. She is present to others in a way I want to be. (more about her here.)
This is what Hallie has taught me. “Beautiful women glow. When you are with a beautiful women you might not notice her hair or skin or body or clothes, because you’ll be distracted by the way she makes you feel. She will be so full of beauty that you will feel some of it overflow onto you.” -Glennon Doyle Melton, Love Warrior
RECLAIMING OUR RADIANCE
What I learned as a makeup artist is that our external realities can have an effect on how we feel about ourselves. Yet, we can choose to see our true beauty no matter what we look like. Experiencing an authentic and radical acceptance begins the process of reclaiming our radiant beauty. Being present to ourselves and others helps us see beyond cultural standards keeping shame alive.
I’ll continue to share more of my own process as it is ongoing. I have needed God’s perspective as well as helping professionals as I work through my own shame. But paying attention and moving toward unconditional love have been the first steps.
So, wear the mineral makeup and draw out your external beauty but remember dear hearts, true beauty is already glowing within you. What helps you find your radiance? (would love to hear your thoughts below.)
Questions to ponder or journal about:
What are the most beautiful parts of you? Imagine getting to look into God’s mirror. What does he see?
When did you first not like a certain part of yourself? Can you go back to that girl and love her from here?
What do you hope to leave people feeling like after being in your presence?
How can you practice learning to see true beauty in others?
When have you experienced true beauty drawing you to the heart of God?