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inner beautyThis last weekend, I went on a date with my husband.  For most people this wouldn’t be news to actually celebrate, but my husband and I are strange people in that we would much rather be with our children than without.  Yes, we are capable of going to the movies and out to dinner, but why? Our children are at home.  Yes, we can do things separate from our children, but why? We like our children.

But this last weekend my husband and I had symphony tickets. There truly isn’t that many things that will take me away from my children, but the symphony, especially a Christmas concert in a beautiful cathedral, is one of them.  To listen to those cellos, to fall into the delicacy of the harp, and to watch those violin bows tear up their instruments in joyful and complicated pieces, is worth it to me.  I love it, and I am not yet game to subject my children to having to sit still and listen.  One day, I will introduce them. But not now.

So this being a big night I decided to spend a little extra time on myself, getting ready.  This is a deal because quite frankly most days I don’t bother.  I don’t wear makeup everyday, my hair (which is relatively long) is stuck behind my head, and you are really lucky if I come to work without coffee stains on my shirt.  I am just that kind of girl.  I have always felt that if you needed bling to make you beautiful you were picking the wrong accessories.

There is nothing more beautiful, in my mind, than a woman naturally beautiful.  Someone who doesn’t overcompensate with large jewels, or heavy makeup.  Someone who allows the skin, the hair, the eyes, the beauty that God gave you to really shine through, is someone who is not only beautiful but gorgeous.  And while many of us (okay, all of us) are only capable of seeing the flaws that need to be covered up, the rest of the world sees something different.

So this last Saturday night, as I got ready for this big concert, I wondered about beauty.  While I took the time for the first time in months to carefully shave my legs, and spent time soothing on lotion I tried to remember the last time I felt beautiful.  It certainly isn’t in my day-to-day life, so could I pick a moment from earlier that I truly felt beautiful.

It took me a moment, but flashes, images became alive in my brain as I remembered the times when I was stared at just a little longer, or I got the eye of a handsome man.  And then I remembered how many times I had read that being beautiful had nothing whatsoever to do with what you were wearing, but the confidence that you displaying.

To be beautiful, you have to think beautiful.  For me, it is a stretch to believe that I am beautiful.  Of, I won’t stop traffic in horror, but neither will I ever stop traffic in awe.  I am quite normal in my looks, and while there may be a feature or two that is nicer than others, for the most part, I am just average.  Nothing to write home about.  But that wasn’t the point.  The point is not to create an image of your head of what you could be, but to create a beautiful image of what you are.

Sometimes this honestly takes pretending on my part, but I still try to emulate it.  I still try to believe that I have that something that makes one person beautiful and the other just plain.  I try to hold my breath and sincerely hope that the combination of my beauty will be enough.  And people respond.  They don’t respond to the makeup, nor to the fancy dress.  I may get compliments on my shoes, but that isn’t what makes me approachable.  Instead it is the believe that I am worthy of love, that I am worthy of devotion, that a good man can love me.

Finding inner beauty isn’t about a piece of you, but rather your whole self.  It isn’t about believing that you are better than everyone else in the room, but rather you are better than the image of yourself.  It can’t be about your style, your life, of even your accomplishments.  It’s about that thing in you, that nebulous thing that you possess that makes you, quite frankly, perfect.  The secret of beauty, isn’t the shaved legs, or the plucked eyebrows; it isn’t the jewels, the dress, the shoes or the lingerie.  It is simply you.

And while I can see this and feel this for brief hours at a time, the truth is I can’t for long.  Even after my date, Sunday morning came and I realized that I was still the same person as Saturday morning, and at the end of the day I couldn’t be any more special, nor beautiful, than the person I saw in the mirror.