The reflection in the bathroom mirror told me I needed a good, strong cup of coffee and a whole lotta makeup this morning. I had my big gray robe on, and I looked even more tired than I felt. My hair was still wet from the shower, and my mind was going in the direction of “you look like a drowned rat, Shannon.” It wasn’t a great impression in my head.
Then my baby girl came in, looked up at me with those incredible big blue eyes and said “Mommy, you are so beautiful!” I kind of laughed, as I am apt to do when I get a complement, brushing it off with a simple “you’re so sweet, Jaylah.”
But she persisted. She held out her arms, and as I lifted her up for a hug, she touched my face and said “You are prettier than a movie star, mom!”
This time a real smile broke across my face.
My thoughts went to the things I tend to tell myself, the impressions carved so deeply in my mind. Sometimes it’s hard to feel pretty. I am in my mid 30’s with a post-two-kids body. I went through years of marriage with a man who never thought I was pretty enough, tall enough, thin enough or dressed well enough. And somehow over the years, his voice became my own. And now I am 32lbs heavier than I was when I was married. I try my hardest to be healthy, but this recent bout of sickness has taken the majority of my energy and left me feeling weaker than normal. My eyes look like a raccoon and I have begun to wear makeup more days than not. I even started tanning (3 minutes at a time) to see if I could transform this translucent white skin that I don’t feel pretty in.
I stopped my runaway thoughts and looked at this precious little girl in my arms. Hair still wild from sleep, pajamas on, looking like a disheveled mess. And I thought about how beautiful she is. In this moment, looking like a “mess,” I found her startlingly gorgeous. And as she looked back at me, her blue eyes pierced my insecurities and doubts. She truly thinks I am the most beautiful woman in the world. She does her hair like me, dresses like me (only brighter) and talks about being like me all the time. She wants to be just like me. And if I have all of these insecurities and doubts, what am I teaching her?
I allowed her words to carve a new soft spot into my heart.
I knew that she meant it. With every fiber of her tiny being.
I snuggled her in closer, foreheads touching as I whispered a simple “thank you.”
Then I poked her little side, and as she giggled I informed her that she was beautiful too, better than a movie star because she was my Jaylah.
She squeezed my neck a little tighter, and we just held each other for a moment, wrapped in love. Wrapped in acceptance. Both feeling a bit more beautiful in that moment.
And this morning, when I got to work, hair thrown up in a quick bun, 1-minute makeup applied, I felt more beautiful than normal.
Because when a 5 year old tells you that you are prettier than a movie star, (especially when you still have wet crazy hair, no makeup and a large bathrobe on), you get to choose to believe her.
And it opens up your heart a little. Lets you see yourself a little clearer through her eyes. And it speaks to parts of you that you try to cover up. The deeper parts that you are always trying to shove into some forgotten recess.
Because maybe, just maybe, we are ALL a little more insecure than we would like to admit. Maybe everyone feels a little ugly or off sometimes.
And maybe we all need someone, anyone, to let us know that we are beautiful in their eyes. Exactly how we are in that moment. What their deeper impression of us is.
We can’t make ourselves more beautiful by working out, or wearing better clothes, or having our makeup and hair done just so. It may give us a more appealing external appearance, but that isn’t true beauty.
Beauty is in who we are. It was instilled in us as we were created, perfect and unique and exactly as we should be.
And we all have the power to bring a little more beauty to the lives of those around us. So reach out and tell someone “You are beautiful” today, and just see if the smile on their face doesn’t make them even more so.
Because, my friend… YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. AND I LOVE YOU. AND I HOPE YOU HAVE AN INCREDIBLE DAY!
This post was inspired by the Daily Post, Prompt of the Day: Impression