"Those boots are perfect" "Your hair looks beautiful today" "You have lovely eyes"
Very often, I seem to find myself repeating similar phrases. The fact that they frequently escape my mouth does not belittle their meaning: I genuinely see beauty in people and feel the need to tell them.
Lately I've been thinking. What is beauty? What does it mean, and why does it seem to be so coveted in our world?
To me, beauty is Cinderella. Beauty is her courage and kindness and all the lovely things that make up her soul. Beauty is the way she smiles, the way she treats others, the way she forgives those who have wronged her. The story enchants me: instead of wanting to look like her, it leaves me wanting to exude the grace and loveliness that comes from her heart.Beauty truly starts on the inside.
All too often, we find ourselves complimenting outsides, forgetting the substance, the wonderful things that lie beneath the surface. Let's work together to instead compliment each other on our insides. Do you love the way your best friend treats the barista whenever you go for coffee? Tell her that. Do you admire how the children you babysit look out for one another? Tell them that. Speaking words into other's lives enforces what is important and that that truly matters. Compliments of character allow us to grow from the inside, blossoming into compassionate, caring, and truly beautiful humans.
A flower is plucked from its stem for the purpose of looking. We place it in a little water, but despite this, the beauty it possesses is fleeting. In a few short days the color fades. The petals drop, falling off the stem in shades of brown. The beauty that first enticed us to pick it no longer exists.
A flower left on the stem blossoms. It exudes a sweet scent for all to enjoy. It holds the potential to heal those that are sick, to feed butterflies, to create pollen for honeybees to carry to their hives. The beauty of a blossoming flower is lasting and timeless. One day, it dies, casting its seeds to create another masterpiece.
The choice between these two seems a thoughtless one, something we don't have to put energy into.
Choose real and authentic. Choose unfading.
Work to make the insides of others beautiful.