Sunday, May 2, 2010

Beauty


"Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful." -Sophia Loren


Who can argue with that? Like any normal female mortal being, I have had troubles with my self-esteem and body image from time to time. I remember being on the ballroom dance team in Junior High: my mom had to custom make or alter all my costumes because they didn't have any that were big enough for me. Many of those lovely girls wanted me off the team, because I didn't represent the thin and "beautiful" image that ballroom should portray. I was crushed. Our coach pulled me aside and told me not to listen: "Look at your mother, one day you will look like that too." My mother is drop-dead gorgeous, and I'll bet none of you can ever figure out just how old she is. The problem was that I was 12 and didn't want to wait that long to be beautiful--I was ashamed, and I'm not sure I ever got over it.


Until now. The past few years have been a struggle, particularly this past year with surgery and whatnot, but these trials brought more blessings than I could ever wish for, for one: an understanding of worth and a love of self. I worked my butt off trying to be beautiful, but I remember the day I could successfully fit into a pair of size 0 jeans--my dream was to be a size 6, so a size 0 was above and beyond my dreams. Yet as I stood looking into the dressing room mirror, I wasn't happy at all. It didn't matter what size I wore or how much I weighed--I wasn't happy with myself, and no amount of external change was going to fix that. I had to learn HOW to be beautiful--DEEP BEAUTY, not this Hollywood drama. True beauty comes from within; I know we've all heard that, but it couldn't be more true.


A few months ago a friend of mine told me that he had to stare into a mirror and repeat "I am happy" over and over and over until he believed it. It seemed to simple to work, but I trusted him and gave it a shot. Every morning--every time I passed a mirror or a reflecting window--I looked myself square in the eyes and said, "I am happy, and I am beautiful." I felt ridiculous at first, but after a while something changed. I found myself passing mirrors or building windows, even car windshields, and without the effort my mind would shout "I AM HAPPY AND I AM BEAUTIFUL! Heck girl, I am absolutely gorgeous!" It may sound vain to you, but stop and think for just a moment: how many of us are actually excited to look into a mirror? In fact, according to a recent BYU study, the fear of getting fat is seen even in the brain scans of healthy, well-adjusted women . None of us are safe unless we come to know and understand the truth.


In his address "Reflection in the Water," Elder Deiter F. Uchtdorf explains how we are all like Hans Christian Andersen's THE UGLY DUCKLING:

"Like this young swan, most of us have felt at one time or another that we don’t quite fit in. Much of the confusion we experience in this life comes from simply not understanding who we are. Too many go about their lives thinking they are of little worth when, in reality, they are elegant and eternal creatures of infinite value with potential beyond imagination....

My dear young friends, this knowledge allows you to see your own reflection in the water. It assures you that you are not ordinary, rejected, or ugly. You are something divine—more beautiful and glorious than you can possibly imagine. This knowledge changes everything. It changes your present. It can change your future. And it can change the world."

We are all divine and beautiful--beauty and happiness doesn't come through anything that this world has to offer. It comes only from the love of God that we find within. If you ever find yourself struggling, turn to Him and He will show you time and time again what a wonderful being you truly are. You are beautiful, and don't ever let anyone ever tell you different. <3

2 comments:

Katie H. said...

Beautiful thoughts, cousin...

Kaitlin McKinlay said...

Oh Kelli I love that you quoted Sophia Loren! And I agree with all of the above. Sounds quite familiar in fact. And a size 0!? Geez Louise! But I am SO glad you can see how beautiful you are now. Congrats! I totally love ya!