“She was beautiful, but not like those girls in the magazines. She was beautiful, for the way she thought. She was beautiful, for the sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved. She was beautiful, for her ability to make other people smile, even if she was sad. No, she wasn't beautiful for something as temporary as her looks. She was beautiful, deep down to her soul." - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Picture the most beautiful person you know. Have your person? I have mine. Okay, take this ride with me.
Does your beautiful person care more about how many likes they have on Instagram than doing something profoundly nice for a stranger?
Does your beautiful person put others first just because?
Does your beautiful person care more about looking cool or more about smiling at everyone (even that grumpy old man who only seems to reciprocate with a scowl)?
Does your beautiful person make jokes about other people's outfits, hair, bodies, faces?
Does your beautiful person try to find the best outlook on situations, try to find a positive light in a world that can sometimes be so dark?
One last question:
Do you still think the the person you thought of first is the most beautiful person you know?
I still think mine is. I will tell you about them for comparison. This person has been through some extremely tough times, but unless their story was told to you, I can assure you that you would never know. They are the type of person that says, "Thank you" to everyone even the boy who comes over repeatedly to fill your glass of water during dinner. Aren't those people the best? The people that thank someone even when what that person is doing for them is required? This person listens better than anyone I have ever met in my life. Instead of waiting for their turn to speak, they wait for their turn to reflect something actually meaningful back. They would rather be viewed as strong or capable than hot or by how many guys want to do things to them. They have these big dreams and every time they set out to accomplish one of them they do, but they never rub that in your face. They never make you feel inferior; there is a gorgeous humility about them. When they laugh, they laugh so hard you swear every time that the whole world must hear. When a room full of people thinks one way, they would challenge that whole room by thinking something else. The thing that makes them most beautiful though is that they do not have to try to be any of these things, they just are. Just by being them.
See because the thing is, when you put on all your make-up, when you get a Botox injection, or refresh Instagram every 30 seconds to see how many likes your picture has; you believe all these things measure your standard of beauty, but they do not! The guy or girl who chooses not to date you, does not define how beautiful you are. The people who laugh at you because you are different, do not define how beautiful you are. The filters you choose, the different picture angles you take to look like her or him or finally be noticed, they do not define how beautiful you are. Being beautiful has never required work, it just is. Being hot is the easy part. I know we live in a world where being hot is considered this accomplishment, this feat, but you can be hot based on one person's perception and not hot based on another's. However, when you are beautiful, down to the core of your soul, no one's perception can alter that.
When you are confident in yourself, when you finish a project, make a big save at work, when you look down at something you created, you know you are beautiful. When you try something new, all those nights you stayed up late to get through college, when you wake up at 2am to feed your crying baby and your hair is a mess and there is drool on your face, you know you are beautiful. When you look at the person you love the most and your heart swells and you feel like you are inflating and you are not even sure that is a possible feeling, you know you are beautiful. When you reach for someone's hand, when you listen, really listen to someone's laugh and it is the best sound you have ever heard, when you wake up each morning grateful for at least one more day to get it right, you know you are beautiful. When you stop caring about your like-to-time ratio on social media, when you take a picture because you love the way you look and it's not about impressing anyone else, when you give a piece of your heart to someone who deserves a piece of your mind, you know you are beautiful.
Throughout high school and even some of college, I thought beautiful people were the girls who every boy wanted to date and every girl wanted to be. Sometimes those people were beautiful! Yet, I was measuring their beauty on the wrong scale. I was defining myself and them with a skewed definition. Something happened when the most beautiful soul walked into my life and made the whole world feel more beautiful too. I realized that some of us hang on to being called things like hot, sexy, and skinny, or being told we have a great ass, great legs, or great arms. We will throw ourselves onto these words like animals at a watering hole and rip down anyone else fighting for the same words. Yet when you are more concerned with having a beautiful soul than you are with the way people see you physically, then you have made your own definition. You have set your own standards and there is no one in this world who can tell you that you are not the most beautiful soul to touch this earth.
Strip down to your core for someone. That's not as easy as removing your clothes. Strip down to your core and show someone what you do not show your social media followers. Show them your fears, your dreams, your dark thoughts that creep up in corners of your mind that you are not proud of. Show them something deeper than your poised lips, and black lined eyes. Show them how you are afraid to lose your parents, and how you love to be adventurous but sometimes you are so afraid. Show them how you love to write, or dance, or sing, and that you are not afraid to be yourself. Show them how beautiful, down to your very soul, you have always been. When you are young you forget to realize it, but the way you look is temporary. How you are underneath all of that, well that sticks with you.
Anyone can be hot. It takes guts to be beautiful.