I work a few hours a week at an upscale clothing store. It’s mostly just a conduit for me to fill my closet with more clothes (because I need more clothes…*ahem!*). But I also get to socialize with lovely women as they stream in for various reasons. Last week, we had a family of teenage girls, a couple of their moms, and the grandma. I could tell immediately that they were LDS. Soon I learned that they were from a small town just a couple of miles down the road from my hometown in Idaho; thousands of miles from us in Texas. It was fun to watch them interact and soon we were all talking about the upcoming mission for the oldest of the girls. Other LDS women in the store heard the word ‘mission’, and popped their heads over to hear more.
Women are just lovely and kind to each other in the environment of our store. They compliment others as they come out of the fitting rooms. They share details of their upcoming weddings or showers or galas. They offer honest advice or ideas to each other about how an outfit works. It’s a really uplifting place to be.
But one thing I have noticed that isn’t as uplifting. That is how women treat themselves. They have no problem being kind to strangers, but they find it very difficult to be kind to the familiar reflection in the mirror. I can’t tell you how many times a woman walks out to the large mirror and I literally gasp at how beautiful she is and she immediately counters with some disparaging remark about herself. “Oh, my hips are just too big for this.” “I can’t wear something this short. I look terrible.” “I still have that baby fat and my stomach looks awful.” “I just don’t have the guts to wear something like this.”
I always try to argue. Not that I’m trying to sell something that isn’t flattering. Honestly, 9 times out of 10, she looks great. I am honest. Always. And usually the customer looks amazing. She is beautiful. I can see it. The other ladies in the fitting room can see it. But she can’t. This happens over and over again. Why are we so hard on ourselves?
I think all of us are beautiful. I have noticed over the years that as I attend the temple and look into the eyes of the workers, I just get more and more enamored with their beauty. I look at their eye color, their perfect wrinkles, their crooked smile. They have character. They have the love of God reflecting through their faces. And that is beautiful. It isn’t the social media, fashion magazine beauty. That to me is stale and predictable. I love the beauty of a life well lived. The mom who doesn’t like her tummy is the warrior who created human life. That is beautiful! The middle-aged woman who thinks she can’t step out of the box, doesn’t realize that living with courage is what got her to where she is. That courage can rock camo pants.
Girls, you are BEAUTIFUL!! Embrace it and know it. What you look like is a direct gift from God. And how you develop is the gift you give yourself. Let it happen naturally and live a good life. God’s light will shine through you and that kind of beauty is attractive to everyone. Let it be attractive to you, too.