“We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
– Marianne Williamson
For the past week, I have been conducting an experiment. Every morning when I wake up, I close my eyes, breathe deeply, and ask myself this question: “If I were not afraid, I would ...”
The answers have been fascinating, and far reaching. One that keeps appearing over and over again is, “If I were not afraid, I would let myself be beautiful.”
I find this startling: What is so fearful about being beautiful? In our appearance focused culture, why would I shrink from being as ravishing as possible?
Here’s why I’m afraid. I’m afraid of attracting envy. I’m afraid that I’ll get too attached to my appearance, only to grasp when it fades. I’m afraid because if I feel beautiful and confident I won’t have an excuse for not pursuing my passions and dreams. I’m afraid because I won’t have a reason to hide myself from the world.
I’m afraid because I’ll have to change my perception of myself, and accept my divine worth, abiding in the image of God.
I am afraid of my goodness. I am afraid of being my physical best.
My revelations remind me of all the drop dead gorgeous women I know, who if you ask them if they think they’re beautiful will say, “I’m beautiful on the inside,” as if their fabulous outer package is the equivalent of scrap metal. By contrast, I remember an interview between Oprah and Selma Hayek, where Selma unselfconsciously owned her beauty. I found that so inspiring.
My friend Sabrina and I were talking about how if weren’t afraid we would get out of our sweats and Eddie Bauer pants. Yet the last few times we’ve run into each other we’ve been wearing ... sweats and Eddie Bauer pants.
As Marianne Williamson so eloquently reminds us, we serve no one when we hide our beauty. Enjoy it; it’s a gift, no different from your intelligence, your empathy, or your compassion. Each is to be celebrated, enjoyed, and used. Yes, your beauty will change, and it isn’t permanent, but just as a bright, sunny day will eventually turn to darkness or rain, that doesn’t mean you can’t dance in the sun while it shines.
Use your beauty. Embrace it. Share it with the world. Let yourself be beautiful.
Karly Randolph Pitman is the founder of First Ourselves, whose mission is to help women love their bodies, feel beautiful and make self care a priority.