What makes a woman beautiful? Every day magazines, television programs, and blogs try to convince us that beauty is the attainment of physical standards that almost no woman meets naturally. And they try really hard to make us believe that if we buy their product, go on their diet, and adopt their fashion sense it will bring us closer to this beauty standard which, by the way, is also ever-evolving.
For some reason, we buy into it. And we buy all of it: the makeup, the memberships, and the materials. It’s not a cheap undertaking. In fact, it’s an endless pursuit for the next new thing. At least this investment in ourselves should bring us satisfaction and contentment, but does it? No. It only makes us focus more intently on the flaws that remain unaffected by our many efforts.
So why can’t we stop pouring so much of our money and confidence into a self-improvement strategy that plainly overpromises and under-delivers?
Before I give you my answer, I want you to imagine yourself as a woman whose wardrobe and accessories are all drab and dated. Your hair is dull and unfashionably styled and your teeth are yellowed. Even your skin is spotted and wrinkled. Horrified? Do you think a woman like that would be completely unlovely?
Scroll to the very end of this post and take a good look at the woman pictured there (then return here where you left off.)
What do you think?
Is the woman you imagined yourself to be like this woman? I’m guessing not because we don’t think a woman can be happy if she has to live without the advantages of physical beauty. We don’t think a woman can be happy if she has to live without the advantages of physical beauty. Click To Tweet
We’re not. And yet, this woman is smiling without a trace of self-consciousness. What does she know that we don’t?
She knows that chasing physical beauty is the ultimate trivial pursuit.
Even if you’re one of the very few to attain it, it won’t guarantee you’ll be happy. Think of all the famous, gorgeous women who’s husbands have cheated on them. And too, you can’t keep it long. Beauty fades.
She also knows that inner beauty, carefully cultivated, radiates outward and overcomes any lack of external aesthetic. Look again if you need to. She’s lovely! Couldn’t you just hug her without knowing a thing about her?
Real, lasting beauty is rooted in qualities such as contentment, kindness, loyalty, generosity, optimism, and composure. But those things are hard-won and require us to lay aside our self-absorption. It’s much easier to work on the outside – open a jar, take a pill, or shop. And that’s why we stay on that disappointing path long after we know it can’t fulfill its promises.
I’m sure the little old woman – who’s wearing jewelry – would acknowledge that even an old barn needs a coat of paint now and then. So I’m not saying we kick our makeup kits and yoga pants to the curb. I’m saying we shouldn’t rely on them to be what they never can be – a replacement for the satisfying, unfading beauty of authentic character graces that come through faith. That’s what makes a woman beautiful.