We’ve all heard it a million times—confidence is beauty.
And you know it’s true because you can see it. There are those people who just glow, those people whose attractiveness seems to come from the inside out.
It’s in how they carry themselves, it’s in how they laugh, it’s in how their skin looks!
There’s something undeniable about these people—you just want to be around them.
But often, if you take a closer look, you notice that… They have things we are taught by our society to see as flaws.
As women, we are taught to wake up every morning and immediately put our inner critic to work, examining everything from our newest wrinkles to whether we got through the to-do list from yesterday.
We have been taught that taking care of ourselves is criticizing ourselves, mercilessly searching for so-called flaws and then setting about fixing them.
It’s like a job. And we are all working for a fickle and faceless boss whose standards are ever-changing, mysterious and ultimately unmeetable.
When you take a closer look at those people who glow, as I’m now calling them (PWG for short), you’ll notice they don’t hide themselves.
They don’t buy into the idea that there’s something wrong with who they are or how they look.
From sunspots and “extra” pounds to whatever qualities within our personalities we’ve been told are wrong are bad, these are all merely aspects of the larger self, part of the whole innately perfect package.
It was Alice Walker who wrote, “In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect, trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.”
It’s the contortions, the ways in which we are bent that define us and make us truly beautiful.
If you feel yourself rolling your eyes a little bit at this notion, I get it!
It’s one thing to see beauty in someone else’s imperfections, or even just admire someone else for how confidently they embrace their supposed flaws, and quite another to reframe your view of yourself. Here’s what works for me when my inner critic really gets going—I turn to this notion of a tree or something else from the natural world.
A being just out there living out, moment by moment, the time it has been given on this earth. Like all beings, it is altered by time.
When I look at the natural world, I can see the evidence of time passing with the wonder of a child. And I can then see and feel my way to finding every aspect of myself right.
After all, judging myself harshly for what I’ve been taught to see as “flaws” is the same as judging a tree for all the weird and beautiful ways it's bent.
There’s no such thing as flaws, there’s just…me, and all the ways in which I am uniquely, beautifully formed.
When you think about your so-called imperfections, what comes up? And would you judge quite so harshly if those perceived imperfections belonged to someone else?
Elizabeth is a journalist who has been writing about health, beauty and wellness for over 20 years. She lives in Northern New Mexico with her two dogs and several hundred trees, shrubs, bushes and succulents.