Today I was standing in front of the mirror, going through my normal morning routine, and guess what? Laugh lines. What the heck? I'm only in my twenties for goodness sake. Oh well, on the bright side, I must have a great sense of humor.
Aging gracefully really seems to be a lost art these days. As a society, we are much more interested in covering up our laugh lines…our gray hair…ourselves. Is that really what we want? Every time I see a woman in public without makeup on, I feel compelled to tell her how beautiful she is. Getting a compliment for our authentic beauty shows that we can be appreciated for our true selves. It doesn't get much better than that.
A young woman's world is filled to the brim with worry about being accepted. And too much of that acceptance comes in the form of the size clothes you wear, whether you have the perfect hair and makeup or even a silly handbag with the right label.
I will never forget my college freshman orientation. I don't remember it because I was excited, scared, or because I was starting a new chapter oin my life. I remember it because one beautiful young girl stood out to me. It was really one of those “ah-ha!” moments that come when you least expect them. Amidst the mob of freshman in their strategically-chosen outfits (boys with backwards hats and jeans hanging just a bit too low, and girls matching from head to toe, including eye-liner and fingernail polish), this girl stood out in a simple pair of jeans, a t-shirt, no make-up, and a ponytail. By the end of the orientation, she was the only person I wanted to be friends with. She seemed to be in the moment, loving life – laughing and just ready for anything good that might happen. I knew then that she'd be my friend not because of how I looked, but because of who I was and that felt great.
Perhaps Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best:
“Though we search the world over for the beautiful, we find it within or we find it not.”
I guess what Mr. Emerson and I are getting down to is, learning self-acceptance, leading eventually to self-love, is one of the most important aspects of living a healthy lifestyle. Not really pushing the idea of loving every blemish or bulge or scar, but just smiling, shrugging, and letting go of the perfectionist in us. Maybe eventually we can start waking up every day loving who we are and being everything we love…regardless of the laugh lines.