I had a conversation with a friend the other day; she is a woman who probably has a couple years on me, but not many. At one point she stated, “Although it hasn’t happened to you yet, when you lose your youth and beauty…..” What she said after that, I don’t quite remember, nor does it entirely matter, but the initial phrase struck me and revisited me over the next days.
There were two reasons it struck me. The first being, the woman sitting across from me making this statement is someone I consider beautiful. I didn’t get the impression she felt bad about herself, this seemed just matter-of-fact and in no way to be insulting herself – a fact. The second being that I feel that I have lost my youth, and I don’t consider myself beautiful – I’m fine, and maybe even attractive, but not beautiful and certainly have looked prettier in my younger days.
Over the following days, from time to time this comment would ring in my head – most of the time while looking in the mirror. I got to analyzing this comment and overall feeling that most women seem to have sometime after 40 (some earlier, some later).
My conclusion is that I don’t think women do lose their beauty – I think they become more consistent between their outward appearance matching their internal essence. I believe that is why I considered this woman who made the comment beautiful – maybe years ago she received a “cat call” or in some way received clear attention for her physical beauty. However, those that spend any time with her, see the beauty about her – that her soul is expressed through her eyes and smile, her heart is revealed by her conversations and actions, her child-like excitement over someone else’s anticipated successes and growth is electric, radiant and the entire package is beautiful.
When I look in the mirror and see my reflection, I no longer see the attractive younger me – this is true. I do believe for any of the outward beauty I had years ago, it was undeveloped and a bit awkward with any careful examination – luckily not something required for cat-calls!! Today I see an attractive woman of substance. I walk with confidence, I speak with conviction, I listen with empathy- not anticipation of my next comment, I laugh with my soul and cry with my heart. True beauty.
As I lose my youth and youthful appearance, I believe I am revealing a beauty of greater substance and one seen and felt without the eyes. We all like to look good and present well, but this beauty that comes with self-discovery and age is beauty I can own and be comfortable in because it is truly me, and a reflection of all that I am.
The next time you look in the mirror, I encourage you to see your full beauty, the one born through your experiences and knowledge of who you are and willingness to share yourself with others. I believe this is where the most exquisite beauty lies in each of us.