Reclaim: to bring back to a right or proper course; reform

Stop All Your Striving; Beauty Reclaimed

Beauty BeneathLeigh LiebmannComment
Put your make-up on, get your nails done, curl your hair, run the extra mile, keep it slim, so they like you...

You don't have to try.  These five words, if only believed, could be the simple solution to all of our striving.  Yet, we will never stop trying, because the way beauty has been defined is, quite frankly, unattainable. We have been fed lies since we were old enough to talk.  We have been groomed to believe that beauty looks a certain way and that our worth is measured by this outer shell.  We try and try, over and over again, in an effort to reach a 'higher level of beautiful', a beauty which is limitless, because there will always be more to attain.  As my mom always told me growing up, 'for every pretty girl, there is another ten times prettier'. We spend hours of our day comparing, striving, trying to be more of something.  If we could only be more...well, you fill in the blank here.  We are striving to reach something that isn't reality.  Beauty has been mis-defined.  Beauty, in our society looks like a 90 pound, flawless, plumped, airbrushed, suctioned, enhanced digital illusion.  This is what women are up against and the deception men are constantly falling into believing.

This is not reality...

I live in Dallas, Texas and like any city, it has it's stigmas.  While some might not be true, like the assumption that everyone has hair teased through the roof and trots around town in cowboy boots, others most certainly are.  Now, I will go to bat for Dallas because it is a great city with lots of hidden gems, but there are often those moments when I just have to shake my head and say 'Oh Dallas'.  In the middle of writing this very article I set down my computer and went to a yoga class at my favorite rooftop restaurant down the street.  This yoga class is unbelievable.  Not only because of its prime location on a rooftop overlooking the city, but because Kurt the instructor is literally the yoga master.  He is the inspiring hippie type who just by the sound of his voice seems to make you feel a little lighter, challenging you to not major on the minors and sometimes just let go and enjoy the moment for what it is.  He talks about things like kindness and 'letting go' of that which is holding us back.  He is constantly encouraging us to smile throughout the class, because our minds react to feelings and a smile tells our brain that we are feeling happiness.  You have accomplished something as an instructor when you can get your students to smile for an entire hour, despite the extreme burning sensation they are having to endure as a result of holding these acrobatic poses.  People flood to Kurt's class, he wins. No pain, no gain. Right?  

Before entering into this peaceful state of enduring extreme pain for the next 60 minutes, I sit down on my mat in anticipation, legs crossed like any good yogi.  I begin to listen to the group of women chatting in front of me.  They start talking about all the 'work' they have had done.  One woman starts talking about her recent purchase of matching accessories which happen to fall (but most certainly not sag) on top of her chest.  "This is the best thing that I have ever done' she says.  Now, I realize that might have been a flippant remark and obviously she didn't really mean that this 'work' was the best thing she had ever done.  I mean, that is what I will choose to believe anyway.  The other woman starts sharing about her nose job and how it was one of the best decisions she had ever made because now she 'actually feels pretty'. They then start talking about things like gel nails and how great they are and so on and so forth.  No judgement here, I love me some gel nails, those things are genius and totally worth it, but that's besides the point!  As I listened to this conversation my mind was brought back to the things I had just started writing about.  I thought to myself, man do we have it all wrong.  All this time, energy, money and value we are placing on these things, these empty things.  All of which send us spinning around in never-ending circles, getting us absolutely nowhere.  We are being drawn by the empty pull of the 'if only I had' which can never ultimately fulfill what we are looking for.  

We have got to start reclaiming beauty and start believing that we are enough, just the way we are.  I believe that the way we see beauty changes the way we see the world.  What if we lived in such a way which placed the same value on the beauty beneath as the beauty we saw on the surface?  What if we stripped ourselves of all the make-up, hair and accessories and offered to the world our bare beauty once in a while?  A beauty with no sugar added, beauty which in it's rawest form is ultimately the sweetest.  Where we stop trying so hard, and start being who we were created to be!  It is here where we will find true freedom and greater confidence.  Freedom from all of our striving to be more of something and greater confidence to embrace our flaws and imperfections.  These are the very things that make us who we are.

I stumbled upon this video of Colbie Caillat's new song entitled 'Try' and well, I love it and want you to watch it.  Keep your judgements in check, at least until after you watch the video.  The last line of the song says...

Take your make-up off, let your hair down, take a breath, look into the mirror at yourself, don’t you like you?

Well, do you?  You are beautiful, just the way you are.  Stop all your striving, comparing and 'if only' statements.  Start realizing that you are enough, and you are beautiful because of so much more than the layers you are constantly adding to your appearance.  Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, let's hold beauty to a higher standard.  One which values character, embraces imperfections and adds value to the world.  If we choose to measure beauty by the aroma of the internal lasting qualities of others, we may just end up seeing the world a little differently.  Not to mention, we will have a whole lot more time on our hands without all the trying.  

Now go, embrace your own kind of beautiful, without trying so hard.  Stop aiming to embody what you think you 'should be' and start embodying who you truly were created to be.  Own it, love it and see the value you have to add to the world through your own kind of beautiful!  Let others see beneath your beauty...cracks, imperfections, flaws and all.  

You don’t have to try so hard, you don’t have to bend until you break, you just have to get up, you don’t have to change a single thing...