For those of you with children (regardless of the sex) this statement is powerfully important. Actually, it’s as important for those of us (likely all of us) who live with daily feelings of inadequacy.
A few days before her Oscar win, Lupita Nyong’o gave a speech at the annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon. A friend sent me the link and while I don’t often listen to those things, I felt compelled to do so. After all, I have a teenage daughter who wonders about her beauty and two teenage boys who are making decisions about who and what looks beautiful to them. And, I need all the verbal ammunition I can get! So, I hit play and listened.
Lupita talked about being black. I mean so dark-skinned that she really didn’t know how she fit in to the white world – she simply felt inadequate. And, even after Alek Wek began modeling (if you don’t know who she is, google her … ) and was on the covers of all the major fashion magazines, she still was not sure that she too could be beautiful.
Then, her mother said to her, “You can’t eat beauty. It doesn’t feed you.”
Of course, there’s the obvious meaning in that statement … you can’t buy beauty, you can’t steal beauty and you can’t get beautiful by what you eat or drink. But, what her mother really meant was you can not rely on beauty to sustain you.
What sustains us is compassion for ourselves and those around us. That is beauty.
We all feel inadequate at times in our lives. Sometimes for days, weeks, months at a time. We are often trying to look better, younger, thinner – just different … as if that will make us “beautiful.”
But the trick here for us, and our children, is to get to the deeper business of feeling beautiful inside and finding that same beauty in others. To continually remind ourselves that we are beautiful. As I once wrote – We are enough.
Beauty is something we learn. It’s not what we are, but who we are.
Beauty is learning about ourselves, being proud of who we are and allowing ourselves to be just as we are supposed to be.
I think we can all agree that our most favorite people are not all the same size, color, shape or even sex. No. The people we value the most are the ones who open their heart to us and then share it with the world.
I think that is all of you. Let’s remind our kids and ourselves of this today.
Have an amazing day! XOXO