When dealing with a client, most professionals are taught to avoid talking about religion or politics, but there are two other topics that I believe make people even more uncomfortable: success and beauty.
The real issue: vulnerability
Religion and politics make people squeamish because it’s difficult to have a heart-to-heart with someone for fear that there will be a disagreement in an area where there are deep convictions. Success and beauty can be just as personal. Sure, it’s fine to talk about any of these topics if we keep our opinion out of it, and yes, it is easier to have a general conversation about finances or image than it is elections or faith, but I guarantee that when an outward discussion (even if it’s general) is happening about the first two, there is also some personal self-talk going on.
Especially if the topic is beauty for a woman or success for a man.
I’m far from qualified to discuss a man’s point of view, but can we get personal for a moment about the woman’s heart? I know it’s uncomfortable, but hey, that’s why I like to write: you can read this all alone with no one looking you in the eye… or elsewhere.
The Beauty Battle
The emotional turmoil starts in early childhood when our little-girl-heart revealed its longing to be lovely. Maybe it was the day you danced before your daddy to show off your new dress, or perhaps the moment you were caught playing with your mom’s makeup… Most women can tell a story of a day she began to feel the Beauty Battle. At some point, we all recognize that there is something terribly vulnerable about a girl’s desire to be seen.
As with any emotional battle, each one of us will have our own interpretation of what we are feeling and how we should respond. Our experiences, personality, beliefs, and the responses we receive will always influence how we interpret anything we feel, but I believe their are two major problems with our interpretations of the Beauty Battle:
- We are put on the front lines so early that our reasoning is a bit immature.
- The topic is so personal that those training us to respond may not have dared reconsider their own interpretation, so the cycle continues.
Imagine the panic you might have felt if this picture was your daughter. I’m not referring to the panic over the stains she could have made, or even the toxins in the polish. No, I’m talking about that familiar fear of, “Oh no! She’s going to turn out vain!”
I’ve been there. In fact, when my daughter started twirling her little dresses for strangers, my panic sent me on a journey of discovering the heart of God on the matter. I knew I could not raise a girl with Confident Beauty if I was still in panic mode.
Beauty in Balance
Beauty is not something we should strive for and be stressed over. Beauty was designed to bring comfort, healing and inspiration–even a woman’s beauty. Yes, even your beauty.
Oops. Did you feel that?
You are beautiful.
Do you feel it now?
That awkward, “ugh, don’t say I’m pretty. No, I’m not” feeling we get when someone tells us we look good, that’s the “panic” I’m talking about. We feel it when someone appears vain, and we feel it if someone gives us a chance to appear vain.
What do you do when you feel the "panic"? C: Analyze the situation N: Down-play the problem D: Run with your emotions I: Sympathize with the problem R: Become consumed with the issue G: Take control and fix the problem Note: These choices represent the typical responses of each Image Identity. Click the letter to learn more about that style, including What2Wear.
What did others do to you when you were a little girl and how did you interpret their response to your desire to be lovely?
I was very proud of my sister for handling her daughter’s encounter with beauty in such a peaceful way. She silently took a picture to capture the memory, calmly explained why little girls shouldn’t paint their own toes and helped her clean up the mess. It brings tears to my eyes to think that there are some girls being raised with a balanced perspective on beauty.
Looking lovely is not synonymous with appearing vain.
It’s time we all find peace with our desire for beauty. It is not wrong. That desire is a reflection of the One who made you. If you are feeling that panic, I encourage you to seek the heart of God on the matter. Read the story in Ezekiel 16 and consider how He responds to her Beauty Battle and then ask Him to help you see His heart toward your image. For help with this, please read Confident Beauty, Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in your Mirror and in your Soul or Supreme MakeOver, a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience.
As an author and speaker, Catrina’s passion is in helping women and girls overcome confidence conflicts, especially those involving rejection, betrayal and loss. After 30 years in the beauty industry as both a cosmetologist and an image consultant, Catrina now uses her profession, her own powerful stories and her training as a Biblical life-coach to reach the heart in a way that is relatable, encouraging and inspiring. Her message is balanced with both fashion and faith and is making a difference in the lives of women and girls all over! To be part of this movement, connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked In, Goodreads and consider having her speak at your next event.