Can I let you in on a little secret?
I’m obsessed with beauty.
Now, before you write me off as superficial, let me explain.
When I say beauty I don’t simply mean ‘physical appearance.’ There’s so much more to beauty than that. I like the way Merriam-Webster defines the word:
beauty (n): the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit; loveliness (emphasis mine)
I can feel some depth to that definition, can you?
To be clear, I haven’t always been this obsessed with beauty. Over the past few years, though, it’s been popping up on my radar more and more. I’ve felt an increasing need to have beautiful things around me. Flowers and nature and beautiful textures, tastes, and music have started to pull me in a fresh way.
Or, more accurately, I’ve began to notice in a fresh way how I naturally respond to these things.
My journey with beauty reached a significant turning point at a conference I attended late last year. Over a number of sessions, the speaker discussed masculine and feminine qualities. As I listened, I had a series of epiphanies. I’ll share one of the main ones here and it’s this:
Embracing my femininity is a massive place of strength for me. In fact, it’s a key part of embracing my identity. And living from my identity is the best place to live from.
Now you might be thinking, “Well duh! Of course you need to embrace your identity as a woman. Why wouldn’t you?”
I’ll do my best to explain why it was such a lightbulb moment for me. ?
Over the course of the conference, I realized that I’d learned to ‘mute’ some of my feminine qualities (including loving beauty) in favor of the more bold, aggressive masculine qualities that I’d somehow (subconsciously) decided were more desirable.
I hadn’t meant to do this but nonetheless, I’d taken a step back because I’d picked up from various sources (church, culture, society, etc.) that the best qualities were the masculine ones. In fact, loving beautiful things ‘too much’ had been subtly deemed as ‘shallow’ or ‘vain.’
We often exalt masculine traits in areas such as success and leadership (which kinda can’t be helped considering that most of the top positions in most organizations are led by men.) So we women often strive to fit into the models presented to us and don’t always consider what we’re suppressing in order to do so. (To be clear, this isn’t a ‘bash men’ post, either, I’m simply making some generalizations and am trusting you get my overarching point here.)
While I hadn’t expected to have such an ‘ah ha! moment’ about my womanhood at this conference, it actually ended up being my biggest takeaway and understanding my feminine need for beauty—in my surroundings, in the music I listen to, in my choice of clothing, etc.—was a huge insight for me.
Beauty is important.
This is true for everyone (men and women), but it’s especially important—even vital—for the feminine soul.
Not only do we naturally gravitate towards lovely things, but I believe that surrounding ourselves with that which we personally find beautiful is a tremendous key for nourishing our soul/spirit.
I have a lot more to say on this subject but this post is getting long so I’ll close with an invitation:
You are hereby invited to embrace beauty in your life, to discover what you find beautiful (if you’ve forgotten) and to create spaces to let it flourish.
It’s more important than you think.
We need beauty, especially in turbulent times.
If you’re struggling in this season, how about taking some time this week to do something that “brings pleasure to your senses or exalts your mind” like the definition says above?
(HINT: This is especially true for those of you who think you “don’t have the time.” ?)
You don’t have to spend a cent to do it, either. You can listen to a beautiful song, go for a walk, or watch the birds outside.
I have more to say about this topic so I’ll likely bring it up again, but I’ll sign off for now.
As always, I’m cheering you and your beautiful self on,