~ Mark Twain
"Hello, Beauteous One." That was the way Min, a woman with whom I became acquainted in my early twenties, often greeted me when we met.
At first I thought she was just being kind... or cutesy. Yet whenever we'd meet in our social circle, she'd offer it with such grace and sincerity I began to think she meant it. I even started looking forward to bumping into her, just to hear those delightful words again. I don't recall anyone ever calling me beautiful before, at least not so that it registered on my heart.
I often wondered if Min knew I needed such a message at that time in my life. As I was growing up, in my heart of hearts, I never felt beautiful. But, here was this woman who kept 'watering' my heart, reinforcing her positive message time after time; I began to blossom under those affirming words. I became a little more confident and less shy. The 'ugly duckling' feelings began to recede.
We want to know we're beautiful
It seems there is something deep within the feminine heart of each woman that needs to know she's lovely in someone's eyes. Could it be that's why we can obsess about how we look? We hope against hope that, yes we are attractive, alluring, beautiful.
Author John Eldredge confirms that in his short book You Have What It Takes, What Every Father Needs to Know. He believes that, within the heart of most every girl as she's growing up, is the desire to know that she is captivating and worth fighting for. She wants to know she is a 'princess'.
When he says you're Beautiful, believe him
I will never forget the time when I said something to my husband (we were married about ten year at the time) about not feeling beautiful. Wonderful man that he is, Hubby so often affirmed that I was beautiful to him. Yet for all that, I never felt quite sure if he was just saying that to be nice.
That day he was surprised I still felt unsure about it. I saw myself in a new light. First, I realized I had not been taking him at his word; I wasn't really believing him. He's an honest man, he has integrity, so why would I not trust him in this instance? Second, I decided that I could trust him -- if he said that I was always beautiful to him, then I would accept and believe it. I'd take the man at his word.
I want you to know it made a difference in how I saw myself. I stopped obsessing about how I looked. When I accepted the compliment as true, my attitude towards the woman in the mirror changed; I began to accept myself -- just the way I was. I began to see myself through his eyes and it was enough to set my mind and heart at ease, once and for all. Even on bad hair days.
Mark Twain once said he could live two months on a good compliment. I, too, flourish on genuine compliments. Even after all these years, Min's salutation still warms my heart. Her carefully chosen words beautifully changed how I saw and felt about myself -- they changed my life.
So much so that I began to watch for opportunities to pass along this gift to others. Offering compliments and noticing the beauty in the faces of those I meet.
Today, I set before you a little challenge. Why not look for ways you can lavishly hand out compliments to the people around you -- compliments you mean, of course -- and then remember to deliberately believe any generous words you receive from your family, friends, and other acquaintances.
It's another way to live our lives more beautifully,