Beauty… it’s something that has been sought after for centuries.  But what exactly is it?  I think that this is a question that will truly NEVER be answered.  It is something different to just about anyone you meet.

Beauty has varied throughout time, various cultures and the vast different perceptions of the world. Beauty has been described and depicted through pictures and concepts penetrating our minds. Beauty has been defined and refined in so many ways. What I have discovered is that beauty is really quite simple. Beauty is happiness.

Beauty is often distorted, misunderstood and shadowed by a wide amount of conflicting pressures and images of what someone else depicts beauty as.  It is something we endlessly strive for, rather than something we see in the true essence of our happiest moments.

I have heard so many women say well it is flawless skin, high cheekbones, silky hair and straight white teeth.  I think when you are truly happy… you are truly beautiful.  So many people think that if they get their crooked nose “fixed” that they will be happy… If they lose 20 pounds that they will be happy or if they had flawless skin that they would be happy.  If this is the case then why are there so many physically attractive people who have committed suicide?   Beauty doesn’t buy happiness, but I think that Happiness does create Beauty. 

I can’t help but feel beautiful when my sweet husband pulls me in close to him to kiss me or just to hold me close for a moment.  I can’t help but feel beautiful when I have just mowed my yard and in an instant of “boy am I crazy or what” decided to mow both of my neighbor’s yards as well and I am so hot and sweaty.  I know that I have done something that takes just a little burden off of someone else.  I feel beautiful when I am on the beach and there is sand all over me, sweat running down my backbone and my hair is sticky from the salt water… but I am happy there.  I feel sooo beautiful when my grown children tell me, “Thank you, Mom” or my granddaughters say, “I love you Nana!”

I spent most of my life feeling ugly or plain, when nothing about me was ugly or plain.  It took a lot of years for me to look in the mirror and think that there was something pretty there.  After a horrible rape at the age of 21 and a very abusive husband I found myself looking in the mirror with the latest fashion magazine taped up on my mirror trying to copy EVERYTHING the model had done.  I thought if I just do my make-up this way, if my hair is just a bit blonder, if I just lose 5 more pounds… then I will “LOOK” beautiful… and maybe “feel” beautiful.  It doesn’t work that way.

It took a lot of years for me to realize that there was no truth in the lies my head told me.  I did open-heart surgery for several years as a surgical nurse and let me tell you this…. I don’t care what color your skin is or how tall you are, it doesn't matter how flawless your skin is, or if you are blonde or brunette… when we saw through your breast bone and crack open your chest, every person’s heart looks pretty much the same.  I have held someone’s heart in my hands as it stopped beating so that we could repair it and watched it come back to a healthy working state.  Let me tell you – that is beautiful.  When I learned for myself that my heart is what really makes me beautiful, I started to see it in my physical existence.

I think of the times I’ve been most happy and whether or not those align with common beauty standards. It hasn’t been the nights my hair stayed intact, body dressed attractively, or skin shined flawlessly. It’s been the moments I felt beauty because of happiness, which was not derived from my appearance — at all.

I have known some people who were absolutely physically beautiful… as long as they didn’t open their mouth or be expected to show compassion in any way.  My mother used to say someone who looked pretty, but treated the restaurant staff like they didn’t measure up… wasn’t pretty at all. 

Beauty comes when those sensation ignite a zeal of confidence and beauty in the souls of those constantly bombarded with messages telling them they should believe otherwise. Its little moments, like when someone looks at you with respect and admiration. It is the true ecstasy of falling in love with people and places. It’s the way it feels to achieve a goal you’re worked your ass off to achieve. It’s the wrinkles from all of the effortless smiles and furrowed brows of strength that make a face perfect. It’s the moments that build the women we become and strive to be. Yes, beauty is in the HEART, and the way it shines through.

I love make-up… lipstick, eye shadows, blush… I love it all.  But no longer do I use it to try and cover up what I think is wrong with me.  I am so very happy with who I am and with the things that I do.  That happiness is what makes you beautiful. If you don’t find that… you will NEVER measure up to your own self standards. Lose it and start “feeling”.  That is when you will start to KNOW you are beautiful.

And Remember... Beautiful People are not always good... but Good People are always BEAUTIFUL. 

I do hope that you feel beautiful today!

Blessings to you all,

Cathy Budjenska

Your beauty should not come from outward adornments such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.
— 1 Peter 3: 3-4