Recently, I had the opportunity to experience the joy of a woman’s inner beauty. For the past few months, I have been working with a manuscript consultant for a new book I’m writing. She lives in Arizona, so we have never officially met, nor have we spoken on the telephone. All our connections have been through e-mail. I have come to know Claire as a truly lovely soul, yet, I know very little about the details of her life; what she looks like or how old she is. I don’t know if she is single or married, has children, or pets. (Though I did discover she loves dark chocolate!) Our conversations are “professional,” yet her authentic self, the expression of her inner beauty, always shines through.
If we were to poll 100 women to ask them what their definition of inner beauty is, I imagine they would say: A woman with inner beauty is self-aware. She is a self-assured woman; a woman who knows who she is, and knows where she’s going. She is openhearted, generous, courageous, and passionate. In truth, a woman of inner beauty has a confident presence, one which invites us to take a closer look, then encourages us to cultivate our own. I know many women who are like this. I’m sure you do as well. By living as their truest selves, they inspire us to become the brightest versions of ourselves that we can be.
How, then, do we cultivate our inner beauty? One way to begin is by observing “beautiful” women and listening to the life wisdom they offer us. Here are a few of my personal favorites. May their inspiring words support your journey to living as the beautiful woman you naturally are!
“Beauty means vitality, imagination, energy—personality traits that have more to do with an individual’s character than his or her age or some idealized arrangement of physical features.”—Anita Roddick
Anita Roddick was the founder of the The Body Shop, a chain of 1,700 stores in forty-seven countries which specialize in earth- and animal-friendly beauty complements. I find it fascinating that a woman who earned her living in the beauty industry emphasized the importance of inner beauty over anything we might do to make ourselves more physically attractive. In her book, Take It Personally: How to Make Conscious Choices to Change the World, Ms. Roddick encouraged us to move beyond our self-absorbed ways of thinking and dedicate ourselves to human rights and the environment, to take our social responsibilities more seriously. Now, this was a woman who knew what she believed, a woman who dedicated her life to making a positive difference in the world. Now that’s living from your inner beauty with courage!
“Self love is the only weight loss aid that really works in the long run.”—Jenny Craig
These words of wisdom come from a woman who owns 600 commercial diet centers worldwide. Another interesting perspective, don’t you think, from someone in the business of weight loss? Ms. Craig knows that not even the most foolproof diet can help us maintain a healthy body weight if we do not authentically love ourselves. In her book, The Jenny Craig Story: How One Woman Changes Millions of Lives, she writes, “I truly believe ‘it’s never too late’ for anything one wants to do, whether it is to lose weight, create a healthy lifestyle, find true love, or start a business.” She also understands how important it is for us to connect with our true essence in order to be happy, and to live the life of our dreams. This, from a woman who did not open her first weight loss center until she was fifty-years-old. Now, that’s living your inner beauty with self-confidence!
“It’s in the fire in my eyes and the flash of my teeth, the swing of my waist and the joy in my feet, I’m a woman phenomenally. Phenomenal Woman, that’s me.”—Maya Angelou
This multitalented woman is a poet, educator, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer, and so much more. Even if you have never seen her in person, or watched her on television, you sense her strong sense of self through her words and writings. She is passionate about life and our interconnectedness as human beings. Ms. Angelou has written over a dozen books, spiritual autobiographies and inspirational tomes, which demonstrate, by her example, how anyone can rise above dire circumstances to become the grandest version of themselves that they can be. Because she is so supremely self-assured, she does not allow us to whimper and wander about in our own self-doubt for long. The words above, taken from her small book, Phenomenal Woman, by their sheer power, invite us into our own. She directs us to live from our fullness with joy and to celebrate life. Now, that’s living your inner beauty with passion!
May you remember your inner beauty in 2009!