I have such a treat for you today, friends! Sam of LULA Hair + Makeup has been a long-time friend of Southern Weddings and the Cultivate team. She's a phenomenal hair and makeup artist (she spent the day with us for the 2018 PowerSheets shoot making our ladies lovely), but even more than that, she has a heart for helping each woman who sits in her chair feel like the loveliest version of herself. Sam has recently moved into a new season of focusing on encouraging women to “see and honor the beauty in themselves,” and I hope her words are as encouraging for you as they are for me! -Jess
Have you ever noticed that the more someone believes they are beautiful, the more beautiful they actually become?
It’s a pretty incredible phenomenon. I’ve witnessed it over the years in friends, in acquaintances, and in many of my favorite fictional characters. They begin to embrace who they are, how they were created, and decide it is beautiful. Then something happens, something changes. They are transcended beyond cultural standards of beauty, beyond any judgment from others, and are free, vibrant, relaxed, strong, and confident. They are totally themselves, and totally gorgeous.
I have been in the beauty business for many years, styling hair and doing makeup on hundreds of women for all kinds of events. Helping women to see and honor the beauty in themselves is one of my greatest joys! Through all of my experience, I can honestly tell you that great hair and makeup does not equal beauty. Beauty is not skin quality, weight, the perfect hairstyle or makeup look, the absence of wrinkles or blemishes, or being on top of style trends. True beauty is in the most intangible qualities of a woman’s spirit, her ability to celebrate herself as she is and celebrate others as they are. That kind of beauty radiates from the inside out, and can’t be achieved through any product or service.
I love a perfect shade of tinted lip balm and an amazing dry shampoo, and I love using tools and tricks to enhance natural features. But what is more important is to turn our self-talk into what we love about ourselves, and kick out the hiding, fixing, and changing mentality attached to the concept of beauty. Believe me, it’s hard for me too! We deserve to do it for our own sake, for the sake of the women around us, for our husbands, our children, and the next generation of young women looking up to us.
So I want to extend permission to you–when it comes to true beauty, you don’t have to have perfect hair or makeup. You don’t have to look like anything you see in pop culture or celebrity magazines. You have permission to be totally yourself and to celebrate that, because that is real beauty.
Here are a few tips I have used to cultivate a strong sense of true beauty, little by little. I hope some resonate with you!
Embrace who you are
Start small. What do you love? What’s your favorite color? Your favorite book? Getting back to the basics of who you are is a fun and simple way to remind yourself that you are unique and wonderful.
Go deeper. What is your story? What are your gifts? What is a message you bring to the world through your experiences, both good and bad? Write it down!
Decide you are absolutely beautiful as you are - nothing more or less necessary.
Embrace how you were created
Replace “too much” and “not enough” feelings with something you are thankful for about yourself. “I am a strong mother to my children,” or “I am thankful that I can walk, talk, and work” are simple ways to build up loving self-talk!
When you look in the mirror, smile at yourself. You will feel super silly for a second, and then something awesome is going to happen! For me, it breaks down unreachable or unrealistic standards I hold myself to and presents a kindness that I can then share with others.
List something you think is beautiful about yourself every morning, like “I face my fears,” or “My eyes are gorgeous dark brown, and they see the beauty in others.”
Take care of yourself
Treat yourself like you’d treat your dearest friend. Don’t run yourself into the ground. Challenge whatever belief or structure that makes you feel like you have to, or that it’s normal. Even when life is hard, it is so important to take time for self care. What do you need?
Invest into your health and feeling great. When you feel great, it shows! Drink lots of water. Move and sweat regularly. Honor rest times. Get out from behind the screens and outside into nature. Think about how you want to be physically when you’re 60, 70, and 80, and cultivate that health now.
Let go of any burdens that might be weighing you down. Seek out counseling or healing for past hurts or traumas. Extend forgiveness and let go of bitterness. Ask for forgiveness for ways you may have hurt others. Sometimes I will just say “grace for myself, grace for others” in the mirror, and it helps give me perspective.
Paint your nails red. Go get your hair done at the salon. Purchase that gorgeous top that looks amazing on you and makes you feel like a million bucks! You are worth celebrating!
Go do something fun! Have a girls night. Throw a dinner party for no reason. Take up archery. Just have a blast being YOU!
Give and Encourage
Give back. Find a cause you really believe in and give of your time and/or money.
Call out the beauty you see in others. Speak it. Encourage it. Someone else’s beauty never takes away from your own; it only enhances it.
How do you cultivate your inner beauty? Please share! Sam's post is full of encouragement and practical ideas that can be added to your PowerSheets Tending List, too. I might try adding one of her suggestions to affirm yourself to my daily goals!