When do you feel beautiful?

Today as I was scrolling mindlessly through Facebook, I came across a post by a young man who is in his mid-twenties, and in his post he was making fun of others’ posts. You might have seen that people (women) are challenging friends to post five pictures of themselves in which they feel beautiful. As I read through the comments on this young man’s post, I saw that his friends had joined in making fun of these pictures and challenges. I found it irritating (and somewhat immature), and later when I was out cleaning my car, I ¬†couldn’t get it out of my mind – I was pissed.

What right did these kids have to make fun of others’ posts, especially when these people are supposed to be their friends? My first inclination was to delete the poster from my friend list; I don’t really know him very well. The more I pondered, I realized that he and his friends are just young, and have not yet experienced the extreme highs and lows life has to offer. They are at an age when they are likely confident and don’t have to think much about their looks. They haven’t had kids, experienced the middle-age pooch, or had wrinkles and gray hair suddenly appear. One of the commenters said something to the effect that we can only feel beautiful when we compare ourselves to others who are less attractive.

As a fitness instructor and Tabata coach, I work to help women see their beauty. So many do not feel beautiful. What I have seen in the pictures that have been posted is women not comparing themselves to others, but rather to their former selves. I see women who have raised their children, and finally have time to focus on their health and fitness, and are discovering that they are beautiful. I see women who have lost weight that had held them back for years, and are now confident enough to step out of their comfort zones and post ‘selfies’. I see young mothers who feel beautiful holding their babies; I see girls who feel beautiful when their new husbands see them in their wedding dress.

Feeling beautiful isn’t easy. I can’t think of many times when I actually felt beautiful. I guess it depends upon our definition of beauty, which depends upon whom you ask. I think beauty means strength, confidence, kindness, and happiness. There are people who might appear to be beautiful when we first see them, but the moment they open their mouths, they become ugly. Likewise, I’ve seen people who might not be physically beautiful according to today’s standards, but their compassion, determination, and personality make them stunning.

I much prefer to see women encouraging one another to feel beautiful than posts in which people are constantly complaining or making fun of others. I hope as the young people mature, and they realize that beauty sometimes alludes us, they will have more compassion and understanding. I’m sure when I was in my twenties I made fun of people, and it probably wasn’t appropriate. As I have aged, had kids, battled weight, required more makeup, and experienced true grief, I have learned to be encouraging and supportive.

So keep encouraging your friends and telling them they’re beautiful! Be grateful for the positive posts. If you are entertained by making fun of others, perhaps you should find a new hobby.

Do something nice for someone just because you can. Peace…