Finding the beauty within

Between living in Manhattan and South Florida, I have been exposed to some of the most ridiculous standards of beauty there are.

Since moving to Charlotte, I’ve discovered a more…tolerant view on beauty – not because Charlotte is tolerant, but because the people and places I choose to be around offer a breath of fresh air.

That said, NoDa is by far THE MOST come-as-you-are place to be you.

In NoDa, you can be a size two or a size 22. Here, you can have a blended family, be in an interracial relationship (or not), have tattoos from head to toe (or none), be young, be old, be gay, be straight (or anything in between). Outside of those (new) religious zealots who have recently begun parking themselves outside of Fu’s Custom Tattoo on the weekends (making NoDa guests cross the street to avoid them), nobody cares.

Through my personal life’s ups and downs, I have released European standards of beauty for my own brand of beauty. Gone are the days of relaxing and coloring my hair, trying to be a size two, and all else ridiculously promoted by my former favorite magazines. I realize now that the most beautiful people in the world have confidence and comfort in their own skin.

This does not mean I don’t have a gazillion oils and potions on my bathroom vanity, or that I don’t care about how I look. On the contrary: It’s just that my personal style is no longer based on what others think.

I have endured many losses in my journey to this realization, and each loss helped me realize something about myself. Among them are: strength, courage, endurance, patience, selflessness, humility, and very, very strong boundaries – qualities that, although others may have seen in me, I had not seen in myself.

I want to share a beauty tip with you, Reader. And no, this will not require you visiting me at Curio, Craft & Conjure to buy anything. All you’ll need is a pencil and paper. But let me offer some background information first.

The lotus flower has long been associated with the crown chakra. The crown chakra supports our life purpose and connection to the Divine. Lotus oil is considered one of the most beautiful oils to heal the skin, adding a fragrant glow. Placed on the crown chakra, it can support meditative states.

On a metaphysical level, the lotus represents enlightenment – seeing the inner beauty of all beings, rather than just their outward appearance.

If (or when) you find yourself placing too much importance on your physical looks, I invite you to rethink your position. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look your best, but when you constantly judge yourself (or others) negatively, solely based on physical appearance, it is a sign of being out of alignment with (whatever you call) God.

Let’s face it, youth and good looks are fleeting. Your inner qualities (such as kindness, compassion, joy, loyalty, truthfulness, and honor) are what truly matter. After all, our bodies are merely a temporary temple designed to carry us through this life. When we leave this world, we will be remembered for our inner qualities and contributions to those around us and the lives of others.

Inner beauty exercise

A wonderful way to concentrate on your inner beauty is to draw a lotus flower with 10 petals. On each petal, write something you admire about yourself that isn’t a physical feature. You will be surprised at how many gorgeous inner qualities you possess!

Put your lotus drawing in a visible place you can see daily. As you realize more qualities about yourself, add more petals!

Allow your inner beauty and confidence to be your gift to the world. Doing so invites those around you to do the same.