I’ve never felt it more true than now that beauty is pain. This phrase is usually used in terms of physical beauty, but I think the saying is much truer when it comes to internal beauty.
I’ve recently been going through a time of life with intense growing pains. Many of those pains have been related specifically to physical beauty which I’ll explain more in a moment. For the first time in a long time, I’ve had to face hidden insecurities to an intense degree. It’s like a floodlight turned on in my heart and all of a sudden I saw all the ugly— and all the pain causing it. In the past when insecurities would flare up I was able to run away from whatever was causing the pain. But I’ve been deciding to let those insecurities turn into growing pains in hopes that life looks and feels different on the other side.
Now back to the mystery of physical beauty and how it should really be defined. This is still a little tricky for me to navigate and explain so bear with me — I spent most of my time in middle school feeling bad about how I looked (we’ve all been there.) I decided to not let myself feel ugly anymore, so I subconsciously changed the way I lived. I tried to stay away from girls who possessed the worldly desired features that I thought I lacked the most. Those girls were the “model” type – super tall, blonde, big boobs… because I am the opposite of that. I’m 5’4’’ with dark hair and a 32a. Those girls made me feel ugly, not by anything they were doing, but simply because I felt like I could never compare to someone who looked like that.
I didn’t know how to put these feelings into words until this year. Even when I write them down now, I see how immature this lifestyle is that I had created in order to feel better about myself. And when you read this, please don’t hear that I’ve never thought my friends are beautiful. My friends are SO beautiful. I guess there was just a specific look that was so opposite of me and I had put it on a pedestal.
Fast forward to life now. My best friend possesses each trait that I said made me feel insecure. Wow. I’ve been forced to face this head on. There have been moments I’ve wanted to run and almost have, but I’ve pressed in and now I can see how much I’ve grown in confidence in this area. I successfully am best friends with a “model,” which however dumb it sounds, is a massive victory for me. I’m living in freedom in an area I had let rule me for years and that’s why I can say it’s so worth pressing into the pain. What could’ve been a lost relationship and reinforced insecurity is now an area of major growth.
So how do we do it? How do we grow in these areas of such deep-rooted insecurities?
Maybe right this second you can name your insecurities or pains that need to be dealt with. Or maybe you’ve avoided them for so long that your mind doesn’t even go there until you’re forced into a situation that contains them (like my example.) Identify the areas that need growth and then let yourself feel whatever pain you’ve been fighting off. Because when you allow yourself to feel the pain, you open yourself up to finding the root of what is causing it. Write out the emotions you’ve lived with and stop pretending they don’t exist. Listen to some sad songs and sit in it for a little bit. Because then a moment will come when you stop the sad songs, you put on some Demi Lovato and you hop up!
So today lay on the operating table and let your body be ripped open so that your heart can be rewired. Lay there, open and raw, and let each part of you that is sick, heal. It will hurt. It’s painful to not put a bandaid of happiness over a deep cut, but the deep cuts need more than a temporary fix— they need to be fully repaired in order for life to be fully lived. I could’ve put a bandaid on and ran from my friend, but I would’ve faced this again in the future and I would’ve missed out on a really amazing friendship. And maybe most importantly, I wouldn’t be able to love myself the way I’m learning how.
One of my favorite truths is that our biggest struggles are all opportunities to be stories of growth. I haven’t made it out of every pain I’ve been facing but some have already transformed from insecurities to strengths. And seriously how incredible is that?! I’m telling you— on the inside, there is unimaginable beauty (and freedom) that comes from pain.