The Secret to Real Beauty

In Google search page, I typed in the word “beauty” and hit enter. Search results offered me an array of articles – how to achieve it, ways to maintain it and dreadful signs warning you that you need to double-time in your efforts in keeping it. Eat Healthy. Exercise Regularly. Use an ample amount of the right skin care products. We read it on the magazines, we watch it on the TV and we see them on the billboards. We know them by heart. But do these things really work to make and keep you beautiful?

Before I answer this question, let me share this personal story:

It was a typical afternoon in the office. The yuppies are huddled in the conference room, laptops in front of us, preparing for the upcoming trainings and projects. Four of us were there. Israeli Boy, Little Princess, NBSB Girl and I (for anonymity, I will use code names). We were hungry but everyone was too lazy preoccupied to walk over to the phone and punch those delivery numbers. In short, di bale nang pare-pareho tayong magutom ‘wag lang mapagod.

Then one of my colleagues arrived. Let’s call him Gentle Giant. Again, we were all too apathetic preoccupied with our work that we were not really mindful of who comes in and goes out. Little Princess, went out of the room. A few minutes later, she came back, a Cheeseburger meal from McDonald’s in her hand. With a sheepish smile, she asked us, “Gusto nyo?” NBSB Girl and I exchanged meaningful glances. We already knew where the food came from. It has been an inside joke that being pretty has its own perks. One of which is getting favors from other people in the office – having someone hold out the door for you or carry your bag, open your canned tuna for lunch, pay for your jeepney fare or in Little Princess’ case, drop by McDonald’s before going to the office and grab a burger meal for you (go large). Right? Maybe not. Just from people who likes you. You get what I mean.

So, this conversation took place as we helped ourselves with some frenchfries:

Me: Sarap ng fries..
Little Princess: Oo nga, ang sarap. Ang sarap maging maganda. Hahaha.
Me: Oo nga.. Hahaha.
NBSB Girl: Sige na kayo na ang maganda. Ako na ang pangit.
All three: Hahaha!

NBSB Girl intended her statement as pun since she is not pangit. For me, she is one of the prettiest girls I know. But sometimes we, ladies are guilty of having this sense that we are not pretty when we don’t get favors from others while another girl does.
If there are two of you entering a building and a guy holds out the door for her and not for you. If you are going home after work or school and a guy is waiting for your friend. He takes her bag and carries it for her. If you notice that nobody brings you food just because it’s Monday or Tuesday while your friend has an unlimited and free supplier of burger meals (go large). We feel that we are less loved. Worse, we feel that we are the most miserable person in the whole world.

Lourd de Veyra, a journalist (among many other roles), made a social experiment on how your outward appearance may affect how people treat you. It’s a comparison between two men that shows how the more “good looking” gets favor from strangers while the other doesn’t. It’s a sad reality. And I am guilty of doing this sometimes. No wonder why lots of women of different colors, shapes and sizes, over the years, have spent time, energy and effort in search for the secret of being and staying beautiful. We have to admit, we have been one of these women, at some point of time of our lives. We strive to be beautiful and youthful all the time so we will feel more special, more important. It’s as if our identity depends on the affirmation from other people and from what they do for us. But no matter how much organic food we take, how many kilometers we run everyday or how thick of an anti-aging cream we apply on our face, it’s still not enough. Pounds shoot up the scale, flabs peek out from our shirt sleeves and wrinkles creases our face. Beauty fades. Face it (no pun intended).

Does this mean these commercial products and wellness regimens are not beneficial? Don’t get me wrong. I am not against such. As a nurse, I am advocating for a healthy lifestyle. We all have been entrusted with our bodies to take care of. Living healthy and grooming shows stewardship of our bodies.

Does this mean that they don’t work? We have seen famous women maintain their beauty even in their latter years and was known for it. They work but it seems that beauty alone is not enough. These same women are the ones who have gone through multiple marriages and divorce. Some even took their own life.

So, what then is the secret?

Why don’t we first take a look at how God sees beauty?

He says:

Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. 

Proverbs 31:30 (NASB)

Let’s go beyond the external and examine our internals, particularly the heart. How is your heart? Is it one that fears the Lord and live by His word? Is it one that longs to seek His presence in your life and depend on His grace?

Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.

 1 Peter 3:3-4

Ladies, let us hold on to God’s affirmation that we are created in God’s image, we are fearfully and wonderfully made. More than the curvatures, let God build your confidence. More than the porcelain skin, let God prune out your ungodly characters. Rather than running for beauty that fade, let us aim for beauty that will last for all eternity, characterized by:

1. a mind filled with the knowledge and goodness of God’s love
2. a heart yearning for His presence
3. a gentle and quiet spirit

All these come only from the assurance of God’s love and promises in our lives. Let us allow Him to transform our inner beauty, and the outward will follow. For me, that is real beauty.

But it would be really nice to have a supply of frenchfries from time to time, isn’t it? Hehe.

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