As a child, my perception of beauty was formed by actresses, cover models and Miss America pageant contestants, all of which were blonde, thin, and tall. It’s been said that comparison is the thief of joy, and I’d like to add that it also steals our ability to see our own unique beauty. As a short, freckled, curly-haired girl, I was convinced that I didn’t have what it took to be beautiful.
Although my perception of beauty had evolved over time, I still had certain limitations ingrained in my mind. It took me 40 years and surviving the life-altering challenges of fighting breast cancer to finally recognize my own beauty. The disfigurement of my breasts after a double mastectomy sent me to a true living hell, trying to find my confidence, despite missing the most feminine part of myself. After all, those pieces of me were not necessary health-wise. But, oh, the mind games that were started by losing them. Looking at others, I could only see that they, once again, had something I did not.
Although my body quickly recovered, it’s taken several years for my mind to heal. I am now able to see that beauty is only in the eye of the beholder. My definition of that beauty has evolved, including strength, grace, and faith. I am certain that we are all made exactly in God’s image, and that this journey is so much more than fitting into society’s ideal of “beauty”. While I wouldn’t wish the devastating journey through breast cancer and treatment on one person on earth, it is my hope that by seeing my own true beauty, others may recognize their own. What a blessing it is to marvel at the beauty of others, no longer feeling inferior or less-than. May your confidence grow from what truly matters in this life, and may you have hope, knowing it’s peaceful ahead.