“I’M BEAUTIFUL INSIDE!” I turned my head sharply and read these words boldly printed on top of a For Sale sign in front of a house.
I thought to myself, “I guess they think the inside of this house says more about what it’s worth than the outside!”
The real estate industry spends a lot of time and energy talking about “curb appeal” when selling or buying a home. Curb appeal describes the visual attractiveness of a house from the outside. If we were to describe “personal curb appeal,” we would be talking about the main focus of most of the beauty and fashion industries. Advertisements lure us to products based on the way they look or the way they will make us look on the outside.
I also fall into the trap of being way too focused on my personal curb appeal. I wake up in the morning filled with questions like, “What should I wear today that doesn’t make me look fat, too old or just plain drab? What should I have for breakfast that will help me keep my weight down? When will I have time to exercise so I can eat the cookies I want to make with my grandchildren? Does the make-up I bought yesterday make me look younger or older?” And the questions go on and on. I have to stop myself and remind myself God has created me in His image. That is the only image that really matters and it is beautiful.
Don’t get me wrong; personal attention to the way we look on the outside is important to our overall well-being. We need to be clean, groomed and put on our best smile. It’s when we focus so much on our curb appeal that we forget that the most important parts of who we are and our personal worth are on the inside!
I grew up in a home with a single mother and two sisters. Outward beauty was a constant topic! You might say it is ingrained in my DNA. I fight it often! But what I also learned from these three amazing women are inner traits that are becoming part of my DNA: traits like unconditional love for people.
Our home was full of friends, neighbors and those who had nowhere else to go. We laughed and cried together. We played and worked together. We listened and we loved! I learned from my family that to be able to love others freely is true beauty.
My mother helped me develop the inner trait of working hard for what you want. She raised three daughters on the meager wages of a waitress and relied on the generous pockets of those who tipped her for her service. She made every penny go as far as possible to provide for her children. Once we were grown, she went to school, where she became an esthetician. She finally had a job that she loved. She helped others with the outward and inward beauty they desired. She proved throughout her life that hard work, caring for others, and following our dreams reveals our inner beauty.
I have two of the strongest sisters I know. They’ve both faced very heavy and life-altering challenges.
Not once have I ever heard either of them blame God or anyone else for these challenges. Instead, they’ve faced them head-on, with strength and courage. Day in and day out, they’ve persevered with love and joy in their hearts. I strive daily to follow their examples. They are so beautiful inside because they face their burdens with patience and a desire to learn what life needs to teach them.
I met my husband when I was 12 years old! We became fast friends and started dating in high school. Four years after high school, we were married and have been married for 36 years. He has seen a lot of changes to my curb appeal and my inner appeal, as well! He has watched me go through four pregnancies, illnesses, hairstyle changes, weight gain and aging. In all of these years and changes, he has constantly assured me of my authentic beauty. The days I hate how I look, he tells me how much he loves my eyes, my smile or my hair. He reminds me to have patience with myself when I make mistakes or feel as if I fall far short. He is privy to the whole package and still tells me I’m beautiful. He tells me that if I could only see myself through his eyes, it would only take a second or two, and I would know how beautiful I am. I want to do that! I want to believe and know as he does. Why is it so difficult? I will forever be grateful for his perspective.
Take time to listen to those who love you and see who you really are. They know and see the beauty inside! They can help give you a glimpse of what God sees in you.
Our souls are not for sale. We don’t get to hang up a sign and tell the world we are beautiful inside. But we can let the inside shine through bright enough for others to see. We need to seek the balance between our personal curb appeal and inner beauty. After all, curb appeal fades with age, but inner beauty becomes more magnificent. Years ago, I heard a speaker suggest something that gets me back on track when I feel unbalanced. She said, “when you wake up in the morning, take care of yourself. Do whatever you need to do to focus on getting yourself ready to face the day. Then go out and forget yourself!” Go focus on other people. Share with them your inner beauty that comes out naturally as you focus on others. WE ARE BEAUTIFUL INSIDE and the world needs our beauty!
Wendy Passantino was born in Idaho but has lived in Utah, Pennsylvania and California before settling in Texas 10 years ago. She loves learning, teaching, hiking, writing, reading, gardening and spending time with her family. She is happily married to her high school sweetheart.
They have 4 married children and 5 grandchildren with numbers 6 and 7 on the way. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Elementary Education. She taught first and second grade and developed a love for children’s books. You can usually find her in the children’s section at the library or the bookstore. She is currently writing her own children’s book, Shama Grandma, about the love and loss of a grandmother.