I'll never forget a conversation I had with a gorgeous fourteen year old with big brown eyes, perfectly full lips and flawless olive skin. She was stunning on the outside but on the inside she did not think she was good enough.
Our conversation began when she asked me if she should get green colored contacts. I remember feeling saddened by her question and puzzled why she did not feel content with her own beauty.
Admittedly my response to her was rather strong. Embarrassed by my strong reaction I remember trying a more gentle approach. I asked her with a calm, therapeutic tone, what made her want to get green colored contacts.
Her response showed that she had thought about getting green colored contacts for quite some time and was already sold on the idea that it would make her prettier. She even went on to demonstrate her desire by showing me a picture of a light-skinned girl with green colored contacts.
What I said next was something out of my conscious and deep from the depths of my heart:
With my deep browns eyes looking intently at hers, I told her, "do you want to know what's more beautiful, a person who could accept what they have and own it. There’s really nothing more beautiful than someone who doesn’t seek to change herself but has so much confidence in who she is that it radiates from within her.”
In that moment we were both having our own parallel processing. I did not believe what had just come out of my mouth because for most of my life I had never really believed those words. For her, she was able to come to grips with the real reason why she wanted contacts and as a result face the pain of feeling "not enough."
Several months had passed and she ended up getting the green colored contacts and although it hurt me to see her beauty brown eyes had been covered, I empathized with her.
The truth is when I was seventeen years old I had bought my first and only pair of green colored contacts (the parallel processing went real deep).
I remember struggling to put them on and poking my eyes several times, desperate for the contacts to settle over my dark-brown eyes. After much probing, poking and placing I was relieved when they finally covered what I thought was not beautiful enough. I felt so gorgeous and I flaunted them around with pride. Looking beautiful only lasted a day because my rough hands quickly damaged my green colored contacts when I tried to take them off. However, metaphorically, I'm not sure if they ever were completely removed.
I've clung on to "green colored contacts" all my life hoping that it would change what I saw in the mirror. It never it did. When my expectations met reality I still did not feel beautiful enough. It was never enough. There was already more I could change.
I think many of us feel this way and clinging on to our own "green colored contacts," especially as women. However if we live our lives this way our "contacts" will not help us see clearly but they will make us blind.
The reality is beauty is never about searching for what we do not have and attaining what we don't own, but it's about radiating what we already possess. When we are able to own this truth and boldly proclaim it by the way we live our lives, our blurred sight can be strengthened into clearer vision, which is something a lot more true and authentic.
So what green colored contacts are you trying to buy? Because if it's not artificial green lenses to change the color of your eyes, I'm sure it's something else and that something else could never make you more beautiful than you already are.
Grab a pen + journal for even greater self-reflection
1. What makes you beautiful? What's something about you that you can learn to appreciate and radiate to others? How can owning what you already possess make you more beautiful?
2. What makes you feel not beautiful? What "green colored contacts" have you tried to buy to make you appear more beautiful? Did it satisfy you or did you end up searching for more?
3. Think about someone in your life who is truly beautiful? What makes them so beautiful? Do they seek to change themselves or do they accept who they are? Reflect on what your definition of true beauty is and how you plan to live that definition out.