Cultivating Femininity: Outer Beauty
Good Afternoon and welcome to the feminine and wild Midwest!
Today we are doing our first deep dive into the Cultivating Femininity series: cultivating OUTER beauty.
Yes, that's right. Outer beauty, NOT inner beauty.
Outer beauty?? But Cait! Femininity is something from within! Besides... shouldn't people like me for ME, and not for my looks?
Well, yes! You are not wrong: people should like you for your personality and character. But cultivating feminine beauty isn't about other people: it's about YOU, and YOUR journey. Femininity is a personal growth process between you and YOU.
Let's unpack this.
The Beauty Problem:
I see two things in our society:
1. A complete shirking off of the importance of outer beauty.
2. An obsession with outer beauty.
Neither approach is good. If you forget your outer beauty, you are not treating your body as a Temple for the Holy Spirit, and you are neglecting your own needs. If you obsess over outer beauty, you can become vain, prideful, and often vapid and self-obsessed.
I can see that Christians would rather shirk outer beauty than become obsessed with it, but I think we should find balance. Neither one is good in excess, and a healthy understanding of the gift of outer beauty can amplify, rather than detract from a woman's life.
Cultivating Outer Beauty will Bless You
Cultivating outer beauty is important because your exterior is the vehicle through which you communicate with and experience the world around you. Every time you meet someone, you have the opportunity show them who you are through your outer beauty: are you creative? Do you take care of yourself? Do you take pride in the way you look?
At the very least, cultivating outer beauty allows you to develop discipline and creativity: two crucial elements to the feminine journey.
Discovering your own natural beauty and nurturing it is an ancient, traditional, and exciting practice. As long as you do not allow outer beauty to consume your life, you can engage with it in an encouraging, positive, and creative way.
Scripture says "charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised." Pvb 31:30
Even the Bible knows we all have an expiration date on beauty. While it is yours, take time to nurture and grow into it.
Finally, remember that cultivating outer beauty is NEVER about drawing unnecessary attention to yourself. Learn discretion with how you dress and put on your makeup. You want to present as YOU, not a distraction.
How Cultivating Outer Beauty Changed My Life:
I have found immense joy in discovering my natural beauty and unique style. You can read more about my story regarding feminine outer beauty here, but I will give a bit of a readers digest version.
In the Winter of 2018, once I was officially working from home, I had a lot more time on my hands. I decided to do something I had been wanting to do for a long time: cultivate my OUTER beauty.
After a lot of stress, transition, and weight gain, I was feeling frumpier than ever. It took away from my joy, my confidence, and I was certainly not living into the virtue of discipline. But 2018 was the year I decided to get proactive.
I created a program for myself that nurtured my skin, nutrition, body, and face. I began following the online advice from models, nutritionists, dermatologists, and fashion gurus until I cultivated my outer beauty to a point where I was happy with it.
It was a process, but I am happy to show you all my transformation!
If you are interested in cultivating your beauty like I did, I have written 6 tips below that changed my life.
Here are some ways to get started:
1. Start from within
I began by making sure I was getting my proper nutrients. I began to get educated on what vitamins or minerals to begin including in my diet. I purchased the appropriate nutrition and cut out 80% of processed foods. I don't remember the last time I ate a chip!
I noticed that I felt more energetic, lighter, and honestly do not have the same cravings that used to haunt me. My skin is fresh, and my eyes are bright! Yay!
2. Work on your skin
Skin is the foundation of beauty. I remember watching a show a long time ago where an "evil" princess was facing a mirror with her mom looming over her shoulder. The princess was applying cream to her skin, while her mother was nodding approvingly, and telling her that her youth was the way she would capture the heart of the prince.
I remember watching this scene and thinking "?? SKIN ??" What about her makeup?? Or her hair? Ah, foolish me. Little did I know then, but the skin is what communicates your health, vitality, and youth. Skin should be treasured ,worked on, and nurtured. It will display your youth.
I have a couple blogs about skin you can find at this link.
3. Begin Upgrading Your Fashion
Cultivating outer beauty means nurturing your body, your hair, your skin, etc, but also about getting creative with how you express yourself. Show who you are through your clothing. Communicate with the world through your fashion and allow your personality to shine.
Find a style. I cannot stress this enough. When I first started this journey, I was all over the place with clothes: I was trying to be trendy and fit in, so I would buy sweaters and jeans, etc, but I found that I HATED those clothes and didn't want to wear them.
Finally I figured out the shapes I LOVED wearing, and began thrifting, sewing, and consignment shopping my way to a new wardrobe. My recommendation: do this process SLOWLY. Don't rush into a new wardrobe, and give yourself time to figure out what you like.
4. Eat healthy & in MODERATION
I cannot stress the word moderation enough. If you eat health food but you eat to excess, you will NOT improve your health. Understand how much of each food group you need for the day, and STOP after that. I promise you, this will change your life.
You might feel a little hungry for the first couple weeks, especially if you've been eating to excess for most of your life, but after that, you will notice you feel lighter, more energetic, and more in control of your impulses.
5. Sleep more!
This is HUGE. I began sleeping 9 hours a night when I worked from home, and it improved my health tenfold. I had less water retention in my face, felt more energy throughout the day, and was able to use sleep time to process the days events.
6. Move around
You could say exercise at the gym, but honestly, this past year I lost 15 lbs just by MOVING more. I learned that if you do a 30 minute workout but sit the rest of the day, you're not really better off. I have discovered more arm and leg toning just be being willing to walk to the other side of the house to grab something, even when it's inconvenient, versus visiting the gym three times a week.
A WORD OF CAUTION: This method worked for me because I build muscle really easily. I didn't want to go squat at the gym because I wanted to lose fat AND muscle. If you are looking to just lose fat or to build muscle, the gym is a fantastic place for you and might really work. It just wasn't for me.
7. Begin defining what "Feminine Beauty" is to you
Begin immersing yourself in a new standard of beauty. Unfollow the Kylie Jenners and all the fake beauties. Learn about true and genuine beauty, and how you want to explore that with yourself.
Create a Pinterest board full of examples of women whom you find feminine and beautiful. I have attached below various photos of women who I think are doing a fantastic job cultivating feminine beauty. Being feminine doesn't mean you need to dress sexy, and it doesn't mean investing in plastic surgery, crazy hours on your makeup, or super high heels. It just means letting your natural beauty shine.
There you have it my lovelies! I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing. Of course this topic is never closed, it's just starting, but I thought we would get a really good overview of it today, as well as some more information on my journey, and where to begin.
Remember, beauty is a blessing; treat it as such.