When you get asked to speak to a large and impressionable group of young girls (ages 12-17) about the importance of inner beauty, there is only one thing you can do...
Go on Facebook!
In preparation for my speech, I posed some thought-inspiring questions on my "wall." I decided to "rally the troops"--friends, family members, readers, followers--and ask them for help in defining beauty.
"What makes a person beautiful?," I asked. The response was incredible...
--Beautiful is the way a person treats others. Being kind, giving compliments, smiling and loving others the way our Savior asks us to do.
--Beauty is making a person's load lighter; reaching out.
--Confidence is beautiful.
--True beauty: Those who LOVE themselves for WHO they are. They have charity towards others.
--A beautiful person has a positive outlook on life.
--Courage is beautiful. Being brave. Speaking truth. Truth is light, light is love, love is beautiful.
--I think about who I am, a daughter of THE KING. Before I even had a physical body, I was beautiful and special to my Father in Heaven.
--I feel beautiful when I find a reason to laugh. Happiness is beautiful.
--Celebrating even the smallest successes is beautiful. Be proud of yourself.
--Supporting other women is beautiful. No comparing, not categorizing, no competing...just cheering.
--A happy, funny, kind, and loving person radiates true beauty. Anyone who makes me feel good just by being around them is beautiful.
--Seeing that someone needed some kindness and then being brave enough to show it.
Aren't those wonderful?! No one referenced pretty hair or plastic surgery. No one commented on super model bodies or fashion and style. You won't find mention of makeup, boobs, wealth, fame, accessories, or skin in the comment thread.
The common, recurring theme of all the comments was that real beauty lies in the kindness and love we extend to others. Compassion is beautiful. Reaching and striving to lift one another from the mud bogs in life's path is beautiful. Living with an eye turned to God and a hand outstretched to mankind is beautiful. Beautiful hearts matter most.
I am certain many of you are familiar with Stephanie Nielson, the blogger behind the Nie Nie Dialogues, and the author of Heaven Is Here. In August of 2008, she and her husband were in a horrific, fiery plane crash. She suffered severe burns over eighty percent of her body and spent four months in a coma. In her book she writes, "I know, now, without a doubt that the true source of happiness, self-worth, and authentic beauty doesn't come from the outside. Women are constantly being persuaded to want something unachievable, to look younger or thinner and above all to fit in because being different is too painful and embarrassing. I have accepted myself in a world that does not accept me, because I have learned--and more than any of the lessons of my accident, this is the one I wish I could teach everybody--that our hearts matter most. Your heart matters most, so be gentler and more patient with yourself, and their hearts matter most, too, so be kinder and more compassionate to others. It's a beautiful heart, not a perfect body, that leads to a beautiful life."