Sunday, March 16, 2014

Beauty From the Inside Out

Has this ever happened to you? You show someone a picture of yourself from when you were younger (or thinner ), or both - and instead of commenting about how cute or pretty you were, the person says things like "I can't believe that's you!" or "I would have NEVER recognized you!!!"

What does one say in response? Thank you?

I know I look different now as the middle aged version of myself; I get that. But the thing is - despite having hair that needs Clairol's root touch up once every three weeks and a new found understanding of why a person would get Botox - underneath it all, remains a 16 year old girl who still wants to be seen as pretty.

I hope I'm not letting any cats out of the bag by revealing this. That despite our age, most women want to be viewed as desirable; but at this stage in the game, we long for this desirability to be on our own terms. In much the same way men are seen as distinguished with a little grey hair, I believe women would like to be seen as attractive based on an entire package: our confidence, our accomplishments, our hearts, our humour - attributes that might not reveal themselves at first glance, but that inform every aspect of what it is to be beautiful once you get to know a person.

I think this is something we must remind ourselves of daily: the reality of beauty coming from the inside out. Just because some women's magazine is selling you the latest diet, wrinkle cream, or age defying potion doesn't mean you can't fight back and feel better about yourself in the process. Although there exists a universal standard of beauty in our youth obsessed culture, let's take the time to remind ourselves that very few people actually ever meet that standard - further to that, it is not something anyone is going to be able to hold onto. Eventually time is going to catch up with the Botox and when that day happens my wish is that every woman is able to see herself as worthy.

When I look back at pictures of myself now and see that pretty girl with the wanna be Farah flipped back hair, I can see that so much is missing. The girl in the pictures had not yet driven across Canada on her own, danced on top of a bar in New Orleans, raised a son, maintained a marriage, ran a half marathon, appeared on a TV show or won $20,000.00 for making the best damned pork tenderloin in Canada! That girl, though pretty, was not half the woman I eventually became. Which tells me that in 20 years when someone sees a picture of me now, it shouldn't come as a surprise when they say "I can't believe that's you!"

Because it won't be.

The me of 20 years from now will be more confident, and more assured. She will have overcome obstacles and survived losses. She will have experienced challenges, and adventures, and through it all if I play my cards right, she will have done so with an unwavering belief in herself and the steadfast knowledge that desirability and beauty are less about wrinkles, and more about the experiences that have put them there. 

Weigh in...

Do you relate to this? Are there things you do to combat inner negativity? What things make you beautiful from the inside out?


Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her on her blogs, The Kitchen Witch, and Just. That. Fabulous. or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

Facebook Twitter YouTube


  1. I just discovered this wonderful new blog of yours and I have to confess, though I am not a woman, I relate completely to both (wonderfully written, as always with heart and humor!) of these postings.

    1. Bill, I LOVE that you read this and could find something that resonated from a man's point of view. Thank you for commenting and letting me know. It means a lot!!

  2. I love this post! Love love LOVE.

    1. Leah!! Thanks so much for commenting. I love that you love it :-)

  3. I know exactly of what you speak, but for some reason people always recognize me, I have no idea why, I am chubbier and going grey, but people that haven't saw me since my teens know who I am, I'm 57 now, but you not the person you were and neither am I, we are BETTER!!!!!

  4. There is no doubt that I am much wiser, compassionate and considerate to others now than I was 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. Confident? Not so much. I've backed deeper into a hole with each additional 5 pounds I've packed onto my fat ass. I can't even believe it's me in a 20 year old picture so I can't be disappointed when someone else doesn't recognize me.

    I can give great advice to everybody except myself. You hear life coaches and therapists say that in order to improve your life and reach your goals you need to "do the work". Do the work. What does that mean? What am I supposed to do?

    I quit drinking and smoking on my own but for some reason eating in moderation and intentional exercise are impossible. Once or twice I've considered cigarettes to aid in weight loss. I did manage to talk myself out of that.

    I don't think I'm combating inner negativity very well.

    Obviously a thought provoking post Lyndsay. You always have such great writings.

    1. Hi Pam. I relate to what you've written about not combating inner negativity well. It is a hell of a thing to do. Especially when the world at large is screaming in a thousand different ways "You aren't good enough because you carry extra weight, or you're too old, or whatever." Maybe the work is learning to love self despite that. This is why I started this blog - I want to feel good about myself regardless of those outside voices (that eventually inform the inner ones) are saying. Love to you!!

  5. Why wait 20 years? ;)
    There is a new breed of young women out there. They are young, they are daring, they are beautiful and they do not meet the standard of what the magazines and other media tell them they should be. They are confident, they know what they want and they go after it.
    Where is it written that they are the only ones who get to be like that? Who said that you have to be in your 20's or 30's to feel like that? If you can find those who have made those rules - let me know, I feel a slap down coming on.

    I know, it;s easy to sit here behind my keyboard and tell all of you that YOU CAN DO IT. I can tell you that 100 times but until you make that first move no matter what I say is going to make a difference.

    You my new found sista's are that difference. We all are. From the 20 year olds to the 90 year olds - we are all part of that great big picture.

    I started dying my hair at 15 because as heredity would have it I received the grey hair gene from both parents. Now, at 53, I am totally grey. Keeping it coloured is way too much work and I have too many other things to do to worry about what colour my hair is - and it has been pretty well every colour under the sun except black. I was even purple for a while - well Vivid Plum, but lets not split hairs...

    Baby steps ladies, baby steps. Tomorrow - instead of having your regular coffee - splurge - have a latte. Order a rich dark roast if you usually have mild or light brewed.
    Going out for lunch? Skip the salad - salad is for Rabbits. Have something from the menu that yesterday you would have said no way too. Go for it!
    Whatever it is, do it for you.
    Make yourself your number 1 priority. And yep, its not going to be easy if you are used to doing for everyone else all the time. But little by little, strip it away. Life your life on your terms...

    1. I love this. The end. xoxoxoxoxo Nancy!!!!!!!

  6. I love this so much. And this is so true. I don't mourn the me I used to be, because I love the one I am now. My ass was much nicer 20 years ago, but I was eaten up with holes inside. It's taken me this long to grow into myself, and I like my glitchy meatsuit just fine. Thank you for writing this, Lyndsay. You're such a light!

  7. Has happened to me quite a few times. And what the youngsters don't realize is the journey we have taken to be where we are. Of course, face value is what is seen and how can I explain that I was every bit as quick and motivated as they are now. One thing I do know is that I am nearing a change. I know I will not be able to keep doing my job since my legs seem to be wearing out on me quicker than anything. I don't know when, I just know it will happen, unless knee doctors can really help.But anyway.I do get impressed with many of the youngsters entering the work force and actually step aside to let them do their thing. It's good to see fresh. I do not envy them because they are starting on their journeys and it is going to be a rough ride. As far as pictures go now, I figure I'll like it better in 5 years. LOL

    1. I'm in the process of doing some of that stepping aside myself. As I see new people coming into my space I'm reminded of how well I do my job and how much I actually know. It feels good to realize that over the last 20 years or so I have really grown. Thanks for the reminder Adrienne!

  8. A really good friend of mine posted this today on his FB page.
    He spent a year when he was 19 traveling the world with a group called
    "Up With People" showing that anyone can be friends and get along with anyone.
    It was a journey that sounds incredible and I know that it had helped make him the awesome man he is today.

    This was written by him and two others that were roommates for a leg of the journey. This proves, at least to me, that one not need to wait till they are older and wiser. He turned 40 this year. Last summer he had a brain tumour (benign) removed and through all of this I never once saw him do anything but smile. He has had a headache since that surgery and his Dr's are hopeful that it will eventually go away for good. I spent the day with him today - we work together - and watched him down Advils like candy but all the while he never stopped smiling. (well except for when he was giving me grief about work stuff that was all in fun)

    You can make a difference
    You don't have to be smarter, faster, stronger,
    richer or more talented than anyone else.
    You don't need a lifetime to get ready.
    It only takes courage now.
    When the truth needs to be said,
    When the work needs to be done,
    When the help needs to be given...
    You can make a difference.
    By earning people's trust
    And giving them your respect
    You can help build a world where
    Good things happen for all of us.
    Because the only reason there is
    for being alive is to make
    the most of what you have
    Your Time.
    Your ideas.
    Your love.
    That is all you need.
    You can make a difference.

    So, I have a challenge for you. Tomorrow I want each of you to do something that is so far from your "norm". It doesn't have to be in public - you are doing this for you, no one else. It can be something as basic changing up your shower routine, leaving dirty dishes in the sink - something that anyone who knew you well would think you had gone off the deep end.
    You don't have to share it with us - as I said, this is for you. Show yourself that you CAN change you, a little at a time.

    1. Thanks for posting this Nancy - so great! So what will I do differently today? Hmmmm...

  9. love it Lyndsay... I tried to fit in when I was young but gave up. I have been truly blessed to have a supportive family. I have a husband that loves me, he doesn't try to change me. I like being behind the scenes, making a contribution without making an appearance is my goal. I have tried my best at every job I worked, and they were varied types... no rhyme or reason. Just what I wanted to try next or what was available at that time. Never had a specific profession in mind. I have always just been the wife, mom, or caregiver. I am not that same person I was when I was in college. I don't look young, because I'm not young. I am fine being 55 years old. I have earned every wrinkle, scar and grey hair. I am who I am through the struggles I've battled in life. I have finally learned to accept myself as I am. And that is where I am now... what is to follow? only time will tell. by, Merrilee Frazier

    1. I love this Merrilee. Thank you for taking the time to leave this comment.