August 22, 2013

Finding My Deep Beauty

By Marilee
Introduced by Amy

For a while, I've been thinking on beauty.  Every lady wants to be pretty and feel confident--it's only natural!  But, gosh, we can be SO dang critical and hard on ourselves!  I recently spilled my guts about my struggle with my crappy skin--I was overwhelmed by your love and kind responses, as well as your courage in telling some of YOUR beauty insecurities.  My friend, Marilee, recently told me about an epiphany she had about beauty and her own worth, that healed a lifetime of pain and embarrassment.  My view of her is much different than she saw herself for all those years; I think of her as kind, encouraging, fun, and beautiful!  I was so happy to hear of the peace her realization brought her.  Since I loved her story so much, I wanted her to share it with you--and she was brave enough to agree!  Here it is. 

Ever since I can remember, I have felt ugly.  When I was young I had crooked buck teeth; when I bit into a sandwich I made a 90 degree angle impression.  Oh and of course, I wore glasses.  Thus, I was very teased and bullied--not just at school, but at home too by my older brother and Dad.

Self Esteem?  I didn't have any.  I looked in the mirror and all I saw was a fat, homely girl that just wanted to fit in.

Luckily the summer before 7th grade I was blessed to get braces.  I was so determined to have straight teeth that I did and wore whatever I was required...which included the over-the-head head gear.  In the beginning I had to wear it to school.  Boy was I teased!

So I believed more and more that I was ugly.  Because of the braces, my front lip curled up.  So the boys at school called me frog-lips, and would "ribbit" whenever they saw me.

Well my braces finally came off and yes, my teeth looked great!  But I still didn't think I was pretty.  AND I still worried about my weight.  My parents had 9 children. 3 girls, two boys, then 4 more girls.  I am the 7th of the 9.  In our teen years my sisters had eating disorders--they were skin and bones.  Sizes 1-3.  At 16, I was 5'7 and size 6.  I thought I was fat, because I was compared to my extremely thin sisters.  My junior year my parents put me on Weight Watchers.

I had a hard time making friends because I didn't think anyone wanted to be with such a overweight, homely person.

I had a great personality but I didn't know it.  I went through High School getting better at making friends and going to sports games, but never dating.  I quit going to the dances after the games and church dances because they were too depressing; I never danced.  My Senior year I got contacts, but that wasn't enough.

I still looked in the mirror and saw a fat, ugly, person.

OK.  Are you depressed enough?

Well I graduated, and learned to avoid mirrors and went on to serve a mission for my church, and got married when I was 27.  My husband died due to complications of diabetes 5 years later.

After a couple of years, I remarried.  After 11 years of happiness we have 3 beautiful boys together and I have two stepsons.

But I still struggled with my self esteem.  Through the years I have always told myself that I was fat and ugly.

I had heard people speak on how Heavenly Father looks on the heart and not on the outward appearance and how beauty comes from within...etc.  But I could never believe it.  It was as if I was hearing it through a wall and couldn't understand the words.

I am 45 years old now.  This past week I came across a talk by Elaine S. Dalton addressed to teen girls.  (She is a leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saint's worldwide young women's group. 2010 General Young Women Conference).

In it she talks about "deep beauty": how a person's beauty isn't determined by the outward appearance but by how their spirit shines from within. She taught that beauty comes from being a good person, following God and his commandments, and how we serve each other.

It comes from how strong our convictions are.

It comes from how kind we are to each other.

It comes from the Light of Christ that is within us.

Suddenly, it clicked.  It doesn't matter how big or thin I am.  It doesn't matter if I wear glasses or have buck and crooked teeth.

My appearance isn't what makes me beautiful.  I know that I am beautiful because I am a Daughter of God and I let my light shine! 


Thank you, so much Marilee, for opening your heart to us.  I LOVE the idea of "Deep Beauty".

Friends, please share your thoughts and feelings about beauty with us.  What do YOU think makes someone beautiful?  Who is the most "deeply beautiful" woman that you know?  Your mother?  A teacher? We'd love to hear!  And please Like/Share this post if it was meaningful to you.  :)


  1. Wonderful post. Can I put in my two cents here? Our culture is NOT good to our girls. It tells them that beauty is all that matters, and even tells them that is not enough. And usually we just rail against what an evil world this is.

    But you know what...we contribute to that world too. My realization that I was helping foster such a world really shook me up. I'm trying to change, I swear I am, but it is CRAZY how imbedded it is in everything we say and do.

    These are the things I think about: When I meet a little girl or young woman, do I ONLY remark about how pretty she looks? Do I ONLY comment on what a pretty dress she has? Or do I ask her about what books she's reading, or how much she likes sports, or even just what activities she's involved with? When I describe a woman to someone else, do I JUST talk about her looks? Or do I describer her personality? And when I meet someone who isn't very attractive, do I make sure to tell them how pretty they are today, or comment on their appearance? When I talk with teenagers, do I ask them about their college plans and what they plan to do with their lives?

    Sadly, I find that even though I know better, I have work to do in these areas. I can make a small difference in the lives of women I meet. I can't change the world, but I can change MY world and how I interact with my world. And that is pretty much the same thing.

  2. Wise words, Marjanna! I agree, it's good for all girls and women to feel loved, beautiful, and special, but MAN do we focus on the looks aspect a lot! A girl's worth doesn't come from how beautiful she is, so we don't want her learn that message from us, even if we don't mean to send that message!

  3. Thank you for sharing this, I agree that true beauty comes from within, and it starts with a smile. :) Marilee has a wonderful family and is one of the happiest women I know, and that truly is beautiful to see.

  4. Thanks for sharing Marilee! I'm so impressed with your honesty and humility. We all have insecurities and we need to love ourselves and others anyway!


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Thanks, friends! :)