By Shirley Jones-Luke
Remember in the original story of Snow White, the Evil Queen spoke to her magic mirror and asked, “Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?” Initially, the Mirror would reply that it was the Evil Queen. But as we all know, Snow White eventually won that title. As a child, I always wondered about that. Sure, Snow White was pretty, but I thought the Evil Queen was beautiful. As I grew older, I came to realize that it wasn’t so much the outer beauty that Snow White had but her inner beauty.
What is inner beauty? Again, let’s take the Snow White example. Her character was kind, gentle, and loving. Snow White cherished animals, respected nature, and helped the dwarves. She wasn’t mean and didn’t have a hidden agenda (unlike the Evil Queen). In short, Snow White was a good person and that goodness shined through from within her.
That is the essence of inner beauty. The joy that one feels in her heart will show on the outside. That is true beauty. If you were crowned Miss Universe, it wouldn’t matter if you had a heart of stone. For eventually, the evil within will consume you.
But how does one tap into her inner beauty? Here are five tips that help me feel beautiful.
Love what you do – I love to learn. I try to learn one new thing every day. That is one of the reasons why I became a teacher. Every day I have the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with young minds. When I see my students’ faces light up when I present them with a new concept or an interesting fact, I know I’ve made an impression on them. I’ve impacted their lives. I love education. It’s who I am. If you’re in a career that you love, it will be apparent in your actions. People will know that you care through your efforts. If you’re not in a career that you love – leave it. Find your true calling. In this way, you’ll cultivate your inner beauty.
Be kind to others – A little kindness goes a long way. Compliment someone. Give an old friend a call. Check in on someone’s mom. Give a gift for no reason. Kindness is about doing the little things in life that make life easier. People appreciate random acts of kindness. It can be contagious. It’s like a virus that you want to spread. It also makes you feel better about yourself when you’re nice to others. I always get all tingly inside after complimenting someone. I know that I’ve brightened their day. There’s nothing more beautiful.
Give of yourself – When you help others, there’s no greater feeling. Donate clothing or food. Visit a senior center. Read a story to children. Volunteer for an important cause. You are sharing you. It’s said that “time is money”. Well, I say, when you give time to help others, you can’t put a price on that.
Talk it out – One of the worst things that can affect beauty is when we don’t express ourselves. When you hold pent up emotions inside, you begin to damage your spirit. This will eat at your soul and eventually affect your looks. So, speak up! Speak out! You don’t have to scream. You don’t have to shout. Just explain what you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that way. Every problem has a solution. When you tell someone what’s going on, you’re relieving yourself of a great weight – which is definitely a beautiful thing.
Nurture yourself – While it’s important to help others, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Go for a walk. Read a book. Paint a picture. Whatever you enjoy doing, do it. One of my favorite activities is reading comic books. I used to collect them when I was a girl and still enjoy reading them as an adult. I’ve learned a lot about writing from reading comic books. When you’re doing your favorite activity, it will feed your soul. Your inner beauty will blossom.
All of the above will help you to tap into your inner beauty and make you glow on the outside. But here’s one bonus tip about releasing your inner beauty that’s really very easy to do – smile. A smile transforms a face. A smile shows your true beauty. So flash those pearly whites and let everyone see how beautiful you really are.
Shirley Jones-Luke is a mother, teacher, writer, and graduate student. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts with her son and husband. She teaches English Language Arts for the Boston Public Schools and is working on an MFA from Emerson College. Mrs. Luke enjoys reading, writing, improving the educational experience of young people, music, and fashion. Mrs. Luke can be found on Facebook (Shirley Jones-Luke), Twitter (CrazyS), and LinkedIn.