Dr. Kelly Flanagan is a psychologist whose blog includes letters to his young daughter, guiding her through a world he hopes will increasingly cherish women for their inner beauty. His words speak not only to his little girl, but to all women and to all men.
He wrote a letter to his daughter from a makeup aisle in a department store. He contemplated the words that surrounded him, “affordably gorgeous,” “go nude,” and other such catch phrases that tell women to be flawlessly beautiful and to be sexually appealing. He redefined these words:
Naked. The world wants you to take your clothes off. Please keep them on. But take your gloves off. Pull no punches. Say what is in your heart. Be vulnerable. Embrace risk. Love a world that barely knows what it means to love itself. Do so nakedly. Openly. With abandon.
Age defying. Your skin will wrinkle and your youth will fade, but your soul is ageless. It will always know how to play and how to enjoy and how to revel in this one-chance life. May you always defiantly resist the aging of your spirit.
Flawless finish. Your finish has nothing to do with how your face looks today and everything to do with how your life looks on your last day. May your years be a preparation for that day. May you be aged by grace, may you grow in wisdom, and may your love become big enough to embrace all people. May your flawless finish be a peaceful embrace of the end and the unknown that follows, and may it thus be a gift to everyone who cherishes you.
Brilliant strength. May your strength be not in your fingernails but in your heart. May you discern in your center who you are, and then may you fearfully but tenaciously live it out in the world.
Choose your dream. But not from a department store shelf. Find the still-quiet place within you. A real dream has been planted there. Discover what you want to do in the world. And when you have chosen, may you faithfully pursue it, with integrity and with hope.
Every night Flanagan asks his daughter, “Where are you the most beautiful?” She replies, “On the inside.”
*Image of a little girl in the magazines section of a supermarket via Shutterstock