Beauty is a representation of the external form of a person or thing–at least that’s how the almighty Oxford Dictionary defines it. Beyond the literal mirror reflection, when I think of the word “image” I think of how I am perceived or what people see when they see me. Without a doubt, visible characteristics such as race and sex surely contribute to one’s image, but they in no way capture it in its entirety. Upon conception, we are all biologically pre-assigned certain attributes that help make each of us distinct and contribute to our image, but (fortunately) God also gives us the tools and freedom to design and define the rest! Whether through fashion, makeup or hairstyle, for the most part you can determine the aspects of your “visible” image. That’s the easy part; however the single most important factor that influences our “real image” is what we feel or believe to be true about ourselves. I am reminded of a quote from my favorite childhood movie, Tim Allen’s The Santa Claus, which says, “seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing.”

As I hop-scotch into womanhood with as much class as clumsiness, that quote helps me develop a deeper understanding of both image and perception. I often receive comments on my poise, beauty, and style, and I would like to believe that people are responding to the positive feelings I have about myself. This internal identity is a sort of second layer to any day’s outfit. It’s as if I am wrapped in feelings that exude from my sub-conscious to the surface, and it is my job to keep those feelings filled them with light. Think about it, have you ever seen someone in a basic white tee and jeans and thought, “wow, they look stylish” or “that looks effortless?” Chances are you could see the same look on someone else and the “it factor” you saw before could be noticeably absent. While there may not have been anything particularly special about the actual articles of clothing, the wearer’s personal feelings of comfort and style were on full display.

Here is the point: Drape yourself in self-confidence each and every day! It never goes out of style. Your golden qualities, what makes you truly beautiful, is often nestled just beneath the surface. Most of us are taught not to accentuate them, but they are always within you–stretching, running laps, waiting for you to feel, release and let them shine for others to see. You were born beautiful; believe it. You were born stylish; show it. You were born loving; be it. You were born enough; remember it. You have everything you need, now it’s up to you to decide: what kind of image you want people to see. Once you know; feel, believe, and be THAT. There is a magnetizing power in recognizing your unique beauty.

A #Beautyfullreminder: “You were born beautiful; believe it. You were born enough; remember it.” -Maura Washington

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Maura Chanz is a Spelman student, multimedia enthusiast, giving a voice to multi cultural brands through creativity. Instagram: @MauraChanz