I know that when a lot of us think of October (at least as far as holidays go), Halloween is what immediately comes to mind. But did you know that it's also National Pizza Month and National Emotional Wellness Month? Or that October 1 was National Hair Day? Some other unique days to acknowledge include National Stop Bullying Day (October 9), National Curves Day (October 10), National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day (October 15), National Black Poetry Day (October 17) and, a personal favorite, National Chocolate Day (October 28). But out of all of the days that are getting special shout-outs this month, I think the one that I appreciate the most is today—National Inner Beauty Day.
Let's be real. In a world of selfies, filters and fillers, it's not like the media—or society at large even—makes it a point to drive home the point that, no matter how much time, effort, energy and coins that we put into adorning our outer appearance, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter all that much if our inner beauty isn't all that, well, beautiful.
And even though your mama, granny and auntie probably told you this about a trillion times while growing up, did you ever wonder what "inner beauty" is actually referring to? In a pretty cool article that I read on the topic of inner beauty vs. outer beauty, the author said this:
"Inner beauty does not only have to be about loving what you're born with but also about what you are like as a person. Inner beauty is your intelligence, hobbies, aspirations—mostly what made you into who you are. It is also about the choices you have made in your life, your childhood dreams, how you are as a company."
To me, that speaks to two main things—our personality and our character. And yes, it is truly wonderful that there is an entire day set aside for us all to reflect on and then celebrate what is at the very core of our being.
So, no matter what else is already on your to-do list today, start (or finish) your Monday off right by focusing on what makes you the rare and awesome person that you are. Make sure to honor what exists even without any make-up, push-up bras or red bottoms. Love on what makes you truly shine—your inner beauty.
Inner Beauty Is Your Personality
"Your smile is your logo. Your personality is your business card. How you leave others feeling after an experience with you becomes your trademark."—Jay Danzie
"Personality" is the kind of word that a lot of us use, even if we can't concisely explain what the word means.
Basically, your personality is the various traits and patterns that cause you to think, feel and act the way that you do. It is truly the fingerprint of your being.
It's also the kind of word that garners all sorts of adjectives including—ambitious, funny, smart, snarky, creative, introverted, extroverted, reliable, compassionate, optimistic, spiritual…you get the gist.
One of the reasons why it's so important to figure out your personality and then protect it is because the more you know about what makes you unique, the more you come to understand that 1) probably not everyone is going to "vibe" with your personality which is totally OK, and 2) the things that you like about your personality, you need to nurture; the things that you don't, you can make adjustments to. Just make sure that you always keep in mind that personality speaks to individuality and that's something that you should love on, not downplay. Today or ever.
How to Celebrate Your Personality
Take a personality test (or series of tests).
One way to celebrate your personality is to get to know it better. Personality tests are a tool that can make that possible for you. When I took a (free) one on 16 Personalities, it told me that I was a "protagonist". When I read its breakdown of why, it made complete and total sense. Personality tests are cool because it can help certain things about you that may initially seem unclear easier to understand. Once the light bulb turns on, that can make it easier for you to settle into your own skin more.
Schedule a standing pampering appointment.
What does pampering have to do with your personality? Girl, a lot. I'll give you a personal example. I consider myself to be a creative. Mine is in the lane of writing more than anything else. And since I'm constantly hacking away on my laptop and I'm always looking at my fingers (and toes since they are usually propped up), a mani/pedi appointment, at least a couple of times a month, is something that I am totally unapologetic about. It's my way of not only giving my hands and fingers some extra special attention, but my nail tech is always rolling her eyes because she knows I'm going to come up with some crazy way to decorate my nails too. It's a way of having fun with the very things that work so hard to help me to fulfill my purpose.
So yeah, thinking about parts of your personality and what you can do to pamper some of your favorite traits is also a great way to celebrate your personality and inner beauty overall.
Buy yourself something that expresses your personality.
I say it all of the time. I am definitely a walking human billboard; tees are sho 'nuf my thing. Fairly recently, I purchased a shirt (shout out to The Trini Gee and all of her crowning wokeness) that has a picture of some freed slaves on it with a caption underneath that says, "stereotyped as lazy ever since we stopped working for free". It's a bit shocking and direct. I have the tendency to be the same way, at times. Also, every year, I make a point to purchase a piece of jewelry with a stone or crystal that represents my focus for the next 12 months. It's another way to express my personality.
Another thing that you can do to celebrate your own personality is to think of what colors or gemstones or items that you can customize that will distinctively convey who you are without saying a word. After all, one's style is one of the best ways to exude their personality, no doubt.
Throw a "Let's Celebrate Ourselves" party with some friends.
While you're out here celebrating your own personality, how about taking a moment to reflect on the fact that you've actually got people in your life who complement your individuality and that you are able to reciprocate that energy right on back to them? If that ain't worth sharing a bottle of wine, a dinner or something, I don't know what is!
If you do decide to throw an impromptu "Let's Celebrate Our Own Damn Selves" party, something that could be cute is for each of you to be assigned a friend. Then think of a personality trait that best defines them, get a small gift that exudes it and have them guess what trait the gift reflects. Having a party that is all about how dope you and your friends' personalities are? Can it get any better than that?
Inner Beauty Is Your Character
"Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God."—I Peter 3:3-4(NKJV)
I know, right? Did you peep how the Bible put inner beauty right out there on front street? For the record, this doesn't say that there is anything wrong with caring about your appearance or adorning yourself. It simply says that it shouldn't take precedence over your heart and spirit. And, it shouldn't.
Whenever I think of character, I think of the quote by Paul Rabil that says, "Character is what you do when no one else is watching." Indeed.
What folks post on their socials isn't automatically or necessarily their character. What they are willing to do without an audience or if they knew there would be no consequences for their behavior? That is the core of their "moral or ethical quality".
And yes, that too is a part of what comprises our inner beauty (or inner ugly, if we're not careful). Character is what beckons us to mature, be self-aware and act like responsible human beings. Now, how in the world do you celebrate that part of you?
How to Celebrate Your Character
Treat yourself for doing something that stretched your character this year.
Something that someone in my world used to say all of the time, whenever I would ask her how she is doing is, "I'm building character." I don't know what 2019 did for you, but what it did for me was show me how to take ownership for my actions while not allowing others to manipulate me for theirs. As a result of being able to do that, I've been able to make peace with some folks who I used to be anything but peaceful with. And chile, that stretched me so much that you better believe I'm going to celebrate the growth!
Along these same lines, think of an area of your life where your own blood, sweat and tears have helped you to become a better and stronger individual. Whatever that is, do something special to commemorate it. Any time we "build character", that is worthy of recognition and jubilee—a few times over.
Find a motto, quote and theme song for your life.
I need to get a T-shirt made that says "B-Side" on it because I'm the girl who likes the songs that never becomes singles. Take Brandy's unreleased track "Freedom" for instance. There is something about her singing/saying, "Free to run on the water/Free to believe free to love/Free to speak that mountain off the ground" that hypes me up every time I hear it. A self-made motto that I live by is "Love is a gift, not a bribe." (Some of y'all will catch that later.) A quote that is a foundational truth in my life is a Leo Buscaglia one that I try to "sneak into" copy as often as I possibly can:
"As soon as the love relationship does not lead me to me, as soon as I in a love relationship do not lead another person to himself, this love, even if it seems to be the most secure and ecstatic attachment I have ever experienced, is not true love. For real love is dedicated to continual becoming."
For me, all three of these things speak to true inner freedom which is what I desire to have a lot in this particular season of my life. As you're thinking of ways to celebrate your character, what are the mottos, quotes and songs that "trigger" you in the best ways possible?
Get yourself a new self-help book, journal or Bible.
At the top of the month, singer Erica Campbell was on The Breakfast Club. A part of what she talked about was her new book More Than Pretty: Doing the Soul Work that Uncovers Your True Beauty. When she was asked about why she believed that the book was needed at this time, one of the things that she said was it was all about "Being honest with the good and bad of you." Seems to me that her offering is right on time for what we're talking about.
Why not gift yourself with this book, some other self-help book, a new journal or maybe even a new Bible? Sometimes, the best way to honor your inner self is to seek out books and tools that will help you to dig deeper into who you are and what your inner being truly needs.
Set a Fruit of the Spirit goal.
Let's end this on a spiritual high note. Whether you are a Bible follower or not, the characteristics that make up the Fruit of the Spirit are divine and purpose-filled ones. According to Galatians 5:22, they are "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control". Something that I do every 16 months or so is pick one of these traits to "grow up" in. This year, it was peace. Next year…maybe gentleness. We'll see.
As I wind all of this down, in honor of strengthening your character and becoming even more radiant as it relates to your own inner beauty, consider also being more intentional when it comes to learning about love, joy or (have mercy) self-control. A Latin-American actor by the name of Dolores Del Rio once said, "Take care of your inner, spiritual beauty. That will reflect in your face."
Y'all, inner beauty is better than any lipstick, eyeshadow or anything else you could put on. Let today be a reminder that if you take care of your inner beauty, your outer beauty will take care of itself. Happy National Inner Beauty Day, everyone!
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