I have never felt truly beautiful until this year. When my inner beauty and outer beauty finally matched. Every time when I say I am not that beautiful, it is quite interesting to see the look on people’s faces. They are kind of like, “Are you kidding?” No, I am not kidding or trying too hard to come off humble. My family was super poor, and my mom never wanted me. All my clothes were hand-me-downs from my older brother. I had pretty much zero knowledge about how to look good when I was young. My mom had very limited style advice. So, I was never exposed to fashion or beauty until I moved to Shanghai in my late 20s.
Below are a few old photos. The first one, I was 24 years old.
The second one was when I first got to Shanghai. I was 26 years old.
I always knew I had inner beauty, but I felt my appearance did not match. My best friend when I was in Shanghai was a very beautiful girl. Guys were fighting with each other to talk to her. I was the invisible one next to her, of course. LOL. It did not bug me at all. Because she had her way to get what she wants, but I have always believed that the best way to earn the life I wanted is through hardworking.
Later, I met my late husband in Shanghai when I was 30 years old. He was the first person to ever say I was beautiful. Of course, I didn’t believe him. For my whole life, I received compliments saying I was smart, hardworking, or nice. But BEAUTIFUL was foreign to me. I did not believe I was beautiful (or ugly). I felt I was a very normal, average-looking girl who blended in.
My man would say, “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.” day after day, and year after year. I told myself: This guy has such faith in me. I better not let him down, I can get my college degree, manage more than 100 people in a department, and run my business. I can find a way to make myself look and feel beautiful. To let my inner beauty shine through. So I started reading all kinds of fashion magazines. Watching YouTube videos to learn how to apply makeup and do simple hairstyles. I also learned how to dress tastefully. After a few years, there were more and more people starting to compliment on my style. All the nice feedback from strangers had given me the confidence to start my fashion blog.
Being beautiful inside and out, for me, is balancing inner growth and outer growth. I like to see my love of life shine through my appearance. My style and fashion help me to speak about my inner world. Looking and feeling beautiful has nothing to do with what others think. It is all about being comfortable in my own skin. A picture perfect look to please my own eyes or rocking a bare face while doing yoga to please my heart… Either way, I am feeling beautiful. Because I am on my way to being the best of myself.
Photo credit: Grace Liang/@anstam
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