Growing up, I just wanted to be beautiful, and live a life where people would constantly tell me I was beautiful. And to do that, I thought I needed the perfect full makeup routine, the perfect closed mouth smirk, and the trendiest clothes. I was constantly changing myself into what I thought was good enough to be beautiful.
It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I realized I liked makeup but didn’t want to wear much of it; I liked stylish clothes but hated shopping for them; and I liked the hair that grew out of my scalp more than the fried and dyed versions I had been trying mercilessly to lay down. I even recognized that it was okay to be comfortable, keep some things hidden, and have a smile that showed I was genuinely happy. I liked this more natural version of myself.
Then life happened. I got married and saw my newfound happiness turn into pounds that showed on my body in a way that was foreign to me. And birthing a baby four years later created another twist. It all took me to a place where I wanted different clothes, different hair, and a different me because I didn’t think I was good enough anymore. I told myself I needed to try harder to look the part of a young, fit, and stylish mom.
But recently, two songs reminded me that the natural me is still good enough. Their lyrics shook me, and echoed the words my soul needed to hear. And the videos brought me to tears.
For those of us who ever feel the need to turn back the clock and become a less authentic version of ourselves, Colbie Caillat uses “Try” to encourage us to love ourselves without the extras:
You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing
And for those of us who sometimes question our beauty when we’re in a relationship, John Legend’s “You and I” reassures us that we’ve still got it:
You keep wondering if you’re what I’m wanting
You don’t even have to try
You don’t have to try
You don’t have to try
The messages in both songs are calling on women who try so hard to hide their so-called flaws to accept their natural beauty, and understand the type of beauty it is: It’s a beauty that defies stereotypes. It’s a beauty that goes beyond size, hair, makeup, and fashion. It’s a beauty that transcends life’s changes. And it is one that always makes you good enough.
But in order to stop trying, it doesn’t mean you should never wear a face full of makeup, work to lose that weight you desperately want to get rid of, or wear those trendy clothes. It just means you don’t have to.