It may be that my life mission is to answer, “What makes a woman feel beautiful?” 

At 62 I may laugh at my naivety for thinking I knew my life’s work. Yet for the last few years this has been the whispered question growing louder into a heartbeat with which I see the world.

I believe when a woman feels beautiful she is healed from the brokenness of this world, powerful, peaceful and inspiring.

A friend asked me this question recently and what came to me is I feel most beautiful when I’m comfortable.

In a skirt that isn’t too tight. With friends around whom I can be myself. Knowing my gent thinks I’m lovely sans makeup. Wearing my go to red lipstick. When the house is freshly cleaned and there’s flowers on the coffee table. Comfortable.

I’ve felt divine in an evening dress, or like I needed to suck in all night.

Pathetic for being in sweatpants or delightedly cozy.

Slightly anxious amidst a group of people, or deliciously at peace.

Insecure in a relationship or at home.

Some times my full makeup is dry and cracking, other times it’s bright and happy.

Some days my bare face magnifies dark circles, others it radiants confidence.

I’ve felt embarrassed and sexy at the exact same weight.

Beautiful isn’t in a certain style, size, season. It’s a choice I can make in my life daily.

Does this make me feel beautiful? This dress, not doing my hair, being around those friends, moving my body.

If not, what do I need to change?

Perhaps the pants should be given away, the cookie put down, the glass of rose picked up, the relationship allowed to fade, more intention put into seeing that friend.

It may be that I need to clean the house, clear the clutter, purge my closet. Or get my nails done, do my makeup slowly, take a walk.

Sometimes it’s buying new clothing. Making an appointment at the dermatologist to truly heal your acne, or with a trainer to start strengthening your body with accountability.

More often it’s  choosing to declare your life is beautiful.

Being cautious with your negative thoughts, self-critical words, downward spirals. Clearing out the too tight clothes for a smaller amount you feel truly comfortable in.

Wearing a jumpsuit to that wedding because the pleated waist lets you eat cake without sucking in and the pants mean you can be free on the dance floor. Cutting a striking figure at the ceremony in gorgeous heels, then cutting a rug all night in bare feet.

Catching the bouquet (who cares if you’re not single — free flowers!) and taking it home for a vase on your coffee table.

Beauty is comfortable.

Beauty is a choice.

Choose your joy.

This article was originally published on Dean Street Society. You can follow them on Instagram here.