Finding and learning how to recognise true feminine beauty is something both men and women can benefit from. Craig Wilkinson offers his perspective on why women are often so challenged when it comes to self-acceptance and self-love.
The feminine soul is one of the greatest treasures of the universe. Its beauty has no equal. Yet like all treasures of great value it has enemies. Two beasts in particular attack the heart of a woman’s beauty and femininity; the first is the lie popular media perpetrates about her beauty and the second is the wound to her feminine soul that the men in her life inflict on her, at times unknowingly, at times deliberately.
The lie is that the only real beauty a woman has to offer is the way she looks and that only a few lucky women are gifted with beauty. In our highly eroticised world where the body of a woman is idolised and her mind and soul devalued, women grow up believing that the only beauty worth having is what they can present in a bikini or wrap in a skirt. With this lie as the premise of their understanding of beauty few women feel they have true beauty. How can they live up to the photo shopped images of perfection on daily display in multiple forms of media? And so they live with a secret sense of inadequacy, doing whatever they can to make themselves beautiful but inwardly sensing that they will never quite make the grade.
The truth is, the beauty of a woman is far deeper than skin, and every women has a beauty to offer. The core of a woman’s beauty is her feminine soul. The way she looks is just one expression of this beauty. When all the attention is placed on a woman’s physical looks her inner beauty is devalued and will begin to shrink and hide, feeling it is of no consequence. A woman was never meant to be loved purely for external beauty, she was meant to be loved for all of who she is, and if the inner and outer get separated a great union is lost and the body and soul become strangers or even worse, enemies. The interplay between a woman’s inner and outer beauty should be a dance of love, the one an expression of the other. The most radiant a woman can be is when her heart and soul are loved and the full beauty of her feminine soul is expressed in her eyes and demeanour and the way she presents herself to the world. That is true beauty.
The second beast is the wound inflicted on a woman’s soul by men. Not all men are guilty of wounding and not all women have been wounded by a man, but enough have to name it as a major assault on the heart and soul of women. The most powerful man in a young girl’s life and therefore the one in a position to cause her the most harm is her father. From this incredibly privileged position a father needs to love, nurture, validate, affirm and protect his daughter, leaving her in no doubt that she is and has beauty of great value. He needs to demonstrate to her the value of femininity by his actions and attitudes to her mother and other women.
Because of his importance in his daughter’s life a father merely has to fail to do these things to wound her feminine soul. Far greater wounding is inflicted if she is abused in any way, physically, sexually or verbally. For any man to abuse a woman is a despicable violation and for a father it is the vilest possible betrayal. When a young woman is assaulted by the beast of masculine abuse, either through passive neglect or active abuse, she grows up with a deep wound to her feminine soul. And this wound negatively affects the way she sees herself and lives her live. She may be blind to her own feminine beauty and live apart from it, sometimes assaulting it further by failing to nurture it or even actively sabotaging it. She may fail to value her femininity, seeing it only as a tool to be used for getting love. She may spend her life constantly feeling unlovely, striving to make herself attractive but seldom feeling she gets it right.
When a woman doesn’t believe she has beauty she loses touch with it, failing to nurture it and unwittingly allowing it to shut down. When a woman believes her looks are all she has to gain a man’s affection she detaches her physical beauty from her inner beauty and some of the essence of
her soul is forced into hiding, feeling lonely and unvalued even while attention is lavished on her. Many a woman retreats into a life of functional service; hiding her feminine soul in a shell of competence, allowing society’s written roles for women to bury her feminine essence under a pile of duties and chores. She becomes a mother, employee, wife, boss; doing the things her role dictates but ignoring the passionate cries of her feminine soul. She forfeits her beauty for duty.
Any true man will do everything he can to rescue and protect women from the assault of the twin beasts. Sadly many men are caught up in battles of their own and unwittingly confirm the lies and deepen the wound. Men are often unconsciously scared of the heart and soul of a woman. It is far easier to focus on her looks which can be assessed and criticized, touched and made love to. But the soul of a woman is an altogether different proposition. It is a place of mystery and beauty and it takes a courageous man to enter in. Its depth and intuition is a place where the fears and insecurities of a man can easily be uncovered. And so men avoid venturing into the soul of a woman for fear of what might be exposed in them, not realising that the unwrapping of their masculine soul in the nurturing depths of the female soul is a far greater gift than mere physical intimacy can offer. It is so much easier to strip off our clothes and leap into bed with a women’s body than strip off our fears, pride and need to control and leap naked into the beauty of a woman’s soul.
In spite of the best efforts of the beasts, Eve still stands. And more than stands, she shines. She continues to love, and give, and nurture and heal; she inspires and creates and gives to our world a beauty and magic that we could not survive without. How much more could she be if men who have been the beasts become the protectors and defenders they were made to be.
Every woman is beautiful. Sadly not every woman knows that she is.
As men we need to wage war against the lies that keep women blinded to their beauty and we need to lay our lives on the line to stop the abuse of the magnificent gift the feminine soul is to the world. We have the power. We have the choice. Only when we stand up and become real men and real dads will our daughters, our wives, our sisters, our mothers, our lovers, our friends, our companions, our colleagues, be free to be all they were made to be. Beautiful. And free.
Craig Wilkinson is the Author of “DAD – The Power and Beauty of Authentic Fatherhood” and founder of Father A Nation (FAN) an NPO that works with men and fathers. Details of their work can be seen at www.fatheranation.co.za; and www.thedadbook.co.za.