I’m part of an amazing female group on Facebook; in which women share their mind on topics like faith, relationships, purpose, and other things.
One morning I was scrolling through that group looking for motivation and inspiration when I saw a post that broke my heart.
A young woman was asking us to pray for her because she had been struggling with accepting herself. According to some disgusting human being; she was ‘ugly and unattractive’ and would never be in a relationship or find love because of it.
I was furious and couldn’t believe what she has experienced in her life. I left her a concerned yet uplifting comment while struggling to hold back the tears in my eyes.
You might wonder why I’m so emotional that I would start crying over somebody else’s situation. Well, first of all, I’ve always been sensitive and can barely keep myself together when I watch scripted movies. But this story is real which made it even worse.
I felt hurt and angry for the girl that was told such a lie about herself. At the same time, I understand why some of us may believe that we are unattractive.
In a world where photo editing apps, butt injections, and skin-lightening creams dominate our lives it’s no wonder that many of us feel self-conscious. We are constantly bombarded with beauty ideals that take after Victoria Secret Models, Kim Kardashian look-a-likes or video vixens.
We believe that we are sexier if we have a big butt but no waste. More beautiful if we have the perfect skin tone (whatever color that might be). And more desirable if we have lush long hair (that can easily be curled or straightened).
Perceptions of beauty that the media feeds us daily, with no scientific or logical proof to it.
Now the question is who says that XYZ feature is more beautiful than ABC feature? And why do we care?
In order to find that out, I want to look at the following three lies we’ve been told and the truths we need to internalize.
There is a standard in beauty
The world is made up of 194 countries with more than 7 billion people on it. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise to us that every country, culture, and race has a different perception of beauty.
Whereas in most European countries a tooth gap is considered unattractive, some African countries see it as a sign of beauty. While in the past women would use make-up to cover up their freckles, lately it has become a trend to draw freckles on faces.
So, whatever you might view as hideous about yourself might be regarded as pretty in another part of the world.
Yet we are wired to believe that there is only one standard of beauty. And that is whoever has the most likes, appeared in the latest issue of Vogue magazine or has been crowned sexiest woman alive.
Instead of buying into these unattainable titles we should focus on the truth. We can find it in one of my favorite verses in the Bible in Psalm 139:14:
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well.
Guess what Ladies! We come in all shapes, sizes and skin complexions and it is our differences that make us beautiful.
What is even better is that God intended us to look different from each other (except for twins I guess). He takes great pride in each of us, because he carefully created us, so we should too.
When we learn to accept our uniqueness, without conforming to a standard that only a small group of women can achieve, we will understand that there is no norm in beauty. We can’t all be beautiful to everyone, but we are all beautiful to someone.
Outer beauty vs. inner beauty
I personally don’t consider ‘you are beautiful’ to be a great compliment. This statement merely describes an outward appearance for which most of us cannot take any credit #Igotitfrommymama.
Of course, I look after myself, take a shower and brush my teeth. Occasionally I even put lotion on (rarely but sometimes). But besides maintaining a face and a body that has been passed down one generation to the next I don’t see the compliment.
And quite frankly if after an hour-long conversation, the only compliment somebody can come up with is ‘You’re beautiful’ then I failed.
For me, a real compliment is when you appreciate a character trait that I actually had to acquire or describes my personality.
Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.- 1 Peter 3:3-4
Here the Bible says that instead of measuring beauty on our outside appearance and looks we should be concerned about our inner qualities.
Even the most popular supermodel can have great hair and make-up (a glam squad can go a long way). But if she is rude, impatient and dishonest her inside is rotten ugly.
True beauty is found in the way we behave around people and how we choose to love others. That’s why, we should focus more on our inner beauty, which will then shine through.
What guys like
Unfortunately, if you didn’t go to an all-girls school, you most likely learned to value a man’s opinion very early in your life. Maybe you even consider their opinion to be more important than your own and look for validation by our male counterparts.
I remember just a few years ago I read a book called ‘why men love bitches’ (I know I know but before you throw stones let me explain). The book used personal stories and funny quotes from guys to teach women how to be the boss in a relationship. And I was hooked!
Because people always told me that I was too nice, I naturally thought being bossy would help.
So, I learned everything that was mentioned in the book and put on this ‘bitch’ persona. I was hoping that it would make a guy appreciate and respect me more (LOL just thinking about that makes me laugh).
Of course, it didn’t work because I was a fraud. I wanted to be what guys liked so bad, that I practiced not being myself.
Embrace your identity and purpose in an age of confusion and comparison. – Lisa Bevere
It’s tempting to care about what a man thinks about our looks, our style, and our personality. But ultimately, it’s a total waste of time. We are the ones that have to feel comfortable in our skin.
Therefore, we need to focus on what we like and what we want. The process of discovering and appreciating our identity shouldn’t be clouded or impaired by a guy’s opinion.
By embracing our own natural beauty, we actually do ourselves a big favor and weed out the guys that aren’t for us anyway.
I really pray that none of us will doubt their beautiful self again, but if you do, remember:
Love yourself, girl, or nobody will – J. Cole