Tag Archives: self-image

Loved One

Sometime in the last year or so I read an article floating somewhere on the internet that talked about how we shouldn’t compliment very young girls with words like “pretty girl” and such, because then, somewhere in their psyche, they will think they have to be pretty to be appreciated, loved, and accepted.

 
I’m not sure how much I buy that, though I know that at some point in my childhood I definitely adopted that mentality.  That I had to be pretty, I had to be skinny (well, or at least, ‘normal’ – which I was not) for anyone to actually love me.   Being the child who saw things from a long-term viewpoint rather than just this-minute, I assumed this meant that I would never marry, since I would never be pretty, thanks to my extra serving of body curves.  Or, if I married, it would be a man who was a widower, and needed help raising his children.  No joke.  That’s what I assumed.

 
Which is heartbreaking, looking back.  I want to take young me, pick me up, cuddle me, and whisper truth into my younger ear.  But I don’t get that chance.

 
All that to say, I’m pretty hyper-sensitive to body-image remarks by women (or men) about themselves and others.  I’m also hyper-sensitive to comments that articles like the one I read make.  They stick with me now.
 

There is a little toddler that I babysit fairly frequently.  She’s absolutely adorable.  Blue eyes, curly hair, and the happiest, brightest smile that is reminiscent of a buttercup (that’s a flower for any flower-ignorant people out there).  She is toddler-gorgeous.

 
And while I tell her this fairly often (because I do think it’s necessary – girls NEED to hear they are pretty) I also make a point of complimenting her in other ways.  The endearment I try to use most often is “Loved One” – because that is exactly what she is, by me, by those around her, and especially by her parents.  And nothing can change that.  And there is nothing she can do to earn more love – or to lose it (not saying that she can’t make loving her harder or easier, because that is possible).

 
And so, if the names we call children when they are very young CAN take root deep inside them and help show them how to see the world, the name Loved One hopefully shows her how very un-dependent others’ love for her is based on her looks, or intelligence, or achievements.  In fact, others loving her, or her value, or her worth is dependent on nothing save her simply being her.
 

This hit me hard when I first started calling her Loved One – because I think that’s how it works with us and God.  Our value, our worth, our identity, God loving us, is dependent on NOTHING we do.  In fact, it’s simply because God made us, and we are who we are that gives us value, worth, identity, etc.  I wish I had realized that as a young girl, and especially as a teenager.

 

You are loved by God and others around you simply because you are you – not because of what you do or how you look.  Just keep bein’ you.  It’s the best gift you can give the world.

 

(Assuming, of course, that you bein’ you is a you that is striving to become more like the you that God envisioned when He made you.  I think that’s kinda incredibly important.  Of course, you can’t do that either without Him and accepting His love for you.)

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Filed under Personal Image, Self / Emotions, spiritual life

Unseen Beauty

13.08.08 - hairbells!

If you know me, you know there are a few subjects I can get, um, let’s go with “passionate” about.  One of them is a woman’s beauty.  Maybe because while growing up I would look around at all the girls my age and wish I was as beautiful as them (I couldn’t be beautiful because of my curvy body that refused to fit into social norms, no matter how little or how healthfully I ate – or  how much I worked out).  I could see the beauty in each and every woman and girl around me, and I longed to be as beautiful as they.
Now, eventually, I have been able to gain a more healthful attitude on this issue, and thanks to God and some persistent, kind, honest friends, I can see my own beauty.  But I still see the beauty in every other woman, and it breaks my heart when they can’t see their own.  Or when they downplay it because they don’t fit into a certain jean size, or their skin has developed wrinkles, or they have freckles, or their hair color isn’t blonde (or brunette or glorious red).  I hate that!
I told one of the girls in my youth group a couple years ago that if I could give my life for the women of the world to see their own beauty and value, I would.  And that’s still true, but I’ve learned something since then.
You aren’t going to truly be able to see your own beauty, if you don’t know how Christ sees you.  It’s confusing and makes no sense, I know, and I’m not completely sure why this is the case, but it is.  And, unfortunately, it’s one of those “constantly work on” things.  It CAN go away if you don’t guard it.  You have to know how much God loves you, treasures you, and how you look through the lens of Jesus in order for you to see your own beauty.  Otherwise there will always be a flaw or someone prettier (thus rendering you not pretty) or aging that will bring your beauty into question in your mind.  That’s just how it is in this cut-throat, beauty-defiling world we live in.
And, as I have been discovering, once you know how God sees you, what He thinks about you, you can learn to love all the bits and pieces of you – the insecure bits, the scared pieces, those things you see as flaws (freckles or snorts or a temper).  And, the amazing thing is, generally, once you learn to love a specific bit of yourself, than that flaw no longer has power over you, and no longer can be used to whisper lies into your ear.
So, want to feel comfortable in your skin?  Want to feel beautiful?  There is absolutely nothing YOU can personally do about it.  So start praying that God, in His timing and His way, will start to show you how He sees you.  And then, that will be all that matters.
And that, Ladies (and Gentlemen) is beautiful.

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