All right, so a couple of days ago, we started talking about appearance.
Cliff Notes: The way you look isn't the most important thing, but it does matter. The way you look can really affect how you feel about yourself, and that makes a big difference in your behavior, your attitude, and what you put up with. Being attractive, however, doesn't mean being perfect.
Now, back to the girl I was telling you about. The one who thinks she's not pretty/beautiful/cute/attractive/"hot" enough to be loved in a dating relationship. Maybe you know someone like her. Maybe you are her. Maybe you're dating or married and secretly still feel that way.
First of all, who told you that you're not beautiful? If it was your friends, the people you spend the most time with, well, maybe you shouldn't be spending time with them. A beauty tip here and there is one thing, but you should spend time with people who fill you up with truth, not people who drag you into self-doubt.
Maybe it was someone closer to you- a parent, a sibling, maybe even a spouse. Hear me- those words they spoke to you were lies. You're incredibly loved, were incredibly created, and are beautiful for who you are.
You've probably heard something like that, followed by the words, "on the inside." And yes, hopefully you truly believe that you're beautiful on the inside, because you are.
But you're also so beautiful on the outside.
Let's start believing that, too.
You Were Marvelously Created
"Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them."- Genesis 1:26-27
"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them." - Psalm 139:13-16
First of all, we need to remember this extremely important point. God made us in His image. In the very image of the most high God, the very definition of Beauty, we were created. We were formed by a God who loves us incredibly.
Hating my short toe (yes, I have a short toe) is the same as hating God's creation. Of looking at this gift of a body that He gave me and saying, "Well, I like some of it... but..."
It's a hard thing continually see ourselves through God's eyes- on my bad body-image days, I re-read these verses and try to rest in them.
Pinpoint the Issue(s)
Honestly, we all have parts of us that we're not thrilled about. Some of those "issues" will stick with us for life, and sometimes the things we don't like will change.
Seven years ago, my height was the biggest issue for me. I never really even thought about my belly (cuz I didn't have one) or my skin (which was great at the time). Now, I couldn't care less about my height, besides the fact that putting 30 extra pounds on five feet looks like a whole lot, and oh my goodness hormones and my face! Ugh!
What do you see as an "issue" with your body?
Generous love handles and break outs, while they're the "issues" right now, don't take away from the good. And on that note:
Emphasize the Good
There is something you like about your body. There is.
I like my eyes, and my ankles. (Random?)
The key is to emphasize the things I do like (we're talking more "eyes" than "ankles," here), which will detract from the things I don't like (my awesome adult acne.)
I would really suggest this book- Bobbi Brown Teenage Beauty.
(Full disclosure, this guy is an affiliate link. But at one cent per book? Just buy it.)
I know, it says "Teenage." But trust me, here. My mom bought me this book when I was in late high school, and I still read through it on occasion. If ya haven't heard of her, Bobbi Brown is a make up artist, and a darned inspiring one at that. I love this book for the "how to emphasize the good" tips- and since I don't like wearing a ton of makeup, the tips are good ones.
Discover What Makes You Feel Beautiful
We all do something or wear something that makes us feel beautiful.
Maybe it's a certain outfit, or playing a certain song on the piano. Maybe it's taking a long bubble
bath, or wearing fuzzy socks. Maybe you feel most beautiful when your toenails are painted, when you're taking pictures of sunsets, when you sing "Be Thou My Vision" at the top of your lungs while folding laundry. Whatever.
Just figure out what it is, and make time for doing it. Finding little moments of beauty in ordinary days helps to fill up your soul.
Take Care of Yourself
Sleep enough, drink enough water, eat good-for-you food, wash your face before bed, move around enough. The way your body feels can really make a difference in how you feel about your body, and taking good care of yourself may even help with some of those issues we talked about earlier (hello, extra 30 lbs). Some things may not really change, but your perspective will.
This one's a doozy.
It's easy to compare my body with that model. Or heck, even with my friend Meri who is tall and lanky and built for running long distances. Short squat me ain't got nothin' on her.
But that girl whose curly hair you're envying? She's probably wishing it was straight like yours.
Because that's how we are. We often envy what we don't have, no matter what we do have. Human nature and all. It's hard, but try not to compare yourself to other people. (I'm talking beauty here, but we'll get into this topic more later on--- Update: More about Comparison in this post here). You are you. No one else can be you- and you can't be anyone else.