I am sharing the following personal story in hopes that it will help someone who may be battling with the same problem.
If you are familiar with old fairy tales (or Disney movies) you will know about the wicked queen in Snow White. The Queen has a magic mirror that she looks into on a regular basis and asks “Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?” And of course, the mirror tells her that she is the fairest.
I have been looking into mirrors since I was a little girl and never once was I told that I was the fairest. To be honest, I don’t think I would believe the mirror if it did. I have never really liked my looks.
I don’t know where the insecurity first came from but I do remember it being re-enforced during my childhood and early teens. My nose turns up at the end so “ski-jump” was a frequent name for me. As I grew older, I heard “gorilla legs” for my hairy legs (my Mom didn’t let me shave them), and “itty-bitty-titties” for – well, you know. And then there was the humiliation of frequent bouts of cold sores, (eewww – she’s got herpes!!)
I HATED having my picture taken but my Mom used to love to creep around with her camera as she tried to get “candid” shots. I have a photo of a Christmas dinner at my grandparents in which I am positively sneering (I think I was growling at my Mom with her #$%^* camera).
As I was very insecure about my looks, and thus my “attract-a-guy” abilities, I thought that the only way to get attention was to put on a “Sexy – Susie” routine. Anybody who tells you that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach is lying. Did you ever see a picture of Julia Child on the cover of a Vogue or Sports Illustrated magazine?
There were times where I thought I might have attained some level of “lookin’ good” but they never lasted long.
As I approached middle age, I felt the very definition of “frumpy”. My self-confidence took a huge hit when my first husband left the marriage. The icing on the cake was the 12″ surgical scar snaking across my abdomen after having kidney surgery.
Our culture is terrible for “judging a book by it’s cover”. Every type of media promotes the idea that beauty is what counts. We’re led to believe “If you’re beautiful, you’re popular”; “If you’re beautiful, you’re successful.”
I am now in my early 50’s, and by the grace of God, I am finally beginning to shed the stultifying trappings of a poor self-image. One of my greatest weapons in the fight against “the ugly duckling” syndrome is my wonderful husband. He is constantly complimenting me and showing me that he thinks that I am beautiful. In turn, I am learning to believe in and accept his compliments. I am beginning to see myself through his eyes.
Now when I look in the mirror, I think that my nose is kinda’ cute and adds personality. I have nice naturally white teeth (the better to smile at you my dear). My eyes often sparkle with humour and mischief. I have smile and laughter lines (no – they’re not wrinkles!) And my “itty – bitties” have become a somewhat voluptuous aspect of what my husband calls “an hour-glass figure” (I’m hoping he means 1 hour and not 24), which he says is his favourite shape. As for my snaking surgical scar, he tells me that it represents a battle won and is part of my life story.
My other weapon is the Word of God. Instead of looking at ourselves through the critical looking glass of our culture, we should look at our reflection in the mirror of God’s Word. In it, we will find descriptions of true beauty and lasting loveliness. In it, we will see how God sees us in Jesus Christ. In His Word, we will see how much He loves us and how important we are to Him. Through understanding God’s Word, we will see that the world’s concept of beauty truly is only skin deep.
Pro 31:30 Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears Jehovah, she shall be praised.
God does not determine a person’s worth based on their physical appearance; He looks at what is really important – a person’s heart.
1Sa 16:7 … For man looks on the outward appearance, but Jehovah looks on the heart.
Mat 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart! For they shall see God.
Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things!”
I pray that you will find your beauty in the eyes of God. I hope that you will begin to see yourself as He sees you – through the eyes of love.
Psa 139:14 I will praise You; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are marvelous and my soul knows it very well.