By: Helena Heffernan
Do you know that you are beautiful? Do you know that even if no one is saying it to you that it’s still true? Wait, you say you don’t feel like you are? Guess what? It’s still true.
As women we often define ourselves by how we think we are perceived by others. I lived this way for a long time. When I was younger, I thought because I didn’t have a boyfriend or was not being asked out that I was not attractive. I also thought that because I was not getting compliments from my friends telling me that I was cute, then I must not be. Once these ideas crept into my head, they took over how I viewed myself and I started walking around with a major complex. Later when I was rejected by crushes I was even more convinced that something must be wrong with me.
As I got older some of my friends who were in relationships confided in me that they too struggled with the same thing. They too felt that they were not beautiful. I was shocked! “But you have been chosen, how do you still not feel beautiful? You are obviously attractive”.
As women, we want to be chosen. We want to be told, especially by men, that we are beautiful and worth it. Why do we wait for men to define who we are? Why do we think we have to “feel” pretty in order to actually be attractive? Or that we have to hear someone say it in order for it to be true?
Let me first of all normalize this common struggle. Through our broken humanity all of us are our own worst critics. You are not alone in having self-doubt, in feeling ugly some days, or in wanting to change something you see in the mirror. It is also normal to want to be chosen and told you are beautiful.
Your beauty, and the awesome individual creation that you are, stands alone. You are who you are because God made you that way, not because someone says so. As a friend told me once when I was comparing myself to Taylor Swift, “God made your face and it is good.” Just because no one is choosing you, asking you out or telling you that you are pretty does not mean that you are not. These compliments or lack thereof do not change the amazing creation that you are!
Even if a man has told you differently, even if you have been rejected, that still takes nothing away from who you are. I still struggle with erasing the mean words men have said to me from my brain. Rejection hurts, but it does not define you. Just because someone failed to see or appreciate who you really are does not make you any less amazing. You are unique and unrepeatable. There is no one else like you! Our identity lies in Christ and who he says we are. And he says you are worth dying for!
Despite having knowledge of these truths I still have my hard days. God has healed me and helped me to realize I am his creation, but some days I remember the lies that have been spoken to me. The devil loves to drive these memories deeper and he tries to tempt me to despair or believe less of myself. I often have to remind myself that I am God’s beautiful creation and that I am worth it. Some weeks I have to say this over and over to myself. One helpful tip is to say out loud to a trusted friend the lies you believe about yourself. As soon as the words come out of your mouth you may realize how ridiculous it sounds or your friend may remind you how untrue those thoughts are.
You are no alone in your struggle to believe you are beautiful. This is a universal struggle for women.
Just because you have been rejected or you have never been chosen, does not mean you are not beautiful.
Your identity lies in who God says you are: his beloved creation.
When lies creep into your head say them out loud to a trusted friend.
Be of good cheer. This struggle lessens with time.