By Christie Halverson
In this day and age of the selfie, we all undoubtedly have a plethora of photos of ourselves hiding on our phones. I myself have been guilty of snapping several pics in succession, trying different poses, and even (gasp!) puckering my lips into the dreaded “duck face.”
Which, for the record, looks ridiculous on everyone.
As I study the photos of my own face, I find that I am always immediately drawn to my flaws. I immediately notice the bags under my eyes and the wrinkles on my forehead. I hate the way one side of my mouth rises higher than the other when I smile. I have often wished for a different eye color or more prominent cheek bones.
Every time I catch myself falling into this trap, I try to remember exactly where thoughts like this come from. They do not come from a loving Heavenly Father who cherishes me and finds beauty in my soul; they come from the adversary.
After all, if your best friend showed you a photo of herself, would you immediately notice her flaws? Would you want to point them out to her as a helpful criticism? No, you’d be drawn to the beauty that she herself would be unable to see. You’d recognize the kindness in her eyes and the happiness she radiates. You’d celebrate and admire the unique qualities that make her who she is, rather than criticize her for them.
Why, my darling, beautiful, young women, are we so kind to others and yet so hard on ourselves?
I truly believe we see others with rose-colored glasses, yet we are completely unable or unwilling to turn them on ourselves.
As I’ve aged, I’ve gotten kinder towards my faults and failings. It took me nearly 40 years to be able to embrace my many freckles. Growing up, I hated them. I cringed when I looked in the mirror, and pined for a smooth, clear, freckle-free face. I experimented with dozens of different cover-ups and foundations in order to hide them. I spent at least eight of the ten years in my 30s Photoshopping them into oblivion.
Then one day I heard my own daughter complain about her freckles to a friend. Her words eerily mimicked my own as she mentioned with longing the desire to have her freckles disappear.
It made my heart sick to hear my words echoed in her own. I vowed that day to be different. I made a silent promise to at least pretend to like them, and was determined to vocalize it frequently when she was around. Kind of the whole, fake-it-until-you-make-it-mentality.
Over time, I realized that I stopped noticing them in photos as much. I began to leave them alone in Photoshop. I gave up my search for the perfect cover-up at Sephora and began to embrace them instead.
Truth be told, I actually kind of like them now.
It took me a long time to be able to like what I see in the mirror. I know it’s tough for you to do it, too. I know that you are bogged down with the world. You are constantly surrounded by images on social media, magazines and television that make you feel inferior. Every way you turn, there is someone implying that you aren’t good enough, smart enough, pretty enough.
These are lies meant to hurt you, to distract and detour you from fulfilling the measure of your creation.
Sister Elaine Dalton brilliantly said in the April 2010 General Conference, “Young women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, remember who you are! You are elect. You are daughters of God. You cannot be a generation of young women who are content to fit in. You must have the courage to stand out, to ‘arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations.’ The world would have you believe that you are not significant—that you are out of fashion and out of touch.”
I am begging you to see yourself as we see you, and as your Father in Heaven sees you. You are beautiful and talented. You are kind and thoughtful. You can do something here that no one else can. You have a divine purpose and a plan here on earth. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Most especially yourself.
Dare to stand up and embrace what makes you, well, YOU.
Because being you is pretty darn fantastic.