Ultraviolet light is invisible to the eye. The frequency of its wavelengths is so fast that the eye doesn’t register its existence. “Ultraviolet” is also the name of a song in one of my favorite romantic comedies, which is how the word first made its way into my life outside the classroom. But to understand the importance of ultraviolet light in my life, first I have to rewind to middle school.
In eighth grade, two years after my family made the life-altering decision to move to the United States, I was hit by a staggering feeling of my own imperfections. The feeling soon wormed its way into my everyday life, following me like a storm cloud wherever I went. I began to believe that everything that went wrong was inherently my fault, and so I started overthinking everything that I did. Nothing ended up the way it was supposed to, and this made me feel even more like an outsider. This feeling spread like mold throughout me for much of high school.
Then the song “Ultraviolet” came along. After watching the romantic comedy in which the song is featured, I began to think about why Robby, the love interest of the movie’s protagonist, would write a song about her in which he likened her to the “invisible” light, ultraviolet. This took me a while to work out. After a week of listening to the song on repeat, I came to the conclusion that her light—her good qualities—were difficult to see on the surface, but brilliant when looked at through the right lens.
I was unable to see my own positive qualities, and had not been for a while, but maybe I needed to look through a new lens.
I began to think about this, and I realized that it could also be true for me. As someone who grew up going to the Christian Science Sunday School, I had learned about divine Love and reflection. God is divine Love and we are Love’s reflection—“the image, of Love” as Mary Baker Eddy wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (p. 475). And because God is perfect, we must also be perfect as His image.
I was unable to see my own positive qualities, and had not been for a while, but maybe I needed to look through a new lens. I saw that by switching my perspective to God’s view, which includes only perfection, I could see my positive, spiritual qualities—my real identity as God had created me.
I began to do so, but it was difficult at first. I took to writing “ultraviolet” on the inside of my wrist so it would be there to remind me when I needed it. This habit shifted to writing other inspirational quotes on my hand—Bible quotes, quotes from Science and Health, and lyrics from songs that inspired me.
Any day that I had trouble with the way I was viewing myself, one of those quotes would come to my rescue. At one point, I spent an afternoon looking through the Bible, finding passages about beauty and perfection. I wrote these on my bathroom mirror so that every time I looked in, I would be reminded of God’s view of me, rather than a flawed view of myself.
One passage that was meaningful throughout this whole experience was: “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48, English Standard Version). For so long, I had been blaming myself for things that went wrong because of what I perceived to be “my” imperfections. But I began to recognize that if God is perfect, He couldn’t make one defective child. I started countering these negative, self-critical thoughts with the truth of this passage, and gradually they lost their power over me.
It took a while to find my own “ultraviolet light” and to let it shine. But now that I have seen it, I know I can never lose the vision I’ve gained of myself by looking through the right “lens”—getting a glimpse of who I am as spiritual, unlimited, and perfect.
I still write quotes on my hand every now and then to remind myself of the infinite light I reflect, and which I have to give. They remind me that as I continue to see myself correctly, I can become a force for good in the world, recognizing myself and others in all our brilliant light.