I’d started to notice that a lot of my friends at school were unhappy with their bodies and very self-critical. Even young women whom I considered to be incredibly beautiful weren’t seeing themselves that way, and that made me feel that there was no way I could possibly be beautiful, either. I began spending a lot of time looking at various forms of social media and comparing myself to the women in the pictures and ads I was seeing. My self-esteem plummeted, and I was feeling constantly unhappy with the way I looked.
No matter what I did—the clothes I wore, the makeup I put on—I struggled with the way my body looked. Whenever I looked in the mirror, I made lists of all the things I wanted to change.
Eventually, I became so fed up with these feelings that I decided to call a Christian Science practitioner for help. I knew I needed to get a different view of myself—a spiritual view, which would show me my worth and beauty as God’s daughter.
One of the first things the practitioner shared with me was this passage from the Bible: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Matthew 6:28, 29). This really comforted me, because it helped me remember that everything about me was designed by God, and if our Father-Mother created things as beautiful as the lilies, then I couldn’t be any less beautiful.
I worked hard to stick with this idea, and I felt so loved and comforted as I thought about it throughout each day. When suggestions came to me that I wasn’t attractive or couldn’t be happy with the way I looked, I would instantly correct them with the truth: that every idea of God is beautiful. I would reverse any negative thoughts about myself or others, remembering that just like the lilies, we don’t have to work to be beautiful. It is naturally what we are as the expression of God—divine Love and Soul.
Instead of focusing on someone’s physical features, I began looking for the qualities of God that they expressed—qualities such as love, patience, and intelligence. I also thought a lot about the qualities of God that I could express each day, instead of focusing on the way I looked. Rather than measuring beauty on the basis of body shape or size, or other physical characteristics, I recognized beauty as an infinite quality of Soul, which we all reflect.
Eventually, the loving thought I’d been cultivating about myself and others became natural and consistent, and I recognized that my true beauty, and everyone’s, really is a spiritual quality, so it must always be present. I see now that I have so much more to give to the world than a certain physical appearance. The qualities of God I express are more radiant and beautiful than any clothes I could wear or makeup I could put on.
Originally appeared online in the teen series: Trending - September 14, 2017
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