I don’t know why I keep feeling led to tell the world my deepest, darkest secrets and insecurities but a conversation with friends prompted this thought and here we are again.
When I was younger I didn’t think about my looks. I don’t know of many kids on the playground who were worried about their hair or what those scarred knees would look like in the future. At some point that changed. All of a sudden your physical appearance is IMPORTANT. People are commenting on your height, weight, figure, skin, smile, and every other attribute under the sun. As my body grew, I began to not like what I saw. It wasn’t from comparison to others or media, not from pressure from society or family, but from a discontentment inside of myself with what I saw in the mirror. It was early on but I decided that I was ugly and nothing anyone could say could change that. My self-image was severely distorted and while I would concede moments of prettiness, on the whole I saw this in the mirror every day.
My mind was my refuge and I used it well. I read and studied to become an excellent student. I put no effort into my physical appearance because I was sure I would fail. I didn’t feel like I had anything to offer there but I knew I was smart. If someone dared to try and compliment me I would reply with everything I hated about myself. From my forehead to my toes I had complaints and would pound the offending ‘nice’ person into submission. You don’t call me pretty and get away with it….yes I was that delusional.
Eventually I let my guard down a little and men came around. I still didn’t like what I saw in the mirror but decided that although I may not be beautiful but I could be sexy. It didn’t require beauty but a little more effort on my part. Less clothes, more make up- less of me, more of what you want to see. All I have to do is scroll the wrong way on my FB to see some of these pictures. I keep them to remind myself that the girl I see at the bus stop or the mall used to be me.
I got a lot of attention at the time but I never felt comfortable. I knew I wasn’t being myself but I would use the atmosphere and alcohol to mask it. I had a hard time connecting to people because I was so busy trying to keep up the appearance of enjoying myself. How could I be sure that anyone attracted to me was there to get to know me or for a better view of what I was showing off? This isn’t a debate on what is sexy, slutty, or anything in between- I knew my reasons for dressing and acting like I was and it had nothing to do with self-confidence.
I took this hidden insecurity with me well into my twenties. Even when I rededicated my life to Christ I still struggled to see myself the way that God saw me. He calls me wonderfully made and beautiful and His precious daughter. I couldn’t believe God for everything else in my life and still see myself so low. I started to read and speak these scriptures to myself. I asked God to truly show me how He sees me.
There started to be times I would look in the mirror and not recognize–not because I started doing anything different but because I was only beginning to see myself. I saw how I would exaggerate my features when describing myself. The harmful thoughts that seemed to constantly float in my head started to be replaced with thoughts that encouraged me and helped me see myself the way that God sees me. And it is not over! Changing my thinking is an every day endeavor. I have to remind myself when I start to feel down that God thinks I am awesome–He made me special for such a time as this so stop doubting myself.
I hope I haven’t made this sound easy because it’s not.