“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” is a very familiar quote to me.
I’ve had my share of battles with the meaning of beauty – be it physically, mentally, or emotionally. Growing up, I felt that I was never affirmed of my own ‘beauty’ and the only way I gauged my own beauty (which I equated as self-worth) were by the praises of people around me and attention from boys (you read correctly, boys, not men).
To make the long story of my journey thus far brief – the long battle with the perceived definition of beauty physically was against the media’s standards. We all know that people appearing on TV screens, fashion magazines or billboards mostly have flawless skin, prominent features, perfect body proportion, ideal body weight, and toned abs. I was far from that (still am) and tried various kinds of diets.
To add salt to the wound, the reality of life affirmed the distorted perception with interactions with church guys who would joke about my height – being a petite (under 5 feet) with no consideration whatsoever about how I felt. It didn’t help also when I had to choose corporate attire when most of the sizes are pretty much for the “standard average height”. They thought that their jokes were funny and cute, but far from it. I thought it was disrespectful.
Although I was not obsessed, the perceived standards set by the media affected me. I was unhappy on the inside and looking back, if I had a better perspective, perhaps I could have been more happy and less hard on myself. It would have been easier also if someone, especially an older women, had counseled me. Boys at that age are just being idiots and also learning a refining journey. Well, we can’t blame them, can we? My suspicion is that women from the baby boomers generation are battling with the same thing themselves.
To say that I did not compare my physique with other girls/ women around me would be a lie, and I used to blame God for making me ‘this way’. How I thought about myself had affected how I feel in general. I felt that, no matter what I did, I would never ‘measure up’ literally and figuratively. It was very tiring.
However, as time went by, by the grace of God and with great people around, coupled with a few more years of wisdom – I’ve learned that with ‘men’ (i.e., human beings), you will never be enough. But with God, on the very first day, I am already enough. I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).
I no longer think that Psalm 139:14 is a Christian cliché anymore because it is a known fact that every single human being on this earth has their own insecurities, physical insecurities included.
The main thing in life is to be the best that you can be whether it is physical (health, fitness and appearance), career goals, relational goals and even spiritual development. We owe it to ourselves to live the best we can because we only have one life to live. I resolve to build a healthy biblical perspective about beauty and intend to pass that on to the next generation.
So, what have I done to improve my quality of life? Basically, I’ve adopted a renewed perspective on body, mind and spirit-man. These are my 3 keys to beauty:
Physically: I made it my goal and discipline to work out as much as I can to improve my fitness and achieve a toned body (note: a toned body, not a skinny body). I would be conscious of the type of food I eat, how it made me feel after that and be mindful of my meal portion. Balance is key.
Mentally: I daily remind myself of my focus to stay fit in order to function better and effectively, and hope to stay in shape (or better) as I grow older. I can confidently testify to you that the only way that a Christian woman can grow in her faith and spirituality is by the reading of God’s word. The best selling book throughout the centuries. Yes, it’s the Bible.
Emotionally: Through many days or night of tears and frustration, the Lord has taught me to appreciate how He had created me and helped me to comprehend with a deep conviction of my identity in Him. With the firmer foundation of my own identity, I am able to respond to those jokes more graciously. Firstly because I no longer need their approval (or the world’s). Secondly, to joke about others is a reflection of the other person.
My dear friends, our physical body will continue to waste away until the day we return home to our Lord Jesus Christ. The Scriptures say that we will be given a new body (1 Corinthians 15:35-55). So why waste so much of our earthly time to focus on something that is not of eternal value?
If you are reading this and you are not a Christian and think that you cannot relate to my statement, perhaps allow me to challenge you to think of living a meaningful joyful life in the long run. Choose positive values and filter messages that place ridiculous standards upon you. Don’t be deceived by ‘power’ of Photoshop!
One last thing that I’d like to encourage us all. When we stop focusing on ourselves but start adding value to others, you will find that beauty is truly skin deep.
Hello, my name is Timmie and I’m from Malaysia. I am a lawyer by profession. I am a charismatic, passionate person and enjoy beautiful things in life such as travelling to different cities to appreciate the culture. I love fashion and appreciate ‘coffee time’ with people to talk about life and build meaningful relationships. I’m passionate about the things of God, the Church and authentic leadership. My deepest desire is to embrace all that God has called me to be and be a blessing to whoever that God has placed in my life past, present and future. Our God is a GREAT God, and the best is yet to come !🙂