Your Reflection in the Mirror Isn’t Your Identity


Have you ever looked in the mirror and thought to yourself “
UGH!”?

I know that I have.

I remember the first time that I saw the movie Princess Diaries and the thought that I sometimes felt like I could relate to Mia Thermopolis. Big hair that can’t be easily tamed is real, girl. One morning before school, she looks in the mirror and says “as always, this is as good as it’s going to get.”

I feel your pain, sister.

That was often my mindset—well, except for the fact that I always wanted my reaction to my reflection to be better. I wanted to be prettier. I wanted my hair to look less frizzy and more beautiful. I wanted boys to like me and actually pursue me. I wanted to feel like I was worthy.

Here’s what I didn’t understand, though: I was already worthy just as I was.

It’s not necessarily always an easy truth to accept, although it should be. I feel like it should be pretty simple—my worth is not found in what I look like or how many guys are interested in me; it’s found in who I am in Christ. I could have the frizziest hair in the entire world (and that’s probably sometimes fairly accurate) and still be just as valuable as the days when it’s actually presentable. The point is that it’s not what you see in the mirror that determines who you are—it’s what’s in your heart.

I’m sure that you’ve heard the expression “it’s what on the inside that counts,” and you might roll your eyes and think that people usually only say that about other people they think aren’t very attractive or when they’re trying to make sure that others don’t develop shallow mindsets. Sure, it’s a trite expression, but it carries such tremendous truth. It truly is what’s inside your heart that makes you beautiful.

But, of course, we women typically want to look attractive. Here’s my suggestion to you: Stop focusing on all of your flaws, and start embracing what makes you uniquely you. When you look in the mirror, don’t focus on the zit in the smack-dab middle of your forehead. Instead, compliment yourself on your remarkably captivating eyes or your contagious smile.

Rather than looking in the mirror and telling yourself that “this is as good as it’s going to get,” remind yourself that you are full of beauty and worth every bit of love there is in this world—you are enough, now and always.

When the Swimsuit You Bought Doesn’t Look Like It Did on the Model

Swimsuit on modelI have an unfortunate habit of shopping online for clothing. This is unfortunate because oftentimes that means that when clothing arrives, it doesn’t look quite like it did online or on the model.

I’ve noticed that when I shop online at certain stores, I almost always end up drawn to clothing worn by the same model. Over and over again.

And over and over again, these clothing items arrive, and while they may look decent on me, I’m always disappointed when the items don’t fit quite like they do on the model.

The thing is, we have to be realistic about our body types. It’s not just a weight or muscle tone issue. Women have different figures. Even if we were all standing next to one another with identical fat and muscle percentages, we’d all still look pretty different. We hold weight in different areas, are taller and shorter, have longer legs or longer torsos—there is so much variation to be celebrated!

Yet, sometimes, we can get too stuck idolizing the type of body we want. In my case, I finally realized that no matter how “in-shape” I get, it just isn’t physically possible for me to look like this lengthy, lean model whose clothes I keep buying. I just don’t have the same body proportions as her, but that’s OK.

There’s a freedom in coming to the realization that you can never obtain what you think is the “ideal” figure. And the other good news? Everyone has a slightly different opinion of what that is! Some may wish they had Beyoncé-type curves. Others wish they were as thin as Emma Watson. Some may wish they were tall like Taylor Swift, while others wish they were more petite like Rachel Bilson.

This all ties in similarly with our recent blog post about beauty standards—we all may wish we met some ideal standard of beauty we’ve created in our heads, but there are so many different ways to be beautiful! The same can be said of our figures.

I’ve found over time that the only time I’m ever really content with my body is when I regularly work out and eat right. I don’t even have to lose weight or see muscle definition; I just need to know that I’m doing something healthy and beneficial for my body. That’s when I feel my best and begin to feel comfortable being in my skin.

It’s during the times when I neglect my body that I start to wistfully wish I looked like the American Eagle or Adore Me swimsuit models whom I so often buy clothes based on.

Years ago, while skimming a tabloid at the supermarket as a teen, I read something that truly stuck with me and changed the way I thought about my own body.

It was a quote from a very thin (and small-chested) actress who encouraged young girls to embrace their bodies. She made a comment about her smaller bra size and said something along the lines of how she finally realized that, since she is smaller than most girls, she can wear things they can’t. She may not have a so-called enviable chest, but she could wear dresses with more daring necklines than girls with larger bra sizes. This helped her feel happier and more confident with the body she had.

It was a great reminder that there are always pros and cons to every body type. Even something you may believe is a negative can actually be a positive if you think about it differently.

Ladies, embrace what you have. Take care of yourself, and watch your confidence grow. Soon you’ll be happy in the skin you’re in!

 

Do you have an area of your body that you wish were different? In what ways may others actually envy it? Trust me, someone probably does. The grass always seems greener.


 

Different Types of Beauty and Impossible Standards

Mirror Selfie. Beauty.Ladies, take a moment to picture your celebrity crush. See him?

I bet if we polled all of our readers, most of you would have thought of someone different. Some may have pictured Chris Hemsworth, others may have pictured one of the other four Chrises (Pratt, Evans, and Pine), and others pictured a variety of other famous good-looking (or maybe not so objectively good-looking) men.

Oftentimes, we can get very stuck in our heads wishing we looked a certain way. We wish we had thicker hair, smaller pores, a tinier waist, taller legs, etc.

Sometimes we get it into our heads that there is a specific type of beauty standard we need to meet, and many times this can look like a specific celebrity.

Growing up, I loved Keira Knightley. I thought she was so beautiful in Pirates of the Caribbean and Pride and Prejudice. One day, while watching behind-the-scenes extras on the Pride and Prejudice DVD, I heard Keira mention how she always got in trouble on set for pouting. This was apparently just her natural state, but her character demanded a sunnier disposition.  

Well, since I thought Keira was gorgeous, and I hoped to look like her when I grew up, I began adopting this pouting habit. Years later, I realized that my now resting b**** face—as the kids call it—is purely a result of a young and more impressionable me creating a standard of beauty I hoped to meet.

I’d like to tell you that I grew out of these habits. I’d like to tell you that, by my college years, I had realized that just because Taylor Swift had bangs did not mean I should. Yet, here I am at 24, and I still consider bangs anytime I see a particularly good photo of Taylor with them.

When we set these standards of beauty for ourselves, we set ourselves up for disappointment every time we look in the mirror. No matter how much I pout, Keira Knightley will not look back at me in the mirror. No matter how I style my bangs, Taylor Swift will not look back at me.

But there’s a great realization to be had here. Just as we will never look like Keira or Taylor, they can’t ever look like each other, either. And why would they want to? They are both gorgeous women in their own way—just like you and me.

Just like we all have different celebrity crushes, there are so many ways to be beautiful.

Plus, those Chris Pratt fans don’t just love him for his looks, but for his humor. It’s not Keira’s pouting that makes her beautiful; it’s her feminine, thoughtful, and spirited personality that shines through her smile. It’s not Taylor’s bangs, but her sweet, genuine hopefulness that made the world fall in love with her so many years ago.

Next time you look in the mirror, instead of finding a way to be disappointed, remember that there are Chris Hemsworth crushes, and there are Chris Pratt crushes. There are Keira Knightley good looks, and there are Taylor Swift good looks. None of that takes away from the others’ beauty.

And nothing can take away from yours.



Pretty Little Lies We Tell Ourselves


We live in a world of pretty people—just look around you, and you’ll see a lot of beautiful faces on television and online. The striking images we see can not only leave us staring in awe but can also cause us to create lies in our heads about our own appearances.

Beauty has always been a pain point for me because I’ve always felt like I lack it. I was never among the pretty girls in school, and the fact that guys never seemed to be attracted to me surfaced insecurities that a confident person like myself never thought she’d have.

Here’s a truth that you need to hear and that I need to hear: You are beautiful as you are. It doesn’t matter if your hair isn’t perfect (meet the frizz queen over here), your skin isn’t blemish-free (I thought adults never get zits, but I was definitely wrong), or the person you see in the mirror has what you consider to be flaws (I could list off plenty). That mirror is only a reflection and doesn’t actually reveal anything about who you are. You are beautiful. Declare it, and believe it.

I’d like to take you back to a moment I experience at a sixth-grade dance that left me feeling like the ugliest girl in the gym that night. I was standing with my best friend, who had just told some boy who wanted to dance with her that she would only dance with him if his friend danced with me. What I saw happening before my hopeful eyes was that boy literally dragging his friend across the floor to come dance with me. My heart sank and then shattered into thousands of tiny little pieces. He didn’t even look at me or talk to me the whole time we were dancing.

And I told myself that it was because I was too ugly.

I didn’t go to drastic measures to try to make myself look like a beauty queen after that (I still don’t wear makeup, other than lipgloss); rather, I chose to convince myself that I simply wasn’t pretty enough for guys to be interested in me. Ladies, please don’t let the enemy get in your head like that. I would love to trade all of the years and painful emotions spent telling myself that I’m not even close to beautiful for years of self-assurance. It’s still a struggle sometimes now, and I wish that it weren’t.

You know the scene in Mean Girls when Regina, Gretchen, and Karen are standing in front of the mirror pointing out all of the things they think are wrong with their bodies—and it seems to be something they do on a regular basis? Don’t do that. You’re worth more than a skewed reflection.

I know that it sounds trite to say that beauty is only skin deep and that it’s what’s inside that matters, but it really is true that beauty of the heart outshines anything that will ever look good enough to post on Instagram. And just because guys or other girls don’t fawn over your looks doesn’t mean that you aren’t stunning in your own way. Boldly walk with your head held high with the confidence that you are beautifully and wonderfully made, and you will turn the right head when the time is right. Write it on your mirror, say it aloud, and believe it with all of your heart.

You are beautiful.

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