I recently had a conversation with a friend and we were trying to remember the age we began to feel self-conscious. When did we start thinking differences between peers were something negative rather than something unique? When did we start comparing ourselves to others in a way that created self-consciousness and desire for something other than what we are? What age were we when we started to think that we weren’t enough?
This video is so beautiful and so simple. The complicated answers of adults juxtaposed against the simple answers of children when asked, “If you could change one thing about your body, what would it be?” stirs something inside of us. For me, it was nostalgia for the innocence I remember so clearly from childhood. It was nostalgia for the younger Katie that looked in the mirror to make silly faces rather than to count supposed imperfections.
In our world, there is a definition of beauty. There is a culture of comparison that stems from the indoctrination that beautiful is a certain body type with certain proportions. There is a false standard of how we should look that is truly unattainable and when we fall short, we are left feeling inadequate and unlovable.
The video asks us, “when was the last time we were comfortable in our own skin?” Or really, when was the last time we realized our own worth through the eyes of God? When was the last time we saw ourselves through His eyes of mercy, compassion, and all encompassing love?
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We saw that it is easy for a child to be comfortable in his or her own skin. Maybe it’s because it’s easier for a child to accept a love that is “just because”. They understand that we don’t have to earn the Father’s love. We don’t have to have a smaller forehead or ears, lose ten pounds, or be taller or shorter to receive the love that is given freely, just because. In reality, He wants us now. He made us in His image and likeness, and loves us more tenderly and fully than any love we have ever experienced.
This video is a great way to talk about how our culture’s definition and pursuit of beauty is not holistic and therefore confusing. It stops at our skin and doesn’t call us to look beyond the surface to the beauty that is within all of us.
Here is an excerpt from Jacques Philippe’s book Interior Freedom to reflect upon and use for further discussion.
“Only under the gaze of God can we fully and truly accept ourselves. We need to be looked upon by someone who says, as God did through the prophet Isaiah: ‘You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.’ (Isaiah 43:4). Consider a very common experience: a girl who believes she is plain (as, curiously enough, do many girls, even pretty ones!) begins to think that she might not be so frightful after all on the day a young man falls in love with her and looks at her with the tender eyes of someone in love.
We urgently need the meditation of another’s eyes to love ourselves and accept ourselves. The eyes may be those of a parent, a friend, a spiritual director; but above all they are those of God our Father. The look in his eyes is the purest, truest, tenderest, most loving, and most hope-filled in the world. The greatest gift given those who seek God’s face by persevering in prayer may be that one day they will perceive something of this divine look upon themselves; they will feel themselves loved so tenderly that they will receive the grace of accepting themselves in depth” (35-36).
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