All I could see were my flaws. How could I ever like the way I look?
Every society around the world has its standards of beauty. When we don’t/can’t conform to them, we may be left feeling inadequate. I have fought the battle with my bathroom mirror for most of my life. From a young age I became acutely aware of what I should look like and even more aware that I didn’t hit the mark. Dieting, exercising, and scrutinizing every curve became a normal part of my life.
As I grew and matured, I compared myself to my peers constantly, trying to find myself on the beauty scale. I was always too tall, my hair was too curly and thick, my waist was too big, there was a gap between my front teeth—and that was just for starters.
The latest fashions never fit my body like they did the mannequin at the store or the model in the advertisement. I tried all the fixes—diets, exercise, different hairstyles, fashion tips and tricks of the celebrities, beauty products advertised on TV and in magazines—yet my body still refused to transform into the “ideal.” When I realized that I would never reach my society’s standard of beauty, feelings of insecurity grew and my self-esteem plummeted. The mirror remained my enemy. Little did I know I was succumbing to one of Satan’s best-laid plans of attack. As a result of the War in Heaven, he (and his followers) lost the opportunity to ever receive a body. He is intensely jealous of those of us who do have one. Using every resource in his power, Satan tries to make us hate, mistreat, and even loathe our bodies, “seek[ing] that all men might be miserable like unto himself” (2 Nephi 2:27).
Does It Matter to Him?
“Do you suppose it matters to our Heavenly Father whether your makeup, clothes, hair, and nails are perfect? … Do you think outward attractiveness, your dress size, or popularity make the slightest difference in your worth to the One who created the universe? He loves you not only for who you are this very day but also for the person of glory and light you have the potential and the desire to become.”
Satan has taught the world to believe that our bodies are merely packages—ornaments that must conform to specific proportions, shapes, and sizes—and that these determine our level of happiness, success, and worth in this life. He also advocates that we use any means available to measure up to the ideal, no matter the cost.
It wasn’t until I looked to the Lord and His word that I began to find peace in this area of my life. One day I read a verse in the book of Mosiah that quoted Isaiah, referring to the Savior: “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him. … He was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Mosiah 14:2–3). I realized that although Jesus Christ was not widely accepted by those around Him, His understanding of His worth came from His relationship with the Father and doing “always those things that please him” (John 8:29).
Beauty is mentioned several times throughout the scriptures. From what we read, it is clear that the beauty we need to focus on most comes from within and is created through the development of Christlike characteristics. The closer we come to being like Christ, the more beautiful we will truly be. True beauty is defined as holiness (see 1 Chronicles 16:29) and salvation to the meek (see Psalm 149:4). The Lord also says of those who share the gospel, “How beautiful upon the mountains shall they be” (1 Nephi 13:37). And Zion is called “the perfection of beauty” (Psalm 50:2). We know Zion to be “the pure in heart” (D&C 97:21). The Lord said about the Zion of Enoch, “They were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them” (Moses 7:18).
In this life our spirits are housed in imperfect, mortal bodies. They are, well, not perfect. They will age, develop wrinkles, probably accumulate a few more pounds than we’d like; they’ll sag, the hair will go grey—or may fall out. Our bodies will eventually wear out and die, no matter what we do to try to stop, delay, or cover up this process.
However, these bodies that we have been given can be the source of our greatest joy on this earth. Through the gift of our bodies we can walk in, talk about, see, smell, or hear all the wonderful creations of our Heavenly Father. In partnership with Him, our bodies are the means of bringing new life to this earth. We must hold in deep reverence and respect these gifts we possess, the combination of which is a sacred temple.
When we look in the mirror noticing all of our “flaws”—the freckles, the short legs, the long nose—we need to remember who created the person we see reflected back at us. We should rejoice in our individual beauty and remember that we are God’s children and that He loves us. He created us in His image for specific and divine purposes. Keeping this in mind will help us do all we can to take care of our bodies, present our best selves, and then love what the Lord has given us.
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