“Do not be shaped by this world; instead be changed within by a new way of thinking…” – Romans 12:2 (NCV)
The incredible response from my MLK tribute inspired me to write about the dreams I am fighting for. A goal I’m setting out to accomplish is the chance to empower and inspire women to find, cultivate, and cherish their identity. If there is one thing I am deeply disturbed about, it’s how much the media puts an emphases on outer beauty.
Everyday, women all over the world are comparing themselves pictures of unrealistically thin girls, who tell us that the key to being beautiful is to live at the gym and eat celery for breakfast. And then we are told by popular magazines that the answer to finding pleasure in life is to disrespect our bodies by throwing ourselves at men and constantly changing our self image. This game only continues further as we watch advertisements display women as sexual objects; nothing more than items of attraction. And while we say that all these pictures, articles, and advertisements don’t really effect us, I am skeptical to believe such a claim because of how I often I hear women minimize their self worth because they don’t seem to measure up to the media’s standard of beauty…
You wanna know a little secret? The media’s standard of beauty is actually a pretty low standard. Did you notice in my list of scenarios above, these images and ads, which are constantly thrown at us every single day, are subliminally telling us that in order to achieve success, we need to lower our personal standards of self worth. In order to achieve attention and popularity, we need to lower our morals and values. In order to achieve beauty, we need to lower our selves to a place of discomfort, because beauty means pain… right? Well, actually no. Because when we lower ourselves to a place of pain for the sake of beauty, we actually gain nothing for ourselves and fall into the trap that the media wants us to succumb to. The media wants us to believe that we are inadequate. Why? Because feeling inadequate simply means we feel insufficient; not enough. And when we start to believe that we ARE “not enough,” then we begin to think that we need whatever the media is selling in order to satisfy our deepest desire for wholeness (more on this idea of “wholeness” in a later post).
True beauty is simply being true to who you are. Once you realize your identity, your outward appearance, the way you carry yourself, how you dress, and your lifestyle choices will start to reflect you. The media tells us that our outward appearance dictates who we are on in the inside. But you know what I’ve discovered from seeing other women live according to their identity? They have a high standard of beauty for themselves. They don’t settle for less than who they know they are and were created to be. They stop comparing themselves to what the media throws at them because they truly understand that they are wonderfully beautiful, 100% unique, and completely adequate in their identity.
So I want to encourage you, if you’re reading this right now and know you have fallen into the media’s trap of lies, come out to the light. Experience the freedom of living by your own standard of beauty– a beauty that is not measured by your outward appearance but by the condition of your heart. Don’t lower yourself to standards of inadequacy. You were designed for more than that. Set standards for yourself that are high and realistic. Standards that are higher than the media’s standards. This is not a bar you set so high that it becomes physically impossible for you to achieve. No, exactly the opposite: a standard in which you can achieve daily. It needs to embody a standard opposite from what the media tells us: a standard where you stand firm in your morals and values; a standard where you are secure in your own, unique body; a standard where your self worth is not compromised, but rather boldly revealed. Let’s become a culture of women who rise above.
“Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” – 2 Corinthians 7:1 (NIV)
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