In my spare time, as many other college-age millennials, I scroll through Instagram. On my feed I see a variety of things, such as fun posts from friends and classmates, cute animal posts, and updates from my favorite bloggers and celebrities. The moments they’ve captured are simply beautiful. Perfectly-timed candid photos of thousand-watt-smiles, carefully posed bodies wearing outfits straight out of an Urban Outfitters catalogue, and picturesque backgrounds dominate my screen. I “double tap” their photo, pushing their likes well into the hundreds. As I do so, I can’t help but wonder: What about me? Do I look that good?
Later, I look at myself in the mirror located in the women’s restroom in the fourth floor of Kenan Hall. The outfit I meticulously picked no longer looks quite as cute as it did when I left my house early in the morning, my skin now looks ruddy, and my curls have fallen. A fellow woman stands beside me in the mirror and suddenly, thoughts permeate my head: “I wish I looked like that, her nose is so much cuter. Her body looks better in that than mine ever would. Her smile is so much nicer. I wish I could change.”
Unfortunately ladies, I feel that this mindset is a trap many of us fall into. (Heck, I do it all the time.) We have the desire to be the most attractive, stylish, and charming person in the room. Many times, we feel that our worth and our popularity is defined by how we look and dress rather than our hearts and our characters. In reality, however, the most important thing about us isn’t how straight our teeth are, isn’t how much acne we do or don’t have, isn’t how trendy our clothes is, and isn’t whether or not we skipped out on mascara in the morning. Rather, it is how we treat others, respecting those around us, and pouring our hearts into the things and people we care about, whether it be hobbies, clubs were in, our faith, what we’re majoring in, our significant others, and our friendships.
While I understand that we are not all Christians, I feel that the Bible offers something wonderful about this.
“...for I am fearfully and wonderfully made...” (Psalm 139:14a, KJV)
All of us have quirks, insecurities, and things we are self-conscious about. However, we must remember that we all were created as beautiful individuals with intelligence, big hearts, and compassion for others. We were made with a purpose: to be kind to others, make a difference in a field we’re passionate about, and treat people with respect. The parts of ourselves we should work on are on the inside, not on the outside.
Don’t fret if you don’t look like the most popular girl in your sorority or some celebrity, celebrate yourself and remain kind to others, because true beauty doesn’t come from looks. It comes from being a beautiful person on the inside with a loving, patient heart.