The quest for beauty is a multibillion dollar business. A product. A tool. An object of our desire. As women, we are very drawn to our beauty products and regimens. And yet, we look in the mirror and are still disappointed at the reflection.
Ultimately, we fail to see our true beauty….because true beauty can’t be bought or sold. Beauty is transcendent.
Beauty is one glorious way in which women are distinctly created to image our Heavenly Father. We have no means to manufacture or manipulate the essence of beauty. It’s our gift from God.
But we unknowingly reject it.
Women are in a spiritual and cultural war with our bodies and our self-image, evident since the Fall. The evil one is quite aware of our true beauty. He literally hates women and does all that he can to thwart our discovery of who – and WHOSE – we truly are, the crown of – and the most beautiful of – God’s whole creation.
We don’t know our true beauty. We don’t know the Father’s unfathomable love for us. And we don’t fully trust Him or His love for us. We don’t believe we are a reflection of Beauty Himself.
We look in the mirror and we are disappointed – even loathing what we see, or what we believe we see. We see wrinkles, blemishes, cellulite, a hair color that we don’t like, a body shape that disappoints, and generally all manner of imperfection. The list could go on for days.
We make self-deprecating comments about ourselves as part of our everyday language, so much so that we don’t even recognize it. We hear it everywhere, all the time. And, truthfully, I catch myself doing it as well. (By God’s grace, I’m coming to a greater understanding of the essence of Beauty through the richness of the Catholic faith, and the beautiful work of St. John Paul II on the dignity of women.)
Distorted ideas and beliefs about ourselves and our true identity as women can go desperately awry and lead women into painful, full-blown psychiatric disorders such as body dysmorphic disorder, as well as various eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, and the lesser known but evermore widespread orthorexia. Literal self-hatred turned inward and directed towards our bodies – our beautiful bodies which reflect our very person….
How about the changes our bodies undergo in accordance with the various seasons of our lives as women? It’s quite common in our culture that many women (and men) have unreasonable expectations that a woman’s body will remain essentially the same over the course of time. Without an understanding of our true beauty, the reality of the changes that progress over time can become a source of anxiety, depression, and disorders of distorted body image. Whether it’s an obsession with “getting back to my pre-pregnancy body after the baby is born”, or having the delusion that our after-50+ bodies will look like (and respond like) our bodies did when we were in our 20’s….well, you get the picture. Perhaps a more attainable goal – a more pure, truly “beautiful” intention – as our lives move forward would be aimed towards maintaining a healthy body fit for serving our God, our families, and our world in accord with our age and station in life.
To what are we comparing ourselves when we form the opinion that we are somehow less than, or inferior to, someone else’s beauty? What standards, ideas, or past hurts/traumas do we have in our heads that distort our beliefs about ourselves, causing lies in our hearts about our beauty, from which vows emerge about how we will address these “imperfections” through all manner of body-altering products, fads, and even permanent surgical alterations? Does the end that we are seeking result in true beauty? Does it really, meaningfully “correct” what we believe or perceive is not beautiful?
If you’re like me, you want to know what true beauty is, and not follow untruths, distortions or lies that manipulate and disappoint.
Today, former America’s Top Model, Leah Darrow, speaks with us about “True Beauty”, and shares how we as women follow the standard of our cultural ideas about beauty (as she once did, and still has to guard herself against), and redirects our hearts and minds to the love of God Our Father Who created us in love, for love, and Who made us a reflection of His own Beauty. There, we find joy and peace in the transcendent beauty of our creation, untouchable by any human standard.
Leah also offers “killer” beauty advice on her website HERE🙂
LISTEN TO THE SHOW: