The internet is a twitter (pun very much intended) lately about modesty. The argument, it seems, is over self-esteem and insecurity. Some would say we should learn to love our bodies for what they are, and show no shame in showing them off. We are all beautiful. Others would say that true self-esteem is learning to respect our bodies by practicing modesty, as truly secure people do not require the extra attention to make them feel good.Our current culture objectifies women (and even men). We are forced into believing, because of the constant bombardment of images of “beauty”, that physical beauty is a valuable asset, worth paying money, and sacrificing anything to achieve. People want to be noticed. It is human nature to want to be noticed, to be seen, to be admired. Society teaches us that beauty is something to be admired, to be noticed, to be idolized. So therefore, it is human nature to desire beauty.
But, does physical beauty make us beautiful?We encourage self-esteem in young girls by telling them “you are more beautiful than you know”, as if that makes it all OK. We are telling young girls, you just don’t realize what beauty is. We are telling young girls that the “problem” with them is not a lack of beauty, but instead an inability to realize how beautiful they are. Physical beauty is still something to be valued or desired, and every girl is beautiful “in her own way”. It keeps us all admiring the idea of being beautiful. For many, we will never feel beautiful “enough”. This idea in and of itself perpetuates the idolization of beauty. The problem starts and ends with the idolization of beauty, and the human tendency to desire admiration.
What we should instead be saying to young girls is that you are so much more than just beautiful. You are loved, you are valued, and you are respected. Beauty is a perception, an emotion. Beauty is something that you feel. Beauty is something that you give. Beauty is a reflection of our soul. The beauty of our bodies will fade away, but the beauty of our soul will last forever.
Instead of teaching young girls to appreciate the things that make them physically beautiful, we should inspire them to live more modestly by choice, not because they should not flaunt their beauty for fear of ogling eyes, but because it is the first step in promoting a culture that does not admire physical beauty above all else. The desire for physical beauty is an extremely selfish, and ultimately fruitless one. We should instead teach girls to care more about others than about themselves. To inspire them to see the true beauty of the world. Teach them to desire to BE beautiful, instead of desiring to LOOK beautiful.
Beauty is nothing more than a concept. A concept in which there is no meaning without a frame of reference.
“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” -1 Peter 3:3-4
True beauty is love. God is love. Beauty is God. God created beauty so that we may see Him in our everyday life. God gave beauty to the world so that we may experience him in everything we do. God created beauty in the intricacies of everyday life.We need to learn to accept that we are human, and that means that we are not perfect. We were created in the image of God, thus we strive to achieve all of the perfection in which He is. It is, and always will be, human nature to desire perfection and beauty. Deep down, even if on an unconscious level, we all desire to be loved and admired. In today’s society, we are taught that the only way to be loved and admired is to be beautiful.But that is not true. We are loved unconditionally, and very much admired. We are loved by God, even when we do not love Him. God does not love us because we are beautiful. We are beautiful because He loves us. God doesn’t love us because we are deserving of love. We are deserving of love because He loves us.
To appreciate true beauty, is to understand true love, and to learn to truly love ourselves.