So there's this thing going on. Have you seen these videos on YouTube made by 10-year old girls, 11-year old girls, 12-year old girls, and older? They're filming themselves looking at the camera and asking the terrifying, heart wrenching question, "Am I pretty or ugly?" Searching YouTube this morning, I got about 415,000 results.
GIRLS. What. The. Snickerdoodle.
WHAT are you doing? To ask a billion strangers about your personal beauty is like walking into a cave of a thousand hungry bats with a dress made of plump, delicious mice. You are opening yourself up to attack—whether they're telling you, "Yeah, you're ugly!" or "You're just trying to get attention!" Those comments from strangers who could not care less about the fragile heart of a girl will leave gashes and rips in your self-esteem for the rest of your life.
Don't open yourself up to that kind of criticism. They aren't going to be honest. They're going to be cruel, thoughtless, and sexually objectify you—as if all that matters is what you look like. As if there is nothing more to you than your body and your hair.
Sure, these videos will definitely get their share of "YES, you're beautiful!" comments, but it would take a million positive comments to even come close to erasing the hurt from just one "You're ugly." Not to mention that in the end, those comments are absolutely meaningless in the scheme of things. Who cares what some random YouTube commenter thinks about you? Does their opinion really matter that much? Do you think that their opinion is really "honest"?
You probably think you know what I'm going to say next. "God loves you and made you special on the inside, so don't worry about the outside." But no, I'm not going to give you that answer. Yes, it's all true, but I refuse to give you a trite fix-it because I know it does little to help take away the pain in your heart right now.
And it's hard to avoid comparing ourselves to our friends, to actresses and rock stars, to anybody else who might have anything that we don't. I get that. Being a girl, being a woman, is a challenge all on its own. We are so tough on ourselves and expect so much, but we will never live up to our own expectations because we will always, always, always find flaws in ourselves.
I'm not sure we girls will ever get over our insecurities. (Even supermodels think they're imperfect.) You can wear makeup, workout, eat healthy, get plastic surgery, whatever you want to change your appearance, but none of that will change your heart unless you let it.
But, girls, let's forget about your appearance for a second. There is so much more to you than what you look like on the outside. You have passions, interests, things you geek out about, things you're really good at; you have people who think you're amazing. And none of those things are affected by your looks.
Can I present you with a crazy idea?
Have you ever noticed how your best friend suddenly seems so beautiful after you have been friends with her for a long time? That boy you have crushed on gets cuter and cuter the more you admire him? Likewise, that girl who is horrible to everyone has the ugliest face when she's putting someone down. That bully is absolutely disgusting when he's cornered a poor freshman in the hallway.
Why is that? Because your perception of that person changes based upon how you feel about them. It's the same deal with yourself. If you hate yourself, you will never see yourself as beautiful. If you think you're useless, you will be blind to your own true value and immeasurable worth.
I wish I could give you some magic words or a 12-step plan that would help get you out of the frustrating funk of self-loathing. I wish I could offer you more than just this blog post. I wish I could look you in the eyes and tell you everything awesome about you. But even that would probably not be enough.
Forget what happened in the past, and remember that you are a new creation in Christ (Philippians 3:13-14; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Ask God to show you your true value and worth in His eyes. Ask the Holy Spirit to change your perspective on yourself. Remember that your Heavenly Father loved you so much that He allowed His Son to die for YOU so that He could spend eternity with YOU (John 3:16; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
Psalm 51:8-12 is a great example of the kind of prayer I'm talking about: "Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit."
The flesh and bones you walk around in, the roles you play in this life are merely a part of the earthly robes you wear during your visit to this physical world. You are an Ambassador for Christ, having come from a spiritual world (Galatians 5:16). One day, you will return to the place where you really belong (Revelation 21:3-4).
In the meantime, allow yourself to have a fresh perspective about who you are in God's eyes. You, you, YOU are worth the life of Jesus Christ. You have a reason for being alive because God chose to bring you into existence (Philippians 1:21).
In Luke 10:27, Jesus sums up everything that is expected of Heavenly Ambassadors, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."
Now take a deep breath, my friend, and know that you are all that and a bag a chips. You really are. And you can take on the world.
Cat is the web producer and editor of 412teens.org. She loves audiobooks, feeding the people she cares about, and using Christmas lights to illuminate a room. When Catiana is not writing, cooking, or drawing, she enjoys spending time with her two teenage kids, five socially-awkward cats, and her amazing friend-amily.