Wednesday, April 17, 2013

See what I see...

Facebook seems crowded with women posting and re-posting this video from Dove.

I wont get into the obvious flaws of this "study" that make the results completely unreliable, because this post is already too long.  On the surface, I think we all can appreciate that women in general don't give themselves enough credit, or are too critical of their appearances leading to low self esteem issues that plague the female sex.  OK.  After that tiny ounce of credit I give the company, I must now get on my well worn soapbox.

Women are more than physical beauty.  Physical beauty is shallow.  It is empty.  It says nothing of value about the person.  However we, as human beings cannot help but want it.  I'll admit, I want it.  It's in the title of my blog!  I want to be pretty, and think I am.  But really, I don't care to be remembered that way.  I want my friends to remember me, as pretty smart, pretty kind, pretty thoughtful, pretty sweet, pretty devoted, pretty faithful, pretty creative, pretty selfless...

Why are we so obsessed with physical appearances?  I could go on and on about the media and it's negative impacts on self image, but it wouldn't even exist if the desire to be beautiful wasn't already there.  We want and love physical beauty, because it's natural.  Scientifically, that desire is there to preserve the species.  Signs of beauty are typically correlated with signs of good health, thus encouraging the mating of healthy people, and creating offspring most likely to survive.  So, it's in our genetic makeup to pursue it and desire it.  It's natural.  That doesn't mean it's right.

A great king in the ancient Americas, King Benjamin, and consequently our son's namesake, in his old age gathered all of his people together so he could give them a final address before his death.  His people gathered for miles, setting up their tents around a tower erected for the King to speak from.  He taught many great and beautiful things.  His words are recorded in The Book of Mormon, and among the great wisdom he shared with his people, he gave the following, found in Mosiah 3:19:

For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.  

While we naturally are drawn to physical beauty, and want to judge others and ourselves by those worldly standards, that is not the way of God.  We must rise above that.  Did you notice what example King Benjamin uses to illustrate how to put off the natural man?  He describes a child.

Children see us as we are.  They love freely, unhindered by physical characteristics.  They can see what somehow, as adults, we cannot so easily see.  They have a Christlike love that is pure and unaffected.  Quick to forgive, they openly share unblemished devotion to almost everyone they know.  There are exceptions.  They do judge, but the way God judges- by choices and actions.   Think of the children you know and adore. They love most those who are the kindest to them.  Anyone who is harsh, mean, or mistreats them, they turn away from, fear, and do not love.  And yet, sweetly, they still want to.  They want to love everyone.

In God's eyes, we are beautiful because He made us.  He wants us to see that, and to see that in others.  He wants us to see what is good, and to try to be that way ourselves.  He wants us to follow the example of His son, Jesus Christ.

Look in the mirror.  Do you limit yourself to your natural inhibitions, judging by meaningless, empty physical traits, or do you look beyond the natural man, and see something more?  I challenge you to see how our Savior sees.  He loves you.  He knows your great potential.  Find the things in that reflection that are truly beautiful.  Look at the person who is a good friend.  Find in your eyes someone who loves to study, read, and learn.  Take in the beauty of an individual who is independent, creative, and brave.  Look at the hands that have brought comfort, shared freely, and worked long and patiently for others.  You have feet that can run miles, that can dance, that can take you to great places, ears that can recognize music everywhere, and a mouth that can teach, whisper, smile, and sing.  You have strength to stand up for yourself and others, and a heart that is able to share, love, and forgive.  This is what the Savior sees, what we were meant to do with our bodies, and this precious gift of life we have.  This is what beauty is.

Here is a song and slideshow that I think paint a sweet picture of this very message.

And here's a better video, that teaches so much more than that weak commercial for Dove products.  It speaks of our divine heritage.  We are sons and daughters of God, with endless potential for good.  The true beauty in our reflection, comes from the choice to follow Jesus Christ.

Rise above the sleaze and natural, lost, and lonely images the world is trying to put forth.  Your beauty is based on something so much greater, and is meant to last forever.  So forever lose yourself in those things that have great worth, and mold an individual to be admired and loved for all that you are, and can do.  Something divinely beautiful.


  1. A beautiful post Liz and very well written. This is such a good reminder! Thank you!! (we should get THIS circulating thru FB instead of the Dove commercial!!!)

    1. Thank you, Dana. Feel free to share it wherever you want!

  2. Interesting take on it. I didn't take any offense to the Dove commercial I will admit, and in fact I have to give them some credit that they have done more then other companies to portray woman as more then just a photoshopped beauty. They have been more willing to show women as naturally beautiful then other companies and I do think that is commendable. (I am sure we could say their motive is the bottom line but its a business and if they make it work for them I say good job)

    In agreement with you though I will say if more woman truly knew who they were fewer women would have a bad view of themselves. I thought (or like to think) if I had been put in that scenario it would have played out differently. I am not arrogant of my looks, nor do I think I am the most beautiful woman in the world. But I don't think negatively of myself either. I think if someone asked me to describe myself I would have had positive things to say. I don't think I'm unique though. I think women who know who they truly are see themselves in a much more positive light. When you know your beautiful from the inside out, the outside naturally reflects your inner beauty. Women who love themselves as a daughter of God shine a beauty that is physically notable in their features. It can not be denied.

    SO yes, to the hope that more woman will learn who they are and know where their true beauty lies. :)