beauty and self-esteem lessons learned through the years

when i was a little girl (that is, before i turned 10 and grew to be 5 feet tall), i seriously thought that i was pretty, popular, witty and smart and i felt that the whole world revolved around me.  see, i was an only child for almost 9 years and was pretty pampered and showered with attention by almost every adult around me.


and then came my awkward years.  in the next 5 years of my life, while i managed to grow 4 inches taller, i perceived myself to be ugly, fat and uncool.  as a result, i acted awkwardly, had zero self-confidence and used to lament that no boy really liked me.  last night, as i looked at pictures of myself that were taken during those years (e.g., i realized that…yeah, i was ugly then!  come to think of it, however, my physical features are the same as the ones i have now. nor was i really fat (although i did have chubby cheeks with baby fat and teen-aged acne) – twas more like, i looked ugly because i believed that i was.


i started to shed off that ugly self when i was 16. it was a long process though.  (heck, the other day, an officemate even saw a photo of me when i was 19 and remarked that i looked promdi then and that i’m definitely prettier now…well thank you!)  then, when I joined the work force, I began to experiment with various looks as I “burned” my earnings by way of a new look every month. it wasn’t till i was 24, though, when i truly managed to shed off and throw away that “old skin” as well as the compulsion to have a new look each time.


i used to think that it was by my own efforts that i outgrew my awkward self.  upon further reflection, though, i realized that the change started to take place after i made the decision to accept Christ in my heart, and commit my life to Him.  as God transformed my heart, He also transformed my outer appearance and my demeanor. further, in time, I reached a realization that, though beauty products, tools & processes could enhance one’s beauty, they could only do just that – enhance what’s already there, and hence should not be the focal point or source of confidence. sometimes, even, especially if used in excess, such implements only distract the beholder from seeing a woman’s natural beauty.


now, at 31, although i couldn’t really say that i’m a knock-out or beauty queen material, i now know and can say with confidence that i am pretty in my own right, in my own way.  i also now know that more important than my physical appearance is cultivating a quiet and gentle spirit (which is soooo difficult, really need God’s grace there).  similarly, more important than wittiness and intelligence is the quest for wisdom, just as gaining favor in God’s eyes is now more important than gaining “popularity” (although, i’ve also learned that when one does the right thing and acts with love and faithfulness, he’ll also win favor with men, as in God’s eyes, whereby the favor gained in men’s eyes is but a by-product).  finally unlike when i was a little girl, i now know that the world does not revolve around me – more appropriately, it’s not (and has never has been) about me, but it’s all about Him.


these days, whenever i get compliments about how i look like (especially from those who knew me before), i say “thank you!” while feeling truly grateful that God has enabled my ugly-duckling promdi-looking self to blossom into the woman that i am now, and the woman that i still am becoming. i just pray that by His grace, as years and seasons pass, I would age gracefully and grow more (not physically, ha – not giving myself room to grow there (haha), but) in beauty and wisdom. now, I certainly look forward to that.


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