What My Teenage Girl Needs To Know About Beauty
“You are so beautiful.”
“Thanks, mom, but not really. At least I have a pretty good personality.”
My daughter has said this in response to my compliment a number of times and it bothers me. It doesn’t bother me because she believes that having a good personality is important, because my gosh, it’s everything.
We talk all the time about character and values and how our physical appearance has no part in measuring our worth. She knows how a person behaves is far more important than how a person looks. She’s soaked in those values since she was able to wear her tutu with lopsided pigtails, a crooked princess crown, and pink smeared lipstick. Her idea of beauty was being who she was, embracing her way of feeling pretty and celebrating it without comparing herself to a Disney Princess.
When did it all change?
When did she decide she wasn’t beautiful?
When did the world change her mind?
As she’s grown up in a culture that lavishes itself on the importance of physical perfection, it has slowly soaked into her soul and found room to build new distorted ideas, and I’m appalled at the damage it’s done.
She was so innocent at first, but then as the years went on, her fragility was hardened by the superficial sanctity that takes over what was once pure, genuine, and true.
So, now she deems herself unworthy of beauty and I can only assume this is why:
The world told her so.
And I’ll keep telling her the world is a liar.
The world is a liar.
I’ll go to battle every day to fight the media monster that displays the perfect figure, the remarkable hair, and the flawless skin.
I’ll point to the people who reveal beauty by virtue and value, rather than fashion and fiction.
I’ll rebuild what society keeps crumbling over and over again with its focus on beauty’s elite wrapped in packages that cultivate comparison and create distortion of the truth.
I’ll remind her that the beauty bar she believes she can’t reach is a fabrication, a falsehood, and a fallacy.
I’ll unwrap the layers of this mystery that she has seemed to solve and encourage her to investigate the real crime our current culture has committed.
I’ll ask her who dictates where beauty is found? Who defines what beauty means? Who decides which woman earns that word, that label, that privilege?
And we’ll work to unwrap the layers that have begun to warp her view.
We’ll take apart each lie that says she is not beautiful. We’ll find new ways to bury the need to be approved, accepted, and celebrated because she’s looking in the wrong direction for that. I will escort her on the journey of self-discovery with the intimate revelation of self-love that only she can embrace.
And I will help her understand that her eyes, her nose, her jawline, her skin, her lips, her cheekbone, her hair, her figure, her smile; were all made on purpose for a purpose and her design is absolutely beautiful.
Extraordinarily unique, miraculous even.
Created by a God who calls her chosen, accepted, loved, holy, and yes- utterly Beautiful.
And maybe someday-
She’ll stop believing the lies the world keeps telling her and hold tight to the truth that beauty has no bar, no barrier, no boundary.
And she’ll be able to look into the mirror and embrace every bit of her appearance as a masterpiece of parts created especially for her.
And she will celebrate her beauty…
Along with having a really great personality too.
*The original version of this post was first published on Your Teen.