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.
She’s beautiful inside and out, I can tell you that!
I don’t remember when it changed for me. I remember thinking I was beautiful when I was a kid, even through the awkward years, and I remember thinking I was beautiful at certain points in life, but definitely not in years.
I don’t want that to change for Scarlet!
It’s so hard for our girls to grow up believing they are beautiful, amidst all the pressure of social media and filtered pics- not to mention ALL the unrealistic images they see on magazines and everywhere they go. I think we are raising girls that can believe in themselves, and THAT is key. 🙂
Janine Huldie says
Aw, Chris, this is beautiful and as a mom to two tween daughters exactly what I needed to hear to help my own girls as they approach the teens years. Hugs and thank you for the inspiration here today <3
YES, you are just at the beginning of this and I do hope it helped prepare you too, Janine! It’s not easy, but our girls need to understand their worth and their beauty that goes beyond any perfectly filtered picture they see.
Oh, this is really lovely Chris. I’m struggling with my 12yo and her perception of beauty, too. Why do the boys get it so much easier, btw? I haven’t seen that it affects my son nearly as much as my daughter. Sorry I missed this on Your Teen. I’ve pinned it!
It is SO much harder with girls, for sure! However, my boy constantly compares himself to other boys who have reached puberty and he struggles with it too. Sigh. It’s different with boys for sure, but I don’t think they express their inner feelings as much either. Ya know?
Thanks so much for reading this and pinning it, Katy!
Marie Kléber says
It must be hard to hear these words Chris. I mean what is all this mess around beauty and the way should be to be classified as beautiful or not. I imagine it’s tough for teenagers to find their way around all this nonsense. Good that you are with her on the road!
It is SO hard, Marie. It’s an ongoing issue with the constant comparison for my girl and really all the girls I know. I won’t stop telling her these things until she truly believes it!
lisa thomson says
YES, yes, Yes!! Perfect message for a teen girl and for your daughter in particular. Our world is made up of telling us what is wrong with us, so we’ll buy the fix. Your words are beautifully crafted here, Chris, really getting to the heart of self image. Teen years are the hardest in my opinion.
This: “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.”
RIGHT? My gosh, it’s always been hard for teen girls but now, it’s so much worse with social media and everything they see online. As if it wasn’t hard enough to fight the constant comparison of other kids in school, now they have the masses to contend with- and filtered pictures that mislead them with such lies.
Julie Severson says
Yes! Oh what a crucial message to share. Your daughter is the epitome of beauty inside and out. Christine you are so tuned into the next generation. Thank your ministry in that area, too!!!
Gosh, Julie, you are so sweet to say that! I really do live this with all the girls in my ministry. We talk about it constantly. We must.