Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Self-Esteem and Glasses

(Obviously we have to start this with the obligatory self-esteem discussion. This is not a tribute to just believing in yourself and how awesome you are. But we can't deny that what we believe about ourselves shows up in how we present ourselves and how others view us. Disclaimer over but I would love to have a conversation with you about self-esteem. Leave a comment or hop over to IG or Twitter.)

One summer during junior high I got a clothing catalog. I don't remember the company or any particular clothes but I do remember colors and an aesthetic that assured me that I too could be beautiful. I wasted too much time that summer browsing that magazine and comparing my appearance with glasses to my appearance without glasses. Time that I can never recover unfortunately. 

I got glasses in the first grade because I couldn't see the board. Seems that it's hard to learn that way and that it caught my teacher's attention. I got my first pair of contacts when I was a freshman in high school. Trust me when I say that drastically improved my physical attractiveness, mostly due to the style of the glasses I was wearing. I religiously avoided wearing glasses in front of people for years. But sometime after I had Micah I developed an eye problem and I can't wear contacts on a regular basis. 

So the glasses are back. I've always had a bit of an ugly duckling syndrome (as has every female I've spoken to). I don't know if you feel like this but I think my appearance has improved as I've gotten older. I could dig up some old pictures for you, but really, why? It was only after college that I (semi) learned to fix my hair, learned some makeup tricks, and started to develop some style. Am I being a little harsh on myself? Probably- but not much. 

When first I started wearing glasses all the time I picked a pair that seemed the least noticeable. My goal was for them to be almost invisible. (Honestly my goal was to be as invisible as possible too.) I took them off for pictures and felt less attractive in them. But somewhere over the past year things have changed- I've started to pick up a little confidence. 

I don't believe that physical attractiveness is the issue in self-esteem. You can't really change how you look and what's the standard for beauty anyway? Instead I started to find confidence in doing what God's given me to do. Proverbs 3:26 says, "For the Lord shall be thy confidence." Instead of looking at the woman beside me and comparing myself to her I could just run my race. 

How we look or how much money we have or how talented we are doesn't matter in life unless we are surrendering all of that to God. But once we give those things to God the less concerned we are with how we present ourselves means the more we have to give to the people and to the work. 

When I was at Influence Conference I had this same conversation with another woman. She felt like it was easier to hide in the corner so she tried to help herself out too. I've been working on my posture: back straight, elbows out instead of tucked in an effort to take up the least amount of room imaginable. Look people in the eyes, smile, speak up. Clean yourself up and then forget about it. You can do that when you've put in some effort. 

I have a long way to go with this but it is working. When I went to pick out glasses this year I knew exactly what I wanted. 

Before it was "I have to wear glasses so let's make them as least noticeable as possible." This time it was "I have to wear glasses so let's rock it out." ("Rock it out" is my new phrase. Let's do it with enthusiasm, passion, and muscle.)

I love my new glasses but you know what I've discovered? 

Nobody else notices you. They get a "air" of who you are. Confident, insecure, vain, others-centered. Very few people have noticed my new glasses. We could help ourselves by remembering that no one is paying attention to us because they are focused on themselves. 

So all those things that you don't like about yourself? Few people notice. The things you would change aren't even a blip on anyone else's radar. Forget them.

While it sounds spiritual to say our appearance shouldn't matter and we shouldn't care, we all know that's not real life. At some point we each have to go deeper than how we look on the outside. That's what's worked for me. I do my best to look nice and then I do the work God has for me today. There's a strong confidence in standing where God put you.

I think we mention in almost every podcast episode that it all comes back to our personal walk with Christ. And by all I really do mean everything. Our confidence, our joy, and the grace we extend to others (and hopefully ourselves) all overflow from our walk with God. I always picture Ephesians 3:19 like a teacup and saucer. We (the teacup) know God loves us which enables us to be filled with the fulness of God. Then guess what splashes onto everything around us (the saucer)? God's love. 
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Ephesians 3:19
What's been your experience with self-esteem? How do you describe it and what's your story? Leave a comment or hop over to social media to tell me.  

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