Today I have the honor of publishing a guest post from a sweet new friend of mine. Kristen has some amazing wisdom to share with you girls and I hope that you will all be touched in the same way I was by this message. Kristen, thanks so much for sharing. You’re a great writer and such an inspiration to me!
Have you ever paid yourself a compliment?
Like when you’re at a department store and you see a blouse and think “That’s cute. I’ll try it on.” You try on this blouse and are surprised it looks nice on you. Suddenly you are all smiles and say “I didn’t think it would look this good on! I look pretty!” So you buy the blouse and return home in a good mood.
We always surprise ourselves like that. We are surprised that we are prettier, smarter, more creative, than we really thought we were. Why can’t we just have the confidence to know that we are pretty, smart, creative, good natured, etc.? Why can’t we just pay ourselves a compliment. We’re always trying act like someone else, except for the two people we should be acting like. The first one is God, and the second is yourself. We’re so busy focusing on everyone else’s lives, that we forget our own personal growth.
And as daughters of God it is important that we realize our worth in the Lord’s eyes. But that is not to say that the Lord’s daughters don’t go through growing pains. In fact it can be worse than non-Christians. And the hardest struggle of them all is self confidence and self worth. And it is no secret that every young girl will go through this. We will always go through a rough patch, but when we are young it is important that we learn from these hard times. I would like to share my own personal story about how I struggled with my appearance.
When I turned twelve I remember a family member asking me if I felt different. I told them no, I felt the same as I had always felt, I felt like any kid. If I was asked the same thing when I turned thirteen, I would have said the same as before,but I did not feel the same inside. I was a little confused actually. Was I still a kid? I knew I was not an adult. I wasn’t an older teenager, so I couldn’t act like that. But how should I act?
Not only are you growing inside and out, but different thoughts appear in your head. Questions about the adult world. About how life works. And the question I asked the most, how do I find my place in life? For me the I started to mature when I turned thirteen. But I didn’t know that I would have to cry a lot in the next two years.
I remember one day, and quite clearly too, the day I started to feel uneasy about my appearance. I was thirteen and I was getting dressed, and I stopped in front of my mirror to brush my hair, and a thought came into my head. “Gosh, my face is so wide!” And that was the beginning of a lesson that I could only learn through tears, prayers, and through God.
Over the next year I practically obsessed over how I looked. I was worried that I looked like a child, and not like a cool teenager. I worried about my weight, my hair, my attitude, and mostly about the shape of my face. I hated that my face was so wide. That I couldn’t be a few pounds lighter. That I couldn’t have that easy going, chill attitude.
The thought that I wasn’t pretty enough, well behaved enough, or good enough, slowly crept into my mind. I remember thinking thoughts like, “Ugh, why can’t my stomach be flatter.” “I look horrible and I feel horrible.” “I look so fat.” “I hate that my face is so wide!” I would pull on my cheeks, suck them in. “Why can’t my face be thin like this?” I even had the thought “Why did God even bother to create me?”
I was also wracked with guilt over feeling disatisfied with myself. “Dear Lord,” I would say, “I know you made me this way, but I just don’t feel pretty. I really want to look pretty. Please make me pretty.” What a prayer! To pray to the Lord that His creation was made wrong. That He made a mistake. How hurtful I was!
And so, that was how things were for two years. I didn’t like my appearance because I didn’t look like other girls. I didn’t have that flat stomach, that perfect height, that perfect attitude, that winning smile like other girls. And I wasn’t comparing myself to models on magazines, or celebrities on television shows. I was comparing myself with girls I saw at the market, at the department store, anywhere. Every girl looked prouder, acted better, was prettier, and was, in my mind, what I needed to act like.
It wasn’t until I was fifteen that I noticed something. One day I was sitting on my bed, just relaxing and reading. Some how the thoughts of my appearance came to me. Why wasn’t I skinny like other girls? Why didn’t I have that flat stomach? Why didn’t I have a smaller chest? Why didn’t I have thinner thighs? Why did I have big feet? Why did I have a big nose? Why couldn’t I be cool? Why? Why? Why? All these thoughts were piling on each other, one after another. I remember shaking my head and saying “Enough!” I closed my eyes to try and block those thoughts. I told myself that this was enough, I did not want to feel like this anymore. Something yelled at me in my head “You are beautiful!” And I felt peace and quietness. Then the most amazing thought, “I want to look like Kristen. I don’t want to look like anyone else.” And suddenly I didn’t care about looking like anyone else except a girl named Kristen Gutierrez. I wanted to look like a girl who is a dreamer. Who dreams of becoming a doctor, of traveling to Paris, of a family. Who loves doggies and chocolate! I wanted to look like me! I truly did feel comfortable about my appearance. Finally the tears were over.
Sometime later (I don’t remember how long) I remember this one day I was in front of the mirror fixing my hair, and an old thought crept into my mind, “My face is so wide!” Oh no. But this time I asked myself, “Well, why is your face wide? God made it so for a reason.” And it came to me! God knew that I would need a wider face than most girls because I would inheirit the big eyes in our family. Big, dark brown, beautiful eyes. And those eyes would need space! He knew my face needed to be wider because I would have a big smile. He knew I needed a wider face, because a small face would surely get lost in all that curly fly away hair I would have! “God knew!” I was overjoyed at the thought that God knew everything about me. I immediatly prayed. I prayed to the Lord to forgive me for doubting Him, for thinking that He had make a mistake creating me. I thanked Him for finally opening my eyes to see how special I really was.
Sometimes I find it hard to believe that I overcame what many girls struggle with. I do sometimes catch myself thinking things like “Wow, she is really pretty. And thin too. I wish I-” But I immediatly catch myself and say “No, if you looked like her, then you wouldn’t be Kristen Renee, the girl God wanted you to be.” I started to compare myself to other girls less and less. I am happy with the way I am. That is how I started to give myself compliments. And not only compliments in the beauty department. But everywhere.
Like, “That person was very rude. But I’m proud of you that you were nice to them.” or “That math problem was pretty tough! But hey, you did good! You did great!”
Perhaps giving yourself compliments sounds vain to others. But I’m not saying I’m better than other girls. I just want the confidence that I need to be the true person I am. I do tell myself “Yay! My hair looks great today!” And yes, it does make me feel better. And on those days when nothing seems to go right, from bad hair to a bad mood, I still try to find something to be thankful and cheerful about.
I turned seventeen earlier this month, and looking back to my early teenage years, I wonder at how I could ever have felt so horrible. Why did I feel like I was not worthy? Why did I feel ugly? Sometimes I wonder if it was imaginary. But it was not all in my head. It was real. And I over came that. I struggled, I cried, I prayed, and in the end the reward was as sweet as honey. And just the fact that I can share my story and that somebody could really take something away from it, well that is well worth the tears.
So after all this reading, what should you do? Well, here they are.
One. If you are girl who compares herself to other girls based on their looks, popularity, attitude, or even their spirituality. Please know that there is no need to be anyone else but YOU. God made you the way that He knew best. He didn’t make you like every other girl because that is not who you are. You are a unique individual. He made you for a special reason. And you must search for that reason and use it. If you feel like you aren’t beautiful without makeup, certain clothing, or popularity. Sit yourself down and ask yourself why. Why do you feel the way you do? What does God want me to learn? And pray that God opens your eyes to learn this lesson He has put before you. Maybe right now you don’t feel pretty. Maybe you feel like the ugliest girl on the planet, and maybe you’ve cried because you wish so badly that you looked like anyone but yourself. Please know, that right now you may not feel like it, but you are a beautiful person. One day you will have that “Enough!” moment, and all insecurities will go away. But you need to work at it and pray. Remember, if you looked like anyone else, then you would not be YOU, and you are a unique and beautiful girl, and more importantly, a Daughter of Christ. And always give yourself compliments!
Two. If you have beaten the pressure that the world has put on young girls, that you need to be perfect. That you need to wear what everyone else is wearing. That you need to look like every girl out there. That you should “fit in”. If you have beaten that, then I am so happy for you! You have won! But please, please tell someone that you have! Help someone. Tell them that you, a confident woman, and have no desire to be anyone else than yourself. Tell your friends, cousins, anyone. Beause you never know who could be struggling and who needs help. Shout your victory from the roof tops. And always give yourself a compliment!
Thank you for taking the time to read what I have wrote. It makes me happy that I can share my experience with everyone. I have a great desire in me to help others, in any way, shape, or form. It really warms my heart that God has given me the chance to share my story. Again I thank you for reading and I hope that you get some postive meaning out of my writing. And don’t forget to give yourself a compliment!
And thanks also to Moriah, for inviting me to write a guest post, God Bless you!