Last week we spent four days in Hong Kong. I think the one thing that was and has been on my mind while we were there and since we got home is how much I enjoyed the fact that people there just don’t care about other people. I know that may sound bad, but in a way, it was so refreshing for me. I didn’t see one person look at what another person was wearing or comment on what another person looked like. They were confident in what they wore or what they looked like or who they were and didn’t make those around them feel insecure for what they wore or looked like. In a way, it was sad because you could tell they don’t do much socializing with other people. I live in a country where sometimes what you look like or what you wear is all people think about or talk about.
I have to admit, growing up, I think the only thing I ever struggled with was what I wore. I never really got into the whole hair, skin, makeup, or jewelry stuff. I was always worried about what I wore. I always wanted to look cool or fashionable. I had many mean hateful things said about the clothes I wore growing up even as I got older. I literally would buy something that I insisted I needed or would make me look cool and then end up giving it away a week later or never even wearing it. Why? Because I didn’t feel confident in what other people would think. I sometimes loved the clothes, but wouldn’t wear them just for the fact I was imagining what people would say. It wasn’t till awhile back that I realized how much pressure it was putting on me. I decided I couldn’t live like that anymore. I still like to dress up..but I’m not pressured anymore if I have to wear the same thing three times in a week!
Like I mentioned, I grew up in a country where most people (not everyone) are obsessed with people’s looks, clothes, wealth, weight…you name it. It’s not uncommon to hear someone comment that someone else’s forehead is too big or that their eyes are too close together or that they’re too skinny or too fat or that their skin is too white or too dark. I could go on and on about the things people obsess about…but that would take all day. I also realized how many girls’ lives it’s ruined or how many people have unbelievable insecurities because of this. It’s as if clothes, makeup, jewelry, bags, shoes, you name it, is the ONLY thing that makes them feel confident in who they are as a person. To be honest, it’s sad. Girls as young as 2 years old are taught to worry about their looks.
I remember a couple months back, I went up into the mountains with Ryan with a group of police that he does a Bible Study with. They were doing a feeding program and wanted Ryan to give the Gospel. It’s not uncommon for people to stare here..of course, I’m white..but there was one little girl, probably 5 years old, that just wouldn’t take her eyes off me. So I called her over to sit on my lap. She just looked up at me and smiled. I remember telling her “you are soooo beautiful.” (I meant it too. I don’t give compliments if I don’t mean it.) I’ll never forget what she said next…She looked up at me and said “No. I’m ugly. I’m not like you. You’re the beautiful one.” I instantly had to fight back the tears that were begging to stream down my face. I told Ryan I had never wanted to cry so hard in my life. I looked down at her, hugged her and said, “Ohhh no!!! That’s not true at all. Did you know Jesus made you?? He made you perfect! You are beautiful!!! I love you!!!” All I remember thinking was “WHAT????? YOU’RE 5 YEARS OLD!!!!! How can you be that insecure at such a young age??” Later as we were getting ready to leave, I overheard her mother say, “She’s pretty isn’t she? She’s so white. She looks like a Barbie. Not like you.” And then it hit me. No WONDER that little girl was so stinkin’ insecure!!!! Her mother was literally spoon feeding her insecurity. The sad thing is those scenarios aren’t uncommon. They happen all the time.
I often hear people say, “You’re pretty because you’re white” or “You have friends because you’re white”, or that my babies are going to be pretty because I’m white. I always laugh when I hear stuff like that because in the back of my mind it’s like they’re saying if I wasn’t white I’d be ugly and have no friends and give birth to ugly children. Haha! It just sounds so dumb to me. I’ve always believed that if I had friends it was because I chose to make friends. And if people thought I was beautiful, great. If they thought I was ugly, great! I could care less what my kids look like as long as they are healthy and grow up to love Jesus. It used to affect me what people thought or said but I guess as I got older, I realized I had a choice…to either allow others to dictate how I saw myself or let GOD, the ONE who made me, dictate how I was going to see myself. On the other hand, I know it does affect others. I’ve seen the hurt and insecurity in their eyes. I know it affects the girls who are constantly being told they’re ugly and someone else is prettier than them. The girl who is constantly told she is too fat or too skinny. The girl who is told if she had a smaller forehead she’d be pretty or if her nose was different she’d be perfect. I know it affects them. I’ve heard their stories. I’ve heard them pour their hearts out.
No matter how much you tell someone they are beautiful or perfect, if they don’t believe it themselves, it is ABSOLUTELY useless. They will wear whatever it takes, buy whatever it takes, flirt with whoever it takes, be unkind or hateful to others, do whatever they can just to feel accepted and beautiful. The sad thing is, we sometimes take part in making others feel insecure or ugly about themselves. I mean if you look at social media today, it’s not uncommon to see everyone so FREELY GIVING THEIR OPINION. Now I understand when you put yourself out there you are opening yourself up to criticism or whatever, but to be honest, it shouldn’t be that way. A lot of girls are insecure and miserable so they will do whatever it takes to make sure other girls around them feel the exact same way. A beautiful new girl comes to church and instantly you can see the jealousy and envy in the other girls’ eyes because they know it’s one more person to take away any attention they had any chance of getting. It’s sad, but it’s reality. Someone gets a new outfit or a new hairstyle and girls will literally avoid complimenting on them because of their own insecurities. And when it comes to bullying…I don’t think anybody plays a better role at that than GIRLS!!! I always roll my eyes when I hear girls talk about being bullied by someone in person or on social media all the while forgetting that they once bullied someone on social media or in person. Remember: You reap what you sow. Also girls, the way you dress says a lot about your insecurities. If you feel the need to always be showing off parts of your body or dressing sexy…usually it’s because some boy-maybe even your boyfriend-has made you feel that you need to show it off, because his attention isn’t just on you…you have to share his attention with other girls. Trust me, I know, I’ve been there before. You are worth more than that. I think the best thing when I started dating Ryan, was the confidence he gave me that I never have to compete or dress a certain way for his attention..I already have it. Be confident in the way you dress. It reflects a lot about you.
I also think it starts at home. Moms, stop comparing your daughters to other girls. Good day!!! Your daughter should be the most beautiful, smart, loving person you know. That doesn’t mean you belittle or go out of your way to make other girls look bad just to make your daughter look good. Remember Moms, if you’re a bully, don’t be surprised if that’s exactly what you raise. I’m talking about raising her to believe that she is absolutely the most beautiful thing to you and that God made her just the way she is and that she doesn’t have to put others down to make herself look good. If you don’t believe that, then forget your daughter ever believing that. I have to say me and my sister were blessed growing up with our Mom. She did her best to raise me and my sister for the Lord, not for other people. I remember when Hannah was younger, she struggled with her weight. People were CRUEL. I mean they would call her pig and all kinds of horrible things that I know hurt her deeply. She never ONCE heard our Mother though comment on her weight. She ended up losing a lot of the weight and when she went to my Mom to brag about her losing all that..you know what my Mom said? “Hannah, I never saw you as fat. I always saw you perfect just the way you were.”. And if you ask my sister, that’s exactly how my Mom made her feel-perfect. If you ask her though, a lot of the unkind things she heard about her weight did hurt her and affect how she saw herself. Sometimes, Moms, all you can do is your BEST to make her feel beautiful and worth it and then have it all ruined by a bunch of bullies or insecure girls wanting to destroy how your daughter sees herself. All you can do is your best. You do play a very big role though, in making your daughter feel confident and beautiful. If you don’t have a Mother in the home or even a Father…try to find someone around that you look to as a mother or someone you would want to impact your life. Also, remember teaching your daughter to be confident in God and who he made her, will also have an effect on the kind of man she chooses to marry one day.
If you’re reading this and thinking, “This is how I feel. I feel like I’m not beautiful. I’m not perfect. I feel like I always have to compete with others or be someone I’m not to avoid being ridiculed or made fun of. I put down other girls just so I feel better about myself” or “All I ever hear is ‘you’re too fat’” or “Why can’t you be like her?” You may even feel that way because of someone taking advantage of you sexually. Or you think being fashionable will give you confidence and fill that void. Or maybe you come from a broken family or have bitterness or anger towards your parents. I don’t know!! I do want you to know though, that I hear you. I really do, and my heart hurts for you. I may not be going through or have gone through what you have or are going through but I have many friends and have talked to many girls that feel like that. You don’t have to feel like that!!! PLEASE believe me when I say, “JESUS LOVES YOU JUST THE WAY YOU ARE”. YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!!!! Get in His Word…let him dictate how you see or think of yourself. Don’t let another person’s insecurities or hate or something they did to you cause you to dictate how you see yourself. You will only be miserable. Trust me. And girls, don’t be the cause of someone else’s insecurities. If you’re insecure, don’t give it away by being hateful and unkind to someone else. That doesn’t show confidence AT ALL. It makes you look weak and desperate. When I see a girl treat someone else with kindness, I instantly think that person is beautiful. How you treat others is where your true beauty lies. Decide today that you’re going to stop being hateful and making others feel insecure to hide behind your own insecurities. And that you’re going to stop putting so much focus on what others look like, dress like, weigh…etc. Decide to work on your own insecurities. I promise that if you make someone else feel beautiful about themselves…you will feel the same way.
I’m glad I got to go to Hong Kong for those four days. Every time Ryan and I visit somewhere, we always try to take one thing we learned back with us. The one thing I decided I wanted to come home different with is..I don’t want to be that kind of person that is obsessed with peoples’ looks, their hair, their clothes, their features. I want to see people for who they are on the inside. I want to make other girls feel beautiful.