7.25.2009

Making Sense of Self-Worth


Found this snippet o' interview with Mandy Moore (from People Magazine and Softpedia) & was extremely impressed, especially considering pressures she endures not only from the public eye, but her own as a woman (and let's face it, we are all our own harshest critics).
"Just Recently, Moore was speaking out about the healthy body image she has and that she’s trying to send off to other girls and young women as well. The first thing that we should all do, she was saying, would be to accept that our body changed with age and that we couldn’t all be the same no matter how hard we tried. Beauty is not necessarily in the eye of the beholder, but it is closely connected to how each woman individually sees herself, Mandy added at the time – and she was perhaps the best example for that, a normal-sized girl thrown in a see of size 0 stars. “I still have a love-hate relationship with [my hips]. I’m not a swizzle stick – I’m not 14 anymore. I appreciate when there are other women out there who are beautiful and aren’t, you know, a pound. I feel lucky that I don’t feel pressure... to have my whole life be controlled by whether I fit into a certain size. […] I’m very comfortable with the way that I look, but it’s not fair for women to use someone or something as a bar. It’s not reality, for anyone. I am happy to be myself and represent something different for women.” the singer and actress was stating a short while back. "
While reading this I remembered again how cool it is to be a woman...really how cool it is to be me! I'm not being conceited, my thoughts were turned to an October 2005 General Conference talk given by Elder Holland called "To Young Women" which was used in a book called "Modesty, Makeovers, and the Pursuit of Physical Beauty: What Mothers and Daughters Need to Know."
A Few of my favorite things Elder Holland taught us is: "You are literally a spirit daughter of heavenly parents with a divine nature and an eternal destiny. 1 That surpassing truth should be fixed deep in your soul and be fundamental to every decision you make as you grow into mature womanhood. There could never be a greater authentication of your dignity, your worth, your privileges, and your promise. Your Father in Heaven knows your name and knows your circumstance. He hears your prayers. He knows your hopes and dreams, including your fears and frustrations. And He knows what you can become through faith in Him. Because of this divine heritage you, along with all of your spiritual sisters and brothers, have full equality in His sight and are empowered through obedience to become a rightful heir in His eternal kingdom, an “[heir] of God, and joint-[heir] with Christ.” 2 Seek to comprehend the significance of these doctrines. Everything Christ taught He taught to women as well as men. Indeed, in the restored light of the gospel of Jesus Christ, a woman, including a young woman, occupies a majesty all her own in the divine design of the Creator. You are, as Elder James E. Talmage once phrased it, “a sanctified investiture which none shall dare profane.” 3
Be a woman of Christ. Cherish your esteemed place in the sight of God. He needs you. This Church needs you. The world needs you. A woman’s abiding trust in God and unfailing devotion to things of the Spirit have always been an anchor when the wind and the waves of life were fiercest. 4 I say to you what the Prophet Joseph said more than 150 years ago: “If you live up to your privileges, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates. 5 ..."
"...In this same vein may I address an even more sensitive subject. I plead with you young women to please be more accepting of yourselves, including your body shape and style, with a little less longing to look like someone else. We are all different. Some are tall, and some are short. Some are round, and some are thin. And almost everyone at some time or other wants to be something they are not! But as one adviser to teenage girls said: “You can’t live your life worrying that the world is staring at you. When you let people’s opinions make you self-conscious you give away your power. … The key to feeling [confident] is to always listen to your inner self—[the real you.]” 8 And in the kingdom of God, the real you is “more precious than rubies.” 9 Every young woman is a child of destiny and every adult woman a powerful force for good. I mention adult women because, sisters, you are our greatest examples and resource for these young women. And if you are obsessing over being a size 2, you won’t be very surprised when your daughter or the Mia Maid in your class does the same and makes herself physically ill trying to accomplish it. We should all be as fit as we can be—that’s good Word of Wisdom doctrine. That means eating right and exercising and helping our bodies function at their optimum strength. We could probably all do better in that regard. But I speak here of optimum health; there is no universal optimum size.
Frankly, the world has been brutal with you in this regard. You are bombarded in movies, television, fashion magazines, and advertisements with the message that looks are everything! The pitch is, “If your looks are good enough, your life will be glamorous and you will be happy and popular.” That kind of pressure is immense in the teenage years, to say nothing of later womanhood. In too many cases too much is being done to the human body to meet just such a fictional (to say nothing of superficial) standard. As one Hollywood actress is reported to have said recently: “We’ve become obsessed with beauty and the fountain of youth. … I’m really saddened by the way women mutilate [themselves] in search of that. I see women [including young women] … pulling this up and tucking that back. It’s like a slippery slope. [You can’t get off of it.] … It’s really insane … what society is doing to women.” 10
In terms of preoccupation with self and a fixation on the physical, this is more than social insanity; it is spiritually destructive, and it accounts for much of the unhappiness women, including young women, face in the modern world. And if adults are preoccupied with appearance—tucking and nipping and implanting and remodeling everything that can be remodeled—those pressures and anxieties will certainly seep through to children. At some point the problem becomes what the Book of Mormon called “vain imaginations.” 11 And in secular society both vanity and imagination run wild. One would truly need a great and spacious makeup kit to compete with beauty as portrayed in media all around us. Yet at the end of the day there would still be those “in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers” as Lehi saw, 12 because however much one tries in the world of glamour and fashion, it will never be glamorous enough.
A woman not of our faith once wrote something to the effect that in her years of working with beautiful women she had seen several things they all had in common, and not one of them had anything to do with sizes and shapes. She said the loveliest women she had known had a glow of health, a warm personality, a love of learning, stability of character, and integrity. If we may add the sweet and gentle Spirit of the Lord carried by such a woman, then this describes the loveliness of women in any age or time, every element of which is emphasized in and attainable through the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ."
Do you get what I mean now?! It is sooo incredibly awesome to be who we are, exactly as we are! Cause that is who & how we are intended to be. God does not ask us to be anything else than the absolute best version of us we can be. He doesn't expect us to be a certain size, or to look a certain way. He expects us to be the best us, to take care of what he has gifted us in this life: our families, our minds, our bodies (I believe he DOES expect us to shower, which may be a challenge on a PMS day, but nonetheless he doesn't necessarily expect perfect hair or make-up, just a clean & healthy us those days)! So, those are my thoughts & appreciation for Apostolic counsel and positive examples of this in life. Am I saying Mandy Moore is perfect? No. But I appreciate her understanding of self-acceptance and its nice to hear her voice added to others' in the world echoing the same ideas we've been told by our leaders! Gives me hope to keep working on improving my own opinion of my self-worth.
Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
—Mark Twain

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
—Eleanor Roosevelt

1 comment:

Heidi 'n' Jeff said...

Wow, all great stuff! Aren't we lucky to get talks and guidance like that all the time. What do other people do I wonder?

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