Wednesday, December 16, 2009
No More Apologies
I don't know about you, but every little girl I have ever known loves dressing up in her mommy's clothes, clunking around in her high heels, trying on her lipstick and pretending to be a beautiful lady. Loving beauty and wanting to be feminine is programmed into each of us to one degree or another. As we grow, people, circumstances, our own worries, fears and expectations shape our behavior and self-image. That's what happened to me. That little girl never left me, just got pushed into a corner and told to be quiet.
Breaking out of my old insecurities meant finally embracing the fact that if I felt I was a woman of value and beauty in my character, what was wrong with trying to let it show externally? I wasn't being irrational, superficial or unspiritual to love feminine things. That I didn't need a practical reason why I should wear these cute heels, other than I thought they were cute. And that I didn't have to apologize in front of my all-male family that I wanted to watch a romantic comedy, even if I knew the acting would be lousy. Funny that even writing this makes me kind of squirm with embarrassment, but as I've said, I'm a work in progress...
But one thing I have witnessed in both myself and in so many other women, is that though we may resist and insist that we are perfectly happy with the way we are, that "this is me" and "I'm just not the feminine kind," we all want to look and feel better underneath the barriers we put up for ourselves. If God created us this way, we only harm ourselves to ignore it. From the girls who go wild with suggestive clothing and promiscuous behavior to the ones who, like me, wanted to blend into the scenery with a dull nondescript appearance, they all have the same insecurities inside. Every one wants to be loved for who she is and seen as lovely and feminine, both inside and out.
Encouraging friends have helped me to bring out that stifled part of me, and has made so much of a difference. Loving who you are is such a trite cliche, but there is no other way to put it. Knowing how God made you and wired you as a woman is all a part of that. Being surrounded with supportive women of God is key to all of this. That means loving suggestions, and loving criticism - laughter and the kind of compliments that only women know how to give.
I used to look around a room full of strangers and neurotically compare myself with the women I saw. Now I very often see the familiar looks in the eyes of women who have the same insecurities I once had. I want to tell them how beautiful they are and how they could have so much fun enjoying their beauty, but I dare not say a word, because I know how painful that subject can be. Maybe they'll read this and start to see themselves through God's eyes. I wish I had learned this a long time ago. Better late than never!