Why am I so ugly?
You try to avoid mirrors, but instead, you feel drawn to them. Hard red bumps loom inevitably into view. Awful acne. You stare in dismay, wondering why you’re so ugly.
Everywhere you go, it seems like people are staring at you. Even when you put up your hand in class—excited to analyze William Blake or E.M. Forster—you still feel like hiding. Your normal self-confidence seems forced, fake. You blame your badly-behaved skin—and feel more miserable than ever.
Pray about acne? That you’ve done since the first offending spots appeared. You’ve had other physical healings before. If a clearer, sweeter view of God could heal you of a knee injury in high school, why not this? But nothing seems to be working. Instead of resting on God and on His perfection and beauty, your thoughts swirl with despair about your own ugliness. Even when you aren’t checking the mirror for the umpteenth time, you might as well be. In your mind, the screaming red marks loom large; sometimes, they feel like all you can think about.
At one point, you call a Christian Science practitioner for help, but quickly become frustrated when nothing seems to be changing. But something is changing. Something that, ten years later, you’ll still remember as a change much bigger than one particular healing. Those few days praying with the practitioner mark the beginning of a major change in the way you think about yourself. And though you don’t know it now, this thought-shift is going to make all the difference.
For as long as you can remember, you’ve thought of yourself as ugly. As less-attractive than your friends, than almost every girl you encounter.
“Tell me I’m ugly,” you’d say to your mom. “Tell me. Be honest.”
“You have spiritual beauty,” she’d say, trying to console you.
Instead, that just made you angrier. Why did everyone else get physical beauty while you got stuck with the spiritual kind—the kind no one could see?
So now, when the practitioner also mentions beauty, it triggers something. A dawning realization that perhaps your view of yourself could use a little beautifying. At first, you ignore it. You’re frustrated that the acne persists and contemplating beauty seems almost like a taunt. But the impulse to learn what real beauty is remains, and slowly but surely, you yield to it.
And what do you find? What you find is beautiful! You especially love this passage from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Beauty is a thing of life,” it says, “which dwells forever in the eternal Mind and reflects the charms of His goodness in expression, form, outline, and color. It is Love which paints the petal with myriad hues, glances in the warm sunbeam, arches the cloud with the bow of beauty, blazons the night with starry gems, and covers earth with loveliness.” 1
It touches your heart to discover that Love is responsible for covering the earth“including you”with loveliness. And you feel ashamed to deny your own beauty. After all, isn’t denying your God-given glory the same as denying God’s love for you? Maybe you still struggle with the idea that you’re beautiful, but you know God loves you. It’s time to acknowledge every facet of that love.
You’re learning other things about beauty, too. Like the fact that there isn’t material beauty and spiritual beauty. If God, Spirit, is All-in-all, then beauty could never exist in matter; it must be completely spiritual. That was what your mom had been trying to tell you all along—that the beauty you had was yours by reflection, just like everyone else’s. The day you grasp this for yourself, it seems like you’re looking at everyone, yourself included, with new eyes.
As for that adamant belief about your own unattractiveness? It vanishes. Suddenly, effortlessly, you feel beautiful—and it doesn’t take a mirror to tell you that you are. Still, even the mirror offers a changed view. The acne is gone, replaced by something more precious than clear skin alone. For the first time in your life, you’re living with the knowledge that God loves you enough to create you in Her likeness. Beautiful. Always.
- Science and Health p. 247 ↩
Topics: Beauty, Identity, Self-esteem, Topics in Focus | Tags: acne, attractiveness, physical beauty