Let’s talk about beauty.
If you live in the world today and are exposed to any sort of social media, then you’re probably aware of what the world’s beauty standards are. Whenever I happen to scroll on social media platforms, I’m always in awe of how perfect everyone seems. Perfect skin. Perfect bodies. Perfect teeth. Perfectly microbladed eyebrows. I’ve found that the more you expose yourself to these images of “perfection”, the easier it is to believe that it is truly real. As I scrolled on Instagram one night, I came across a page that was centered around skin—acne prone skin specifically. I was instantly fascinated because I have struggled with acne for a very long time, and it has been an insecurity that has kept me in bondage for many years. I sat in awe as I scrolled through hundreds of photos of a young woman openly embracing and flaunting her acne prone skin. The more photos that I saw of this young woman openly sharing and celebrating her skin, I began to think about how difficult it would have been for me to do the same—especially on those days when my skin was at its worst. I would have never had the confidence or the courage to post a photo of my unfiltered skin. Never. Instead, I would make it my business to edit my blemishes, or to not post a photo at all. When I finally logged off of Instagram, I thought a lot about why it is that I felt the need to hide my blemishes with a filter. Why couldn’t I be confident like the young lady I just saw? I thought about how many times in my life I hid behind a filter. The more I thought about it, I realized that I was projecting to the world a false perception of who I am.
How many times do we do this as women, and even men? We filter our insecurities, and make it seem as though we are blemish-free, when we’re truly not. At this point, I’m not simply speaking about skin anymore. Many of us filter our bodies. If we take a photo, we will refuse to post it until our shapes resemble a coke bottle. Many of us even filter our personalities. We hide parts of ourselves that we believe the other person will not like, instead of being who we truly are. We lie. We pretend. We put on masks. Oftentimes, we do this so much that we cannot decipher in ourselves what is real and what is not. The more I thought about my own experiences, the more I realized that I don’t want to live my life projecting a false version of myself to the world for the sake of seeming “perfect” or “put together” because in reality, none of us are. Truthfully, trying to seem perfect to the world is tiring, and ultimately, it is pointless because none of us are perfect, no matter how much energy we expend trying to be. As I spend time with Jesus, asking Him to help me love all of myself, I am realizing that I don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. I read passages of scripture like Psalm 139 and I am reminded of how valuable I am and how loved I am. God loves all of me, imperfections and all, therefore, I can learn to love all of me as well, imperfections and all. I don’t have to be perfect to be loved. I don’t have to be perfect to be desirable. I don’t have to have the perfect skin, or the perfect body.
I think the most beautiful thing a person can be is themselves, and I am grateful that God is teaching me just that. He is teaching me to live an unfiltered life—to be vulnerable when necessary so that others can be free. To walk outside without makeup on those days when my skin has a mind of its own. To share with people that I trust my struggles, so that they can pray with me and walk alongside me as I grow and heal. To show the world that our imperfections do not define us, and even with them, we are still valuable and beautiful.
In a world where filters are the norm, let’s seek to live an unfiltered life. Let us embrace our imperfections and allow the Lord to help us heal in areas where we need the healing. An unfiltered life is real life. I think it is about time that we get back to living real lives.