I can't be your friend because you're too pretty

by - February 03, 2010

What is it about body image that emotionally confines us to living with our own preconceived ideas of people's character and their judgment of us? Generally, I am deluded enough to classify myself as a nonjudgmental woman, one who bases her friendships on character, common interests, shared humor, etc. However, recently I've found myself living out old high school insecurities about my physical appearance, allowing it to dictate how I approach other women and how I think they are approaching me.

I have lumped a whole group of women together and labeled them as "pretty girls" and decided that they all like each other because they are pretty and smile a lot and don't share my cynical and occasionally goofy humor. I've decided they don't pursue me because I am over-educated and nerdy and haven't ever spent more than $80 on a pair of jeans and mostly wear chacos or equally heel-less yet functional footwear. The ironies of my feelings and treatment of the pretty girls really hit me today. I want to be accepted and enjoyed by them, but I have judged them and kept them at bay. I want to be seen as pretty and friendly as them, but I feel like I am always out to prove I am not like them. It struck me that the reason I may not always be pursued is because they sense the harsh criticism in my eyes and feel that nasty woman-envy vibe emanating from my unmanicured fingertips.

It is frankly embarrassing that I, a 29 year old woman with a growing family, artsy hobbies and a PhD in engineering would be so petty. Sadly, education, sophistication and successful procreation do nothing for a person's character. As I look a little deeper into the state of my heart, I see that my harsh judgments and self-alienation are not based on personal insecurities. There is no truth to what I believe about the nature of the women that I have crudely labeled. It has nothing to do with my body image or the way I have been treated. I can't even blame it on pregnancy hormones. The problem is I fail to view myself and others through Jesus's eyes. I view other women comparatively and competitively rather than in celebration of the creativity of the Father in shaping each of our hearts, minds and bodies. I've allowed cultural stereotypes to sway my thinking. I've let a history of lies and hurts restrict my ability to be loving and accepting.

Just a few minutes ago, I was reading a post by my friend Courtney that really struck a chord in my heart. She had been struggling with her own nature of harsh thoughts and words and was convicted that her lack of understanding of the gospel was the root her problem. She wrote of how Jesus's work on the cross was not just to save us, but to transform us into His likeness. When I reflect on my recent struggles and emotions that have been bubbling up, I see that the gospel is the root of them. The only way to be transformed by Jesus is to stand before Him, to look at Him, to listen to Him. Recently, I have not drawn close, and as my last post discussed, I have not been as fervent to be near Him as I want to be.

I will never in my life be able to gain the confidence through humor, smarts, appearance, success that I need to be more loving and less judging towards other people. The whole, "gotta love yourself before you can love others" is complete crap in my book. I can only drop my guard and have a pure heart by drawing near to Jesus who does love perfectly.

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5 comments

  1. Amen sister! Check out Psalm 15, it's equally as convicting ... God hit me with this one last week.

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  2. Hallelujah! To me, you've always been one of those "pretty girls" I put in a category, but add to that "successful, creative, intelligent". That's why we need community - so we can speak truth into each other's private struggles. love ya.

    p.s. mmy word verification to post this comment was "coldfani." really? like chilly bottom?

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  3. I've been considering doing a study of scripture for all the verses where God talks about human beauty and what it looks like.... I think keeping who God says we are and what we are and what he says we should devote our time to will keep our focus more clearly on the gospel and redeeming what is lost.

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  4. Great post--it's funny--what I would give to be a part of your V21 circle and to feel accepted, but feel pretty insecure when it comes to approaching the group. I am glad I can keep up with y'all on blogs and FB but feel I need to add a little more meat to the bones if you know what I mean :)
    --First thing's first--be more active in the church!

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