She stared at herself in the thousand pieces of the mirror. In the candlelight her skin was the unreal color of wax statues. Miguel began to caress her and she saw her face transformed in the kaleidoscope of the mirror, and she finally believed that she was the most beautiful woman in the universe because she was able to see herself with Miguel’s eyes.
If you look like your passport, you’re too ill to travel
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.]” And in the kingdom of God, the real you is “more precious than rubies.” 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.”
You can’t be a life saver if you look like all the other swimmers on the beach.
This is obvious with tennis or piano playing, where it is impossible to pretend. But it is not so obvious in emotional and spiritual areas. We can "pose" and put on a friend. We can pretend. And "for a while" we can get by with it - at least in public or on "one-night stands." We might even decieve ourselves. Yet, I believe that most of us know the truth of what we really are inside, as do some of those we live with and work around.
To relate effectively with our wife, husband, or children requires emotional strength, because we must learn to listen. Listening involves patience, openness and the desire to understand. And when we are really open, we run the risk that we may be changed - we may be influenced. And if we are so sure that we are gith, we don't wan to change. We find it easier ot be closed and to tell and dictate. It is easier to operate from our day two emotinal level and to give day six advice.
Now, Instead of skill or knowledge growth, let us consider the internal growth (emotional and spiritual) of an individual. Let us say, for instance, that a particular mother is at day five intectually (to use the analogy of the six days of creation) but at day two emotionally. Everything is okay when the sun is shining or when things go well. But what happens when fatigue and/or the pressure of screaming kids, diapers, dishes and telephones join together? Or struggling with uncooperative teen-agers and a husband who is always gone?
This emotionally immature mother may find herself absolutley enslaved to the emotions of anger, impatience, and criticalness. She may find herself incapable of acting upon what she knows in her mind is right, because of the built-in, ingrained habit of losing her temper. All this adds to her guilty feeling. And yet in public, when things are going well, one may never detect this internal deficency, this emotional immaturity. She has a good mind and seems to be patient and in control.
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