Tell me you haven't heard that one before.
|Now that's ugly...|
And even though we mean well when we say it, we know somewhere inside of us that what's on the outside does matter, even if we don't want it to.
Just take a look at what's popular in media: clothes (which make us look good), food (which we're trying to figure out how to eat in a healthy manner so we can look good), and exercise (which, once again, most of us do to look good).
Let's face it: looks matter. They shouldn't, but they do. And I'm definitely guilty of this. Just check out my 52 goals for the year! Sure, I want to gain weight to be healthy, but I'm motivated mostly by the fact that I'll look healthier if I gain the weight I need. I say it's just so I'll feel better, but I want to look better too.
I wonder, though, if the adage about "what's on the inside" means more than we give it credit for. I especially wondered this yesterday, because I almost did it.
I was almost ugly. Butt ugly, in fact.
I had an appointment with the eye doctor, and it happened without much fanfare. However, every time I'm with any sort of medical professional, they ask about my medical history. And unless, for some peculiar season, they've read about Thing 1, Thing 2, or Thing 3 (my trifecta of chronic illnesses) on my blog, they have no clue what they're asking about.
Now I don't mind sharing about my illnesses. In fact, I enjoy it. However, afterward, I always seem to get down on myself. "I'm not as healthy as I should be," I think. "I should've taken better care of myself when I was younger," I remind myself. The thoughts keep coming, and eventually I've dug myself a hole that I can't see out of.
Yesterday, though, I didn't do it. I didn't get ugly. And I'm stoked to tell you about it.
God sent me a couple of reminders of why I didn't need to get ugly. The first was in this blog post from The Handwritten (a blog I just recently discovered). There, God reminded me that I'm really not mad at him for making me how I am. And though I seem like I might be contradicting myself, I know that I like who I am and how I was made.
I enjoy having flipped around insides and a plastic tube in my body that you can see, touch, and even press in. And on a rare occasion, I don't mind having a rare lung disease that no one can pronounce and that won't even be recognized by the upcoming ICD-10 coding system (a diagnostic manual that doctors use to diagnose illness).
The second reminder came when I watched the movie The Help (which I highly recommend, by the way). At one point in the movie, one of the maids is talking with the main character, Skeeter, in a flashback. Skeeter is devastated because she hasn't been asked to the school dance, and she tells the maid that the boys think she's ugly. Constantine, the maid, responds beautifully:
"Oh, you quit feelin' sorry for yourself. Now, that's ugly. Ugly is somethin' that grows up inside you. It's mean and hurtin', like them boys. Now, you're not one of them, is you?"
It's when you're feeling sorry for yourself that you're at your ugliest.
Actually, scratch that.
It's when I am feeling sorry for myself that I am at my ugliest.
I've been there. I've done that. I've dug that hole and buried myself in it more than once. And I'm sick of it.
I'm sick of feeling sorry for myself.
I'm tired of pretending like I'm mad at the way God made me.
I'm done being ugly.
I know this is something I struggle with, and I'm thinking maybe one or two people reading this might as well. If you're in the same boat as me, don't feel bad - that's how we got there in the first place.
Instead, join me today in deciding to be who we are without regret.
To be who we are without envying what we aren't.
To be who we are without being ugly.
... ... ...
Questions: How do you devalue yourself? What tends to bring you down the most? What can you do today to intentionally avoid feeling sorry for yourself?
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photo credit: Ayla87 - sxc.hu