When I was little, I was cute. I had almost unreasonably thick, unruly black hair, blue eyes, and tan skin from my love of playing outside. I knew it, but I didn’t really care. I loved other things and wanted to be more than just my looks.
When I started maturing, however, I developed a flaw. Along with acne came thick, dark hair on my arms and face and everywhere. I had a little mustache, dozens of hairs on my chin, and sideburns. My armhair, although not as thick as my dad’s, was embarrassingly dark.
So I started wearing jackets all the time in public and I was extremely conscious of where people’s eyes roamed on my face. I HATED the hairs on my face, and at some time or another, through my teen years, tried almost every single method there was to get rid of them. Waxing, bleaching, threading, creams, plucking, etc.
But as I grew, my hatred of my flaw lessened. I came to peace with it. I let the hairs grow and people noticed and sometimes commented on it.
So why am I okay with it now?
1. I realized most people didn’t notice. Do you notice when your friends wear the same outfit two days in a row? Maybe I’m weird, but I don’t. And most people, sadly enough, don’t notice other people. They’re too consumed in thinking about their own problems or their own appearance. “People will forget the way you look and the way you talked. But they will never forget the way you made THEM feel.”
2. Even when they do notice, good people don’t like you less for your physical flaws. If there’s a really nice person who makes you feel good, it doesn’t matter if they have a giant wart on the side of their giant nose. They become attractive psychologically, because they’re fun to be around. In fact, many people are intimidated by physical perfection or get annoyed by people who KNOW they’re “perfect.”
3. My best-friend-then-boyfriend-now-husband didn’t notice when it was all gone. When I waxed it all off for the first time, I expected my best friend to notice right away and fall madly in love with my facial perfection. But he didn’t. I had to tell him, and even when I did, he didn’t treat me differently. He was (and still is) convinced I’m the most beautiful girl in the entire world, regardless of the hairs on my chin.
4. A good friend at work “high-fived” me for my courage when I let the hairs grow. That was a big boost. I like to be clean, and I like to be pretty. But there are more important things to do. (For this reason, I also don’t wear make-up. I can’t justify the cost and don’t want to get started and be unable to stop.) And this lady complimented me once. She said I was one of the most beautiful girls on campus and to let the hairs grow was a real encouragement to her.
Bottom line: I’m the most self-conscious when I think about myself too much and not enough about others. Most people don’t really care what you look like. And people who care don’t have a life or purpose of their own. If you do have a life and purpose, think about that instead of what others are thinking about you. Chances are, they’re not. And when you have a driving passion, like loving others the way God loved them, then every other element on this planet comes behind it in importance.