I can’t look at myself, she said.

The other day I received an email from a young woman who couldn’t bare to look at her reflection in the mirror, window, shadow or any body of water. My heart ached as I proceeded to read her eloquently composed words.

Our culture today is polluted with a cesspool of lies fueling young woman’s minds and hearts into believing that happiness rests in looking a certain way or reaching an “ideal weight.”

Our culture is plagued with false truths about beauty and self-image because often times women don’t know what their true and lasting identity lies in. Confused, women turn to the media for reassurance and guidance. And what does the media tell them? It tells them that in order to be considered beautiful they need to look like the latest ninety-five pound manufactured celebrity on the cover of People Magazine. So, because of society, countless women strive after false beauty, perishable fame and attempt to quench their thirst for happiness with fleeting pleasures. But Truth tells women that lasting beauty stems from virtue and character, which is found within.

In regards to looking at yourself in the mirror – that was so hard for me as well. And I completely understand how you feel. I wanted to suggest that each morning when you look at yourself in the mirror, instead of being hard on yourself and seeing all of your imperfections to say the following – Father in Heaven, please show me the dignity I possess as Your daughter. I’m beautiful because I’m your daughter, created in Your image and likeness, show me the beauty You see. Show me how precious I am in Your eyes, for I long to see it. 

Do the following each day as well:

1. Look at yourself as a whole person, don’t just focus on bodies parts you don’t like.

2. Find a method of exercise that you enjoy and do it to enhance your body’s health and function, not to burn as many calories as you possibly can.

3. Make a list of 5 positive things about yourself, excluding appearance and keep the list in a visible location – example: bulletin board, desk, locker, gym bag, Bible or refrigerator.

4. Wear comfortable modesty clothes that fit your body, work with your body, not against it.

5. Make the choice to see beauty in your body (temple of the Holy Spirit).

6. Don’t restrict, eat when you are hungry and learn to recognize your hunger cues, so as to avoid binging.

7. Don’t over exercise, learn to give your muscles and body rest when you are tired.

8. Surround yourself with positivity and friends that will support you in your journey of recovery.

9. Put a Post-it/index card on the mirror in your bathroom that reads, I’m beautiful because I’m a daughter of God, created in His image and likeness.

10. Have a role model and learn from them.

11. When you see a ninety-five pound model on the front of a magazine, remind yourself that they aren’t happy and that their appearance doesn’t radiate true beauty.

12. Protest things that you see in the media that fuel poor body image.

13. Take time everyday to thank God for your cross and all that He has blessed you with.

14. Every morning when you wake up, look in the mirror and say, Father, I’m beautiful because I’m your daughter. Please show me the beauty You see, show me how precious I am – I long to see it. Even if you don’t feel like saying this, do it anyway.

15. Be patient and kind to yourself. Remember, sometimes you are your own worst enemy.

16. Tell yourself that you are worthy of love. In fact, the Father adores you and created you in His very image and likeness.


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2 thoughts on “I can’t look at myself, she said.

  1. “Father in Heaven, please show me the dignity I possess as Your daughter. I’m beautiful because I’m your daughter, created in Your image and likeness, show me the beauty You see. Show me how precious I am in Your eyes, for I long to see it.”

    I think of this everytime I think something negative about myself. I am always beautiful in every moment. The more I said it to myself, the more I started to believe it.

  2. Great list of things to do. I might suggest that some young women may find it helpful to choose just a couple of Maura’s points from the list to work from in the beginning so as not to be overwhelmed. It may also help to ask God for the gift of faith to believe those important truths that Maura listed. “I believe, help my unbelief” would be a simple prayer to add.

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