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Go Ahead and Look in the Mirror: The Divine Sees Your Beauty

body image inner beauty mirrors outer beauty May 20, 2024

Sometimes we ignore the body when talking about the soul. Maybe it’s because a lot of us don’t like what see in the mirror—regardless of one's gender—even if we’re okay with what’s inside. Shoring up one’s self-image is surely spiritual work. I believe with all my heart that God wants us to respect our bodies as the gifts they are, even if there are aspects we’d like to change.

Being insecure about my appearance caused me to shy away from cameras and mirrors for much of my life, though recently an old friend sent me a picture of the two us from some thirty-five years ago. We look young and happy and pretty enough.

“Man,” I texted her when I received the photo. “I wish I’d known how cute I was back then.” (I did not say “we” because my friend did not share my particular body insecurities.)

“I wish you had, too,” she responded.

This is not to say I would have won any beauty awards. But here’s the kicker: My actual appearance was not in line with how I saw myself. I wasn’t as fat or as awkward or as fill in the blank as I convinced myself I was. Doubting my body contributed to my shyness around boys, kept me away from cameras when friends were confident—and relaxed about—posing for the Polaroid, and resulted in my thinking less of myself somehow. Into my fifties—I’m sixty-two now—I shied away from dancing and swimming, for example, if others were around. Go for a walk with a friend in the woods? I’m your gal. Join a group learning to hula? Not so fast. I’m working on this, for I suspect that when one lets go of how one’s body is supposed to look or behave, one lets go of other hindrances (baggage/shame) as well. At least that’s what I hope, as a sixty-something woman trying to grow old with as much grace and confidence as she can muster.

Am I still self-conscious when I slide, creakily, into the water at the Y for a water aerobics class? Yes, yes I am. But not like I used to be and not in a way that makes me what to hide or shift my eyes away from my fellow splashers. I don’t compare myself to others like I used to. Part of that is due to this wondrous thing that can happen as you age: you no longer devote much time to worrying about what other people think of you. I still care, mind you. Just not about whether you think my new tummy-control bathing suit makes my hips look wide.

—Amy-Lyles Wilson, Wisdom Tree Collective Team Member

Prayer: Creator and Redeemer, you know that often we don’t see our own true worthiness because we’re so worried about what shows on the outside. Help us trust that we are enough just as we are, even if we want to lose ten pounds or have better hair or whiten our teeth. Remind us of our inherent beauty as children of God in such a way that we can show it to the world.

Journaling Prompt: How might I feel about my body if I saw myself as God sees me?

Resources:  Here are two links to check out if you’re interested. (Neither Wisdom Tree Collective nor I have an affiliation with these sites.) (I appreciated reading The Body Is Not an Apology, by Sonya Renee Taylor) and

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