Recently, I have been hearing the topic of “chastity” everywhere. I have found so much encouragement through reading Jason and Crystalina Evert’s books and hearing my youth group talks about the “Feminine Genius.”
However, at school (and on Instagram) it’s a whole different story. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good ol’ girl gushing sesh, but it hurts me to hear some of the ways girls pin their values on guys. There’s this idea that if a guy doesn’t like you, then you must not be pretty enough, or cool enough, or good enough in general.
This idea is contagious. It drives me insane that guys never notice me or complement how I look. I start to wonder, what makes the other girls stick out more than me? It becomes some kind of competition or standard that I feel that I have to live up to.
But this isn’t any way to live. How can us women hang our values on things like this? Why do we get so caught up in being valued by someone else? Especially if it’s only in this physical way?
I think it may be a combination of two things.
First, as women we recognize beauty and we want it to recognize us back. Deep down we all want to be liked and accepted (obviously), but it means different things to each person. Maybe you want to receive the most awards, get the best grades, be the most popular, be the best cook, have the prettiest hair, or write a book. Whatever it is, every women wants to accomplish something to take pride in. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
It’s just that sometimes I feel that I constantly want people to notice me and be amazed. This is where things get poisonous. I constantlywant people to notice me. This is one of the biggest reasons women hang their values on men. They recognize beauty and acceptance as being something men can give. We want to matter. We want to be noticed as beautiful; to be loved.
But here comes the crucial second part: this kind of beauty isn’t perfectly beautiful at all. There is a brokenness to it. And it doesn’t lead to the love we are ultimately seeking behind the beauty.
It takes work to maintain a relationship no matter how beautiful it starts out as. Girls sometimes jump into relationships with too much expectation of perfection and underestimate the amount of work that goes into love. Especially here, at the high school age, girls often forget the standards they have to uphold for themselves in order to get a taste of true beauty in love.
We are all seeking a human relationship that will completely fulfill us. A relationship like every Disney princess has, or like your favorite fictional character, or like the cute pictures you see on Instagram. The truth is, we won’t find this in human relationships—even the most perfect Insta photos have stories of pain behind those smiles. We can only find complete satisfaction with God. And because we ourselves are human, this fulfillment in God will have ups and downs too. God is always seeking us, but we are imperfect. Yet, the more I hide my heart in God, the more fulfilled I am.
Prayer is essential. The more I know God, the more I love Him. The more I love Him, the more I love myself because of His love for me. The more I love myself the more I love my neighbor as myself. So many girls forget to love themselves before they start dating someone. Yet, when you are with someone, that individual will not fulfill you. No matter how beautiful they are.
There is only one true Beauty—and it doesn’t come from the approval of men. Seek and commit yourself to the One who is Beauty itself. Let Him remind you of your true worth. Then look to share that beauty, joy, and love with other people.
Maddy Zilligen is a seventeen-year-old high school student. She’s also Catholic… which provides interesting insights to many of the things that go on in a normal high-schooler’s life. She has a wonderful loving family, lots of homework, a positive outlook on life (most of the time), and a big sweet tooth. Trying out blogging, for her, is a way to speak about the small struggle, yet big blessing, of being Catholic in a world that isn’t. All she really wants to accomplish, is to share some encouragement.