Happiness - Is It Being at Ease in Our Bodies?
We often tend to regard someone who feels comfortable within themselves with a certain admiration and envy. Our bodies are sometimes an embarrassment to us. Too small or too big, too fat or too thin. We treat them with contempt; we try to forget about the nuisance they cause us. Some have difficulty in accepting their sex and try to hide all signs of femininity or masculinity. Others embark on an unlimited quest to adorn themselves, to make themselves acceptable in the eyes of others. We are exposed to so much publicity, fashion magazines and styles which propose ideals and models for self-fulfilment. Happiness seldom results.
Why is this, one may ask? My body has a meaning. My appearance, attitude, words, dress and the colours which I wear, express who I am. And even if my body does not reveal everything about me, it is nevertheless through my body that I have the first contact with others and with the environment.
It may be that I am afraid of the other person because I am unsure of myself and really don't know who I am. Maybe I am afraid of being judged by others. Or is it that I don't really like myself as I am? I may not be loved. I'd rather hide myself than be seen.
There is, however, in every person a beauty that may not be obvious at first sight. It's worthwhile bringing this beauty to the light of day, and developing it in order to be more ourselves. For the body is as unique as every person. There is no one else who is like me. My unique personal style says something about me and shows my originality.
The way to this harmony is to be profoundly reconciled with myself. This takes time, but it is certainly easier, when I know and believe that God wanted me as I am. This is the meaning of happiness - to accept ourselves in truth and to face others as we are. When I am reconciled with my body, I can express myself more freely, unhindered in showing my attributes and my uniqueness. What a wonderful prospect to be able to work at becoming ourselves - and God will help us if we let Him.
Do you not know
that you are God's temple
and that God's Spirit dwells in you?
(1 Cor 6:19)
For a long time I rejected my body because of burn scars on my shoulder that I had since I was a child. The older I became the more conscious I was of the looks people gave me when I wore my bathing suit or a summer dress. Then came adolescence, the time when unknown to me, my body changed. It seemed even more of a stranger to me.
A few years later, I moved to Paris; I became an avid reader of women's magazines in which you couldn't turn a page without seeing the "ideal" or "perfect" woman. Advertisements everywhere on billboards exalted the bodies of women. I reached the point that I could not bear myself. Furthermore, I was obsessed not to gain an ounce of weight so that people would complement me on my slimness...This made life unbearable!
It was in this context that I had a change of heart. One of the first things I discovered was that true beauty is of the heart. I realized little by little that the rejection of my body concealed a very profound need to love and be loved. The moment I believed the Lord desired to fulfil this expectation, I finally managed to accept myself the way I was. I intend to marry and I still worry about my body because I know men are sensitive. However, I ask God to help me keep my body in the right perspective and not be enslaved by it. I pray that He'll develop the beauty in my heart and help me to radiate it.
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