When you look in the mirror, who do you see? Perhaps you see someone who could stand to lose a few pounds. Someone with imperfections that drive you crazy. Someone shorter than you’d prefer. Let me tell you a secret I have learned recently – mirrors lie. And they are kind of mean.
I could tell you not to trust a mirror. But really, is it not the eyes looking into the mirror that need the adjustment? Why are we so hard on ourselves? Why are we so quick to compare our flaws with other people’s strengths? Not only is it not fair, it is dangerous. I do not think anyone will argue that point. The question is then, what do we do about it?
We can start by pointing out the positive in other people. If we are all struggling to find the beauty within – and we know mirrors are of little use for this – then helping someone see her own strength may provide assistance. It certainly cannot hurt, right? If you are like me at all, you really do not need any help in finding weaknesses. But assets? Well, that is a different story.
While I agree this first step will not hurt I also concede it will do little in the long run. It will be like trying to draw water from a well after first dumping water into it. How effective is that? Flatteries of man are fleeting if we do not have something inside ourselves ready to receive and believe them.
Is it possible to quiet the inner-critic and bolster the confidence level in us? I am not referring to sinful pride but rather a healthy pride in ourselves. To be able to say: I know I am not perfect. I know I have weaknesses. I know I will fail a lot in the things I attempt to do in this life. But that is okay. Really. I know I am here for a reason. I know I have strengths. I know I can achieve good things. I know I have potential.
This is what I have found out. An answer like that cannot and will not ever come from outside influences. Outside voices tend to be critical and delve into comparison. We look at an air-brushed model on a magazine and think, “I need to look like that. If I looked like that then I would be happy.” We may not mean to. It just happens when we are bombarded with so many images all the time. There is never any rest from the world’s ideal images.
With the deluge of outside influences we look in the mirror and think, “I do not look like so and so. I do not have so and so’s talent for doing such and such. Why am I not like so and so? How can I possibly succeed without being as good as so and so?” Ugh! What a vicious train of thought we sometimes ride. Instead, we should interrupt the looming locomotive and say, “Wait, I am not so and so. I am me. So, there must be something pretty important I need to accomplish otherwise I would be so and so.” Then maybe we could jump the tracks and head somewhere pleasant.
That brings us back to the original question – how do we go about elevating our self-esteem? Outside voices will fall flat. They just do. It never works. The voice has to come from inside. And it has to be a voice we can trust. A voice we know will always speak the truth.
I am referring to the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Ghost. Imagine what kind of confidence well we could draw from if we allowed the Holy Ghost to speak truth to us. The truth of who we are. The truth of what we can accomplish. The truth of our potential.
This is so important that I have extended an invitation to some of the young women in my stake. But I did not stop there. I also extended it to some of the women in my life.
Here is the invitation – and feel free to join in if you would like to. I invite you to say at least one prayer a day asking to see yourself as Heavenly Father sees you. For thirty days.
I warn you it is not easy. You may not want to know. You may be scared to find out. There are forces that prefer you not to accept this invitation and will try to make you forget or will convince you it will not work. Do not listen.
Heavenly Father wants you to see yourself as He does. I truly believe He wants you to find this out. He wants His daughters to be confident daughters of God who rise above temptation, fulfill their potential, and make choices to return home to Him.
I believe the only way to fill our wells is to gain this knowledge – Spirit to spirit. Once we have learned this, felt this, and been shown this, it will not matter how loud the outside voices yell. We will know who we are and why we are here.
You might ask, “But why thirty days? Why not just one prayer?”
For some of us, it will take that long to listen. For others, it will take that long to believe.
That is my invitation and it is open to all. As I always say, what happens if you choose not to accept an invitation? Absolutely nothing.
But what will happen if you choose to accept?