“I Don’t Like the Way I Look”

by Camila Galvez - August 2, 2021

It is easy to compare ourselves and our looks with the most beautiful people in the world. This is not what God wants us to do.

It is becoming easier and easier to compare ourselves with women in the media—beautiful women who seem to have perfect bodies and no issues with their appearance. We sometimes feel that if we could just make certain changes in our physique and appearance, we could look more like them and feel more confident.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with physical beauty. The Bible describes many women as “beautiful,” such as Sarah in Genesis 12:11, Rebekah in Genesis 24:16, and Rachel in Genesis 29:17.

The questions I’ve struggled with

Is it wrong to want to look beautiful? Does this make me guilty of vanity? Will God be angry with me for wanting to look prettier?

These are some of the questions I asked myself throughout my teen years.

I remember when I was 12 years old, I started to pay more attention to my figure. It all started one day when my older sister (who is five years older) lent me one of her blouses. When I put it on, I realized that it was too tight on me. I felt a bit ashamed, because my sister was much taller, and that shirt was loose-fitting on her.

From then on, I started to pay attention to what I ate, how clean I looked, whether my hair looked good or not, and whether my teeth were clean.

Because of my efforts to improve myself, my negative view of myself began to decrease.

I realized that by taking care of those details, I felt better and more confident.

Not enough

Nevertheless, when I was about 15 years old, I noticed that I still felt insecure. From time to time I felt that I was not smart enough, or that I did not know about many topics that seemed basic for some people. I started to read some classic books to be able to talk about certain topics more intelligently.

That helped me a lot, too, but I still did not feel confident. I prayed to God for His help to feel more confident, physically and also in my intellect.

After that prayer, there was a radical change. I felt more comfortable with my looks and confident of being able to hold a conversation. Thanks to this confidence, my attitude also changed, and since then I no longer have problems with not liking the way I look. I tried to do my part by making efforts to exercise at least three times a week, eat healthily, have a reading plan, and of course, and most importantly, pray.

The story of Jacob, Leah and Rachel

When I read the story of Jacob, Leah and Rachel, I tend to imagine that Leah had a negative view of herself.

At the beginning of her story in the Bible, it talks about Jacob falling completely in love with beautiful Rachel, her younger sister, to the point that Jacob was willing to work for seven years to marry her. During those seven years, there is no record in the Bible of anyone desiring to marry Leah.

At the end of Jacob’s seven years of hard work, the day of his marriage to Rachel arrived, but Laban tricked Jacob and exchanged her for Leah. He used a local custom of the oldest daughter marrying first as an excuse for deceiving Jacob. 

Jacob, deeply angry, talked to the girls’ father, and the father agreed to give Rachel to him in marriage, on the condition that he work for him for another seven years.

Jacob accepted, but he made a clear distinction between the sisters. He loved Rachel more than Leah, and Leah, as far as we can see, suffered because of this.

I imagine that Leah was constantly comparing herself to her sister and, for that reason, felt unloved and insecure.

Comparing ourselves

Leah may have made the same mistake that most of us probably make from time to time—comparing ourselves to someone else.

I think this is something very different from having role models. It is certainly something fundamental to have the right role models that inspire us to improve in certain aspects, but it is not healthy to compare ourselves with other people. That can lead us to envy and ultimately to becoming bitter.

Godly confidence

It is normal to sometimes not feel pretty enough, but that’s when we can ask God to help us to feel better about our looks, not to be vain, and to help us grow in character (which is what really matters).

God does not want us to be afraid to ask things, or afraid to talk to new people, or afraid to make mistakes because of a lack of security. Our part includes praying, putting effort into eating healthy, studying, reading, exercising and building better relationships with those around us.

Camila Galvez is a member of the Church of God, a Worldwide Association, from Santiago, Chile. She is currently studying at Foundation Institute in McKinney, Texas.

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