The Worth of a Woman is Not Physical

Take a look around. Doesn’t it seem like EVERYTHING is physical? If it’s not about sex, it’s about your body, or beauty. If it’s not about your job, it’s about your wealth. If it’s not about your achievements it’s about popularity. We measure everything physically.

In a talk called “One Thing Needful: Becoming Women of Greater Faith in Christ”, Patricia T. Holland stated:

“Surely there has not been another time in history when women have questioned their self-worth as harshly and critically as in the second half of the twentieth century. Many women are searching, almost frantically, as never before, for a sense of personal purpose and meaning. . .Satan has effectively [caught] us in the crunch of trying to be superhuman instead of striving to reach our unique, God-given potential within [our] diversity.”

I believe that the root of this malady is that women have placed their sense of worth, their value as women, completely in the physical realm. We can’t easily measure how much we love or how pure we are, but we can easily measure our waistlines and how clean our houses are, how perfectly we decorate for a party, or how symmetrical our faces are. We have countless media images, or neighbors, to compare ourselves to as we determine whether or not we are “measuring up”.

For years I have struggled with the beauty trap, feeling ugly, or less than, because of specific features on my face, a growing waistline, shrinking chest or fine hair. My stomach wasn’t flat enough, my rear end wasn’t round enough. If it’s a body part and you can compare it, I probably have. Whether it’s physical features or our status as mothers or homemakers or career women, we compare ourselves in physical ways to no end. And it’s diminishing us.

It is not in pretended or superficial “perfection” that we find the purpose, meaning and the acceptance we truly long for. The true beauty and the power of womanhood is found in our diversity, our purity and inherent divine nature.

When we seek to add substance to our souls we find meaning. When we seek to lift, share and serve others we find purpose. We must nurture our diversity, for in doing so we bring balance and beauty to the world. God created this earth in splendid diversity because he loves variety. Variety serves to bring joy to all. We don’t all find pleasure in the same things, therefore variety creates opportunities for joy among God’s diverse children.

What would happen if women stopped criticizing themselves and treated themselves with compassion? What if we complimented our successes instead of worrying that they were somehow lacking? What if we realized that what we look like has nothing to do with our ability to be happy? What if we applauded our fellow sisters for their beauty, talent and success without feeling diminished? What would happen then? What would life look like?

Every natural physical thing fades, decays, dies. What is left is the soul. If it has been neglected, cankered with envy, jealousy, bitterness what will our countenance show when we are old? Beauty? Light? His image?

Our focus determines our fate. Who do you want to be when the children are gone, the career is over, the beauty of youth is a faint memory and the house is suddenly too big to keep clean? What fear are you gripping, believing, nurturing that keeps you tied in the harsh self-critical chains of insecurity, holding back and feeling lost? Take time to consider these questions. If your actions, thoughts, habits of today will not support the woman you want to see in the mirror in 10, 20, 30 years down the road, perhaps a course correction is in order. All things are possible through Christ which strengtheneth us (Philippians 4:13). And through the power of his Atonement we can become women of strength, confidence, and lasting beauty with lives of meaning, purpose and variety that build, balance and bless the world.