Monday, April 28, 2014

Compliments

Man, sorry I haven't posted in so long! I mean, it's not like anyone has noticed, but I still feel like I should apologize. Finals week, unpacking a million boxes from college, and searching for a job has kept me pretty busy. But things are settling down a bit now, so hopefully I'll be able to write more often.

I was watching SoulPancake on Youtube (again) and I found a new video that repeated a valuable lesson we all know, but probably need to be reminded about. Complimenting those we love.



I know telling someone you appreciate them can be hard sometimes, even awkward. Believe me, I have never been the "touchy-feeling, compliment-giving" kind of person before. But whenever I express to someone how much they mean to me, it's never as uncomfortable as I think it's going to be, I feel great afterwards, and I notice my relationship with that person it strengthened so much. 

So next time you go out to lunch with your best friend, get ice cream with your sister, or say goodnight to your parents, just tell them thanks for everything they've done for you. It will mean a lot to you both. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Beautiful For Me

Girls and women in society today are constantly given reasons to be uncomfortable with themselves. It is disgusting and sad, but it's just the way life is right now. 

We are surrounded with images of "flawless" women. Tall, flat stomachs, about 3% body fat- you know what I'm talking about. 

(Quick side note: I'm not saying women with nice bodies aren't real- there are a lot of people with incredible dedication to fitness and healthy living who have great bodies out there. Women who are living a very healthy lifestyle should be praised for their commitment to themselves. Eating disorders can result in "nice looking" bodies, but lead to terrible results. That, however, is another topic entirely that I will focus on another time.)

The thing that is so misleading about these magazine cover models is that absolute flawlessness of them. Sure, some people really are a size 2, but no one has perfectly shaped legs, tanned and glistening all the time, with zero sign of cellulite. And some women really are lucky enough to not struggle with acne, but no one has not a single blemish or wrinkle or smudge of uneven skin tone on their face. 

I understand that companies are trying to sell things, and this is how they're going to get the best sales. If I see a gorgeous woman wearing a certain dress, I automatically think that I am going to look like her if I wear that dress. I mean, it's a great marketing strategy.

The problem, however, is that these strategies are given women an unrealistic idea of what beauty is. Here's the scenario: A woman looks at the cover of a magazine and sees a flawless, Photoshopped model wearing a bikini. That woman can buy that exact same bikini, she can do her makeup the same way the model did, she can even cut and dye her hair to look like the model. She can work out and eat less to get a thinner body, she can get a tan, she can get her teeth whitened, and paint her nails, all just like the model. But she is NEVER going to look exactly like that model. Why? Besides the fact that she's a different person, the model she saw on the magazine cover is not a real person. Sure, the original picture they took was, but the process that happens after that photograph is incredible. I've taken a photography class, and my professor showed us just a glimpse of what photoshop can do, and I was shocked at how easy it is to change so much about someone. This actually happens.

Here's that popular Dove video you've probably seen already. But the message is just as strong.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U


So what do we do about it? I don't want to you sit here and feel like you have to start a movement (but if you want to, go for it). That wasn't my goal today. The point I wanted to get across is that you are beautiful, just the way you are. I know that is really hard to believe sometimes. I struggle with my body image every single day. But please know that God made you exactly how He wanted to. He doesn't make mistakes. And He know that you are more beautiful than you can ever imagine. 

There's a song I really like that emphasizes this message really well. It's called "Beautiful for Me" by Nichole Nordeman. This video has some Veggie Tales mixed in, but that's the only good one I could find because it was sung on one of their shows. Either way, listen closely to the lyrics. It is my go-to song whenever I feel down about myself. 


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orc4TuIO56s


And because the lyrics are so wonderful, here they are:

Every girl young and old has to face her own reflection
Twirl around, stare it down
What’s the mirror gonna say
With some luck, you’ll measure up
But you might not hold a candle to the rest
“Is that your best?” says the mirror to Little Miss
But there’s a whisper in the noise
Can you hear a little voice
and He says

Has anybody told you you’re beautiful?
You might agree if you could see what I see
Oh
‘Cuz everything about you is incredible
You should have seen me smile the day that I made you beautiful for me

If it’s true beauty lies in the eye of the beholder
I want my life and what’s inside to give Him something to behold
I want a heart that’s captivating
I wanna hear my Father saying...

Has anybody told you you’re beautiful?
You might agree if you could see what I see
Oh
‘Cuz everything about you is incredible
You should have seen me smile the day that I made you beautiful for me
Close your eyes
Look inside
Let me see the you that you’ve been trying to hide
Long ago, I made you so very beautiful
So I ought to know you’re beautiful

Has anybody told you you’re beautiful?
You might agree if you could see what I see
Yeah
‘Cuz everything about you is incredible
You should have seen me smile the day that I made you beautiful
You’re so beautiful
Beautiful for me
So beautiful for me
Has anybody told you?




(Mercy River does a really great cover of this song as well.)

This is a topic that is very important to me, so I hope you can all keep it in your mind. You are incredibly and infinitely beautiful. I don't really know how else to say it. Please remember that. 


Monday, April 7, 2014

General Conference

This past weekend was one of my favorite weekends of the whole year- General Conference!

Twice a year, in April and October, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints holds a conference where members of the church gather for several two-hours sessions to hear inspiration and instruction from the leaders of the church. Members and nonmembers alike are welcome to come to the conference center in Salt Lake City, UT to view the conference live if they have tickets, which are free but must be requested because so many people want to go. General Conference is also broadcasted on several TV and radio stations, and all the messages are available online afterwards.

Learn more about general conference here.

Even if you are not a member of the church, these messages are very beautiful and I can guarantee they will inspire you to be a better person. The men and women that speak are kind, honest, spiritual, and have wonderful integrity. They care very much about their topics and the people they are speaking to, and you will be able to tell that if you watch them. 

To view this past weekend's messages, click here

All of the messages were wonderful. If you are wondering which talks to listen to, some of my favorite speakers are Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, President Thomas S. Monson, President Henry B. Eyring, and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. Other talks that really stood out to me were by Linda S. Reeves, Elder Richard G. Scott, Elder Claudio D. Zivic, Elder Boyd K. Packer, and Elder Neil L. Anderson. But again, all were amazing.

To learn more about today's prophets and apostles, click here.

There is a reason Mormons get so excited for General Conference. It really is wonderful. I promise that if you sincerely listen to the messages and ponder them, you will get a lot out of these words, whether you are a member or not. 

However, if you want to learn more about the LDS church, click here.

Or here.
Or here.

Or see my personal Mormon.org profile here.