Q&A: Questions and Answers


Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

Some people are telling me I’m pretty, but I don’t believe them, because every time I look in the mirror I see someone who is ugly. Who should I believe?

New Era

Your problem seems to be one of confidence. You doubt those around you and choose to judge yourself against some standard of beauty you do not reach. You seem to be ignoring your good qualities. How is that fair to yourself? You need to learn to see the good in yourself that others see.

We know from the scriptures that the Lord does not look on the outward appearance; rather he sees us as we really are. In 1 Samuel 16:7 [1 Sam. 16:7] it says, “For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”

We can have the same experience. There may be people you meet who may not be physically attractive, but as you know them better, you are attracted to the beauty of their personality and the goodness that is in them. Throughout this life and into the next, this beauty is the only kind that lasts.

As with everything that causes us problems, we should look to the example set by the Savior’s life. In Isaiah 53:2 [Isa. 53:2] it was prophesied of Christ, “When we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.” In other words, the thing that attracted the early followers of Christ to him was not his physical appearance; they were drawn to the beauty of who he really was. But while he lived on earth, those who heard him teach and followed his example were able to see true eternal beauty, while those who refused to listen and turned away saw nothing because their hearts were closed.

One of the mistakes you may be making is thinking that if one physical attribute were different, that would make you happy. It doesn’t work that way. The world’s definition of beauty keeps changing with fashion and on the whims of culture. You cannot keep up because this type of beauty keeps changing and does not endure.

Also, if you notice those who seem to have those features you think of as beautiful, their looks don’t necessarily bring happiness. For example, one young girl had great physical beauty. When she walked in a room of strangers, people stopped talking. They seemed in awe of her looks. Boys she didn’t know would stop her and ask for her telephone number. Attention and opportunities came to her just because of how she looked. She was popular and had friends. But in speaking with a Young Women leader, she confessed that her good looks sometimes made her uncomfortable. She explained that she didn’t know if people liked her for herself or because she was pretty. Sometimes friends were only friendly for a short time. She didn’t trust any of the young men who approached her because she felt they didn’t really want to get to know her; they just seemed to want to go out with her because of her looks. Instead of making her happy, her beauty made her feel insecure because she wondered if people would still like her if she weren’t beautiful.

Pay attention to the people you trust who tell you the good things about yourself. Believe what they tell you. Then if they kindly tell you some things you need to change, don’t get hurt or angry. They only want what is best for you.

Learning how to make good choices and follow the teachings of Christ will affect how people see you. The beauty of your soul will radiate from you, and people will notice and appreciate this inner beauty. This type of beauty is not vain. You may not see it when you examine your face in the mirror, but it’s the kind of beauty that the Lord intended for each of us to have.

Readers

One day I prayed to Heavenly Father and told him how I felt about myself. In that quiet room he let me know who I am—a daughter of God—and that I am pretty in his sight and in others’. I suggest you pray and find out who you are, and you will find you are special, beautiful, and have many other good qualities, and He loves you.

Venessa Marie Ford Safford, Arizona

I strongly feel that you should believe in yourself that you are pretty because the Lord has made us adorable in different ways.

Joanna Tubuna, 22 Suva, Fiji

I’m not so good with words, but when I tell someone that they’re pretty, and they say, “Yeah, right,” or “Sure, pal,” I start feeling sad because they feel that way. Start being optimistic. If you look for the beauty around, you’ll see beauty everywhere and in yourself.

Steven Bruce, 16 Sparwood, British Columbia, Canada

Believe in yourself; that’s more important than having a pretty face. You must believe that God made us all spiritually beautiful.

Isworo Abikarti, 18 Solo, Indonesia

When someone says you look pretty, instead of responding, “No I’m not,” you should say, “Thank you.” You are a child of God, and no child of God is ugly. Remember one of the scripture mastery scriptures from the Old Testament, “For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). It’s what’s inside that matters most.

Jared Grigg, 18 Idaho Falls, Idaho

You are beautiful because “He hath made every thing beautiful” (Eccl. 3:11). The next time you look in the mirror, tell yourself that you are pretty instead of ugly. Keep doing this and eventually you will be able to believe other people.

Kimberly Skinner, 14 Kearns, Utah

[photo] Photography by Bryant Livingston; posed by model

[illustration] Appearance has never been important to the Lord. He made us and loves us all. He is more concerned with what we are on the inside. Over a thousand years before Christ’s birth, the prophet Samue wrote, “For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). (Painting Hannah Presenting Her Son Samuel to Eli, by Robert T. Barrett.)