We live in a culture obsessed with physical appearance. But the truth is that we can’t all be supermodels, and many of us are less than satisfied with our looks.
Sometimes, our physical faults are largely imaginary, a product of our own self-criticalness. And sometimes, those less-than-perfect aspects of our outward appearance are all too real. But either way, they should not get in the way of our finding companionship and romantic love.
If self-consciousness and lack of confidence are getting in the way of your dating life or your quest for love, here are some things to consider that might help you boldly venture forth to find that someone special.
A Catholic Environment is Your Friend
I think that in the secular dating world, this issue becomes even more difficult because a lot of your potential dates would end up being of the more shallow, physical appearance-obsessed variety. But in the realm of Catholic dating, you are much more likely to find a guy or girl who is looking for a personality and a faith life that meshes with theirs, first and foremost.
Though physical attraction between two Catholics is still obviously important for a healthy romantic relationship, a date with a fellow Catholic is more likely to be one where the other person is open to getting to know you and seeing if chemistry can develop. And the chance will be much slimmer that they’re only looking to date America’s Next Top Model.
Be Honest with Yourself
In order to really face a struggle with lack of confidence, you should start by taking a good look in the mirror. Maybe you’re not one hundred percent in love with what you see there, but I challenge you to find at least one aspect of your physical appearance that is attractive. Most likely, there are actually several, but it’s often hard to find them immediately when we’re deep in the habit of negative self-thought.
If you can find more than one, all the better. But start with at least one. Then, get a pen and paper. Yes, we’re making a list.
Some people, myself included, find an exercise like this to be kind of excruciating. But if you’re struggling with feeling unattractive, it can really help.
At the top of your list, write down the physically attractive component or components you found. And then, start thinking about what lovely, positive personality traits you can add to this list of your good qualities.
If you have trouble getting started, try thinking about your sense of humor, your compassionate heart, maybe your excellent insight into other people’s personalities. Are you a great listener? Are you awesome at getting things done? Can you make your family members or coworkers crack up while barely even trying?
It might feel narcissistic or self-centered to dwell on your good qualities like this. But it’s not. There is such a thing as legitimate self-love, and it’s a necessary step to work on if you’re struggling with confidence.
Take Your Struggles to Prayer
And now I’m going to play the “God” card.
You’re not allowed, as a good Catholic son or daughter of God, to legitimately think that you have no good qualities. You are created in God’s image. Think about that deeply. And bring your struggles to Him.
Try to take some time to talk to Him about all this. Make a trip to visit Him in Eucharistic Adoration if you can. And bring your list along. If you’ve struggled to even get a list started, bring your blank sheet of paper and ask Him to help you fill it in.
I’m not going to sugar-coat things and say that praying about it will make all your struggles go away. This might continue to be an ongoing issue for you in the future. But I firmly believe that you can’t really begin to get to that place of legitimate self-love that is the basis of confidence until you try to see yourself through God’s eyes and His love for you.
Try meditating on some Scripture for help with this. A good place to start might be Psalm 139, particularly 13-16:
“You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know. My bones are not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, fashioned in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw me unformed; in your book, all is written down; my days were shaped before one came to be.”
Sometimes, reading passages such as this one will not really hit you, and other times you’ll read something and it will catch, in a painful or perhaps even an I-don’t-want-to-think-about-this way. Take note of it when this happens, and go back to the passage that resonated often, asking God to help you understand what He’s saying to your heart and to bring healing.
When it comes down to it, this is the most important part of bringing struggles like these to prayer. If you humbly ask God to bring grace and healing to this part of your life, He will start to lead you on the path toward the confidence you need.