Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat? (Paperback)
• Why do clothing stores hang fun-house mirrors in their dressing rooms?
• The laundry doesn’t cry when it’s not folded, so why should I?
• Can I be confident even if an elevator calls me fat?
Michelle Wilson’s humorous yet poignant insights help women examine the limitations we place on ourselves out of insecurity and self-doubt. We have faith in God, but do we know that He has faith in us?
When we see ourselves with God’s eternal perspective, we can feel confident and whole—even in our imperfection. Just think what we might accomplish if we truly believe that we are more important than we know, stronger than we realize, and extraordinary in every way.
- Size: 5½" x 8"
- Pages: 176
- Year Published: 2013
About the Author
Michelle Wilson is a native of California. Through serving a
full-time mission, teaching seminary, Sunday School classes,
and speaking at various firesides and conferences, Michelle
has developed a love of the power and simplicity of the gospel.
She believes in the healing power of laughter and chocolate.
She and her husband, Jerey, are the parents of three children
and live in Washington State.
All the Little Leaves
The Power of Perspective
What we think…determines who we are-and who we will become.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Every day women are bombarded with temptations, demands, and decisions on the outside and troubled by unrealistic expectations, doubt, and fear on the inside. We are given the opportunity to choose what we will do, but all too often we second-guess those choices, allowing guilt, worry, and even shame to haunt us.
One of the many things I love about the gospel of Jesus Christ is how empowering it truly is. We know that with our God-given agency and through the miracle of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we have the power to direct our own lives. A friend of mine shared a quote in church that encapsulates this idea perfectly. She said, “What is to be is up to me.” We have the ability to overcome the bad and lay hold of the good. We have the right to decide who and what we will be, although it’s not always easy to see things that way.
Now, if you are thinking that this book will be an extended pep talk, you are partly right. We all need a good pep talk once in a while. In fact, the last chapter is titled “A Good Old-Fashioned Pep Talk,” and you may refer to it for a quick pick-me-up when you feel down.
But this book is more than a pep talk. Like the Book of Mormon prophet, Nephi, my soul delights in plainness (2 Nephi 31:3). This book contains a plain and simple yet profound message: We can find joy, peace, and confidence when we learn to see ourselves, others, and life through God’s eyes. Yes, there are some “rah rah!” and “you can do it!” elements sprinkled throughout this book. But it is really a call for women to stand up and be women and to shake off the false perceptions, insecurities, and doubts that hinder our happiness and keep us from fulfilling our divine responsibilities and potential.
We live in exciting times. Heavenly Father is directing a great work, and He needs us. He needs us to protect our families, to protect His standards, and to be a light in an ever-darkening world. He needs us to inspire and uplift, to edify and embrace those around us. We are more important than we know, stronger than we realize, and extraordinary in every way. He can see it, and I believe He wants us to see it, too. That’s what this book is about.
Having laid that foundation, I will tell you about the most magnificent pity party I ever had.
Pity Party on Aisle Nine
Pity parties are like Twinkies: even though they’re not good for us, sometimes we just can’t help ourselves. Through the years, I’ve had my share of pity parties of all kinds—big and small, long and short. Some come unexpectedly, and some come like clockwork—such as those that come each spring when it’s time to buy a new swimsuit. That’s always a tough day.
My “maturing” body has become a larger, Picasso-esque version of what it was twenty years ago. The cruel morphing of time and age, coupled with the conspiracy of every clothing store to hang the most horrific fun-house mirrors in their dressing rooms, has fueled the nightmare that is swimsuit shopping.
The swimsuit-shopping pity party takes the same course every year: I go to four or five different stores and try on dozens of swimsuits. I curse the devil for inventing spandex, which cuts into my hips like a rubber band wrapped too tightly around a water balloon. I painstakingly pull each swimsuit on, grimace at what I see in the mirror—aging body and drumstick legs pouring over the seams of that devil-spandex—and then work up a glisten of sweat as I peel each one off. When I finish, the dressing room looks like a war zone, with swimsuit carcasses littering the floor. (I do clean up after myself, but, oh, how I wish I could just throw those suits down and stomp on them.) I leave empty-handed and heavy-hearted. Then I finish off my shopping day by eating large amounts of ice cream as I wallow in self-pity and try to figure out why gravity hates me so.
The beautiful thing about pity parties is that they are inclusive—they are open to anything that might be bothering you. What begins with mourning my long-gone pre-marriage figure segues into regrets about never learning to cook well and finishes with guilt for not reading to my freshly bathed children an hour every night as I lovingly tuck them into bed. At the start of my party I’m just fat, but by the end I’m a terrible mother, and I am sure my children would be better off being raised by Sister Homeschooling-Canning-Crafty Jones. It’s exhausting.
It’s a good thing my pity parties don’t happen very often. It’s also a good thing that I typically bounce back from them fairly quickly. Still, they happen more frequently than I would like. If it were up to me, I would place a permanent moratorium on all pity parties. Unfortunately, female nature, my propensity to expect too much from myself, and hormones don’t allow that. Thankfully, the older I get (and wiser, I hope), the fewer and farther between they are. But they still come and go. In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that I had a big pity party, the biggest I’d had in years. And it started out so small, because of a little piece of information that most people don’t know about me—but which I am soon to reveal.
As a child, I lived what was, for all intents and purposes, a charmed life. Love was felt and the gospel was taught in my home. I was confident and carefree. I breezed through elementary school, getting good grades, singing in the choir, playing in the band, and carrying proudly the hard-earned title of “Cherry-Drop and Death-Drop Queen.” (If you don’t know what those are, find any woman who attended elementary school in the ’70s—she’ll explain it to you. If she is brave, she might even try to show you, but I wouldn’t recommend it.)
My peak came at the end of sixth grade, when I graduated elementary school with straights A’s. I sang a solo at the graduation ceremony. I was adorable up there onstage with my little dress and long hair and good grades. I was cute and smart, and I felt good.
Then summer came, and it all changed. My family moved to another part of town. I traded my long hair for a mullet (I still don’t know why someone didn’t stop me), and my face broke out in a full-force case of acne. To top it off, somehow my upper jaw grew that summer, giving me a gawky overbite. I started seventh grade friendless, self-conscious, and alone. I was relegated to the nerd category at my new school, and I found it hard to make friends at church.
It was the perfect storm of anything and everything that could go wrong, and my self-esteem plummeted, taking with it my hopes and goals for the future. I felt like a loser, and I acted accordingly.
Socially, I tried to keep a valiant front, but my formal education fell victim to misplaced priorities and crippling self-doubt. Although I was smart, I stopped performing that way. I treaded water through middle school, passing with B’s and C’s. High school was four years of feeling bad about myself and avoiding anyone, especially teachers, who showed the slightest degree of disappointment in me. And I gave them good reason to be disappointed. Many people avoid disappointment by achieving. I avoided it by avoiding classes. Each year my attendance, grades, and confidence dropped. By the end of my senior year, I found myself thirty credits shy of graduating.
Here comes that little tidbit that most people don’t know about me: I didn’t graduate with my high school class. In fact, I didn’t graduate with any class. I didn’t graduate high school, period. I never wore a cap and gown, never received a diploma. It was devastating and embarrassing, a failure of epic proportions. And yet I hid it with a smile and a blasé attitude as I signed up for classes at the local community college—only to fail there, too.
By the time I was nineteen, I was a high school dropout and carried a 1.0 college GPA. It was then that I finally took the GED (the General Educational Development tests that colleges accept in place of a diploma). That was the final nail in the coffin of my formal education—I told myself I was through with classes and tests. I was glad to be rid of them and tried to move on to “greener pastures,” but I soon found that to be a difficult task.
I worked full-time at various jobs, spent time with friends, and dated. On the surface, I appeared happy—and I was, for the most part—but underneath, self-doubt, sadness, and fear festered. I had no direction and no long-term goals. And even if I had, I would have doubted my ability to achieve them.
When I was twenty years old, because of the counsel of my parents and my bishop and a sweet experience with personal revelation, I decided to serve a full-time mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This was a life-and perspective-changing experience for me. It was during this time of spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual preparation that I began to see and know God—and myself—more clearly. My joy and confidence blossomed as I found purpose and direction in my life and experienced success in my studies and teaching. I began to feel that I was intelligent and of worth. I began to feel like me, and I loved it.
It wasn’t long after my mission that I met and married my husband, and our children soon arrived. My son was born when I was two months shy of turning twenty-five, and then a daughter came fifteen months later. As my confidence and perspective continued to change and grow during those early years of motherhood, I toyed with the idea of going back to school, but health issues and the needs of my young children kept the prospect at bay.
As the kids grew older, I tried a few times to brush away the academic dust. I took a class here and there as our schedule and finances permitted. Now that I was an adult, with maturity and a healthier perspective on my side, I did well. My confidence grew as I excelled in my classes, and I maintained a 3.83 GPA (which would have been a 4.0 if it weren’t for that irksome muscle exam in my anatomy class).
In 2012, I again got the itch to return to school. I had done well in my most recent college classes, and I was feeling good. I decided to apply to a new college, and in order to do that I had to pull up all my old transcripts.
That was when the pity party kicked off.
I sat on my bed and looked at my high school transcript that screamed “Loser!” and then at my initial college stint, which also reeked of failure.
Good feelings gone.
I stared at the pile of papers in front of me. There, in official black and white, was proof that I had failed. The years of adult success, growth, and confidence were overshadowed by old high school feelings: I’m not smart. I don’t make good choices. I can’t do this. I am going to fail.
I was overwhelmed by negative emotions. And though the feelings did not fit with who I had become, they were very real and overpowering. It had been a long, long time since I had felt so down. I had to get up and walk away. I went into the bathroom and looked at myself in the mirror (because that’s what they do in the movies, right?). A reflective analysis confirmed my doubts. Yep, I was stupid.
Now, you would think the awful feelings I allowed myself to feel would be sufficient fodder for a pity party, but that was just the beginning. While taking inventory of my educational and intellectual deficits, out of the corner of my eye I saw the bathroom scale jammed between the side of the cabinet and the bathtub, hidden away as a token of my firm resolution not to focus on weight but on being healthy. That week I had played tennis four times and had eaten healthy foods, and at that moment I needed a little good news. So I pulled the scale out and optimistically weighed myself.
I had gained five pounds. Good feelings gone again. Now I was stupid and fat.
I plopped down on the bed next to my pile of papers. That is when the first tear came.
My oldest daughter had a piano lesson that morning, however, and since a mother’s work is never done, I wiped away my tears, put on my “brave mom” face, and drove her to her lesson. After I dropped her off, I did what any mature woman would do: I drove around, listened full blast to any sad song I could find on the radio, and cried while the list of my deficits that had started with “stupid” and “fat” grew. I was also a bad mother who didn’t have any patience for her kids—not endlessly patient, like my friends were. I was selfish—not unselfish, like my friends were. I said weird things—not smart things, like many of my friends did.
I cried as I took inventory of all my apparent weaknesses, faults, and shortcomings. Then depression turned into dejection when I decided I was simply a worthless human being who was good for nothing.
I went on to spend the better part of that day feeling sorry for my stupid, fat self. I was impatient with my kids (of course, because I was a terrible mother) and not productive at all (because I was a terrible homemaker—not a good one, like my friends). No one wanted to be around me that day, and I didn’t blame them because I was, of course, a worthless human being.
That afternoon, I decided to go to the public pool for exercise—because what makes a stupid, fat woman feel better about herself than squeezing into an old swimsuit at a public pool where the high school swim team happens to be practicing? My pasty hips bulged out of the bottom of my unforgiving elastic suit as I gasped for air while attempting the freestyle.
I topped off my day-long pity party by trying on clothes at the store. If I had been smarter, I would have known better. There’s nothing like a dressing-room circus mirror to help me feel worse about my oversized pantry. (Note: “Pantry” is the nickname I have for my stomach, because it’s where I store all my favorite foods.)
Needless to say, I looked terrible in every outfit I tried on. I left the torture room—I mean dressing room—empty-handed and as depressed as ever.
By that time, my pity party was in full swing. Self-pity, doubt, disdain, and regret were dancing with guilt, fear, and sorrow. They were having a heyday, and I was miserable.
The next stop was the grocery store. I walked through the candy aisle, cursing the two bags of M&Ms I had put into my basket. I’m pretty sure I heard the loudspeakers blare, “Pity party on aisle nine. Self-esteem and willpower spilled on the floor. Cleanup needed on aisle nine.”
My evening didn’t go any better. We had guests for dinner, and I enjoyed their company, but it was difficult to be a great hostess (which of course I knew I wasn’t—not like my friends, who had matching dinnerware and who used cute mason jars for cups). I was still feeling down, and I masked the pain with greasy food and sugary desserts (stocking up the pantry).
As I climbed into bed that night, the pity party was still going strong. I pulled out my journal and began to write. My pen flew as I wrote about mistakes I had made and opportunities I had missed. I wrote all about my regrets and remorse, my embarrassment and shame.
I still didn’t feel any better. So I got on my knees and prayed. I prayed hard.
I asked God to help me: Help me feel better, help the pain go away, help me see myself through His eyes. I fell asleep on a pillow that was wet with tears. Then I woke up the next morning—and guess what? I felt better. How? My circumstances hadn’t changed overnight, but my perspective had—and even that wasn’t my doing. Heavenly Father did it.
I normally don’t share such intimate thoughts about myself in this much detail—especially negative ones in a book that strangers will read. I share these feelings with you because I want to make it very clear that I felt bad—very bad. I want to make it very clear that it was God who helped me feel better—so much better.
He is the Giver of all that is good. He gave me peace. He gave me perspective. He gave me my smile back. He gave me myself back.
I also want to clarify something else that is very important. The devil is the adversary of all that is good. That is why I refer to him most often as “the adversary” in this book. He wants us to feel terrible about ourselves. I started my pity party alone—just me, my high school transcripts, and my thoughts. The adversary didn’t start my pity party—I did. The more I focused on myself, the more I opened up my heart and mind to the adversary’s influence. Somewhere along the way he happily joined in, cheering me on: “Yes, you are an awful person! No good, through and through.” He pulled out his black pom-poms full of poison and waved them in my face while he sang, “U-G-L-Y! You ain’t got no alibi! You’re ugly! Yeah, yeah, you’re ugly!” I started my pity party, and the adversary and I fueled it. Then God crashed my pity party, and for that I was grateful.
Rather than looking at where I had been and feeling bad for all that I hadn’t done or all that I hadn’t become, God allowed me to look at where I was at that moment and to see all the places I could go. I know I’ve made mistakes. I know I am not perfect. I know I’m not a size six—or eight or ten, for that matter. But I know that my Father in Heaven loves me the way I am.
My guess is that you’ve probably had days like that, where all your faults, weaknesses, disappointments, and misconceptions dog-pile on you and weigh you down. It’s suffocating. You feel awful. You might be convinced that you are simply the worst person ever, and, if you’re like me, you can probably come up with a laundry list of reasons to back it up.
But let me tell you: You are not the worst person ever. You aren’t doing that poorly. In fact, you are probably doing just fine. If you don’t believe me, ask God. If you feel down and out, pray to Him. If you feel lonely, desperate, depressed, or just plain terrible, seek Him out. Have faith. He is there. He will help. He may not change your circumstances (my pantry was still there when I woke up the next morning), but He has the power to help you change your perspective.
The spring after my grand pity party, I set off for my yearly swimsuit shopping spree, and, true to tradition, the swimsuits fell to the floor, as did my spirits. Half an hour into my first dressing room battle, my cell phone rang. It was my husband.
He said, “Hey, I just wanted to tell you how beautiful you are to me.” He thanked me for bringing our children into the world, and he told me that he loves me just the way I am.
I turned, looked at myself in the mirror, and saw myself differently. I didn’t compare my present self with my self of twenty years before. I saw myself now, as my husband saw me. For the first time in a long, long time, I stood in front of a mirror in a swimsuit and felt beautiful.
That is the power of perspective.
As I began writing this chapter, I pulled out my high school transcripts once again. They still looked the same—those terrible grades in black and white—but this time I saw them differently. I saw in them a lesson to be shared, not an indictment of my perceived potential (or lack thereof). I not only saw the grades differently this time, but I felt different. Despite the scattered showers of F’s that dot the paper, I could look at them and still feel intelligent and capable.
That is the power of perspective.
If we could see ourselves, just for a moment, as God sees us, I am quite sure we would see beauty and magnificence that we never imagined. Our potential is amazing. Our future is brilliant. Our path is glorious.
You may have heard the saying, “God don’t make no junk.” It’s true. God, our Father in Heaven, made me, and He made you—and we are not junk. He has told us that it is His work and His glory to bring about the immortality and eternal life of His sons and His daughters (Moses 1:39). Does that sound as though He views us as mistakes or that He is embarrassed by us?
Our Father knows us better than we know ourselves. He will never look down on us in shock and disappointment and say, “I didn’t see that coming.” He knows we aren’t perfect. He knows we struggle. And He knows how great we really are. He knows what we can be and what He expects us to be. The key to our happiness—and our sanity—is to go to Him and let Him tell us what He sees in us … and believe Him. It will change how we see ourselves, and in that change there is power, discovery, confidence, joy, and freedom.
How can perspective have that much power? Let me illustrate.
All the Little Leaves
When I was fourteen, my mom took me to see an optometrist, and I received my first pair of prescription glasses. They had large, clear, pink frames with pink-tinted lenses—highly fashionable in the mid-’80s. I loved how I looked in my new glasses: smarter, older, and obviously much cooler.
As my mother drove me home, I began to realize that not only did I look different in my new glasses but the world around me looked different, too. I could now read the once-blurry letters on the street signs, see the features on the faces of people walking down the street, even read the letters and numbers of license plates on the cars in front of us. Details were richer now, sharper and more defined. I could see the world around me more clearly.
As we drove home, I had a realization. I had seen these things a certain way my whole life, and now I understood that those things actually looked very different.
The most notable example was the big oak tree by the road that ran alongside my home. I had seen that tree a hundred times—it stood tall and wide, soft and green. However, that day, looking through my large, pink glasses, it looked different. It was no longer a fuzzy, soft green ball of tree but a giant, intricate cornucopia of leaves and branches. I could see the detail of each small limb, the outline of each delicate leaf. What was once a soft green mass was now an elaborate gallery of beautiful lines and shapes.
With my new glasses I could see the world around me clearly. Now I could see things as they really were.
Three weeks before I donned my new glasses—even the day before—I hadn’t even realized I needed glasses. I just thought the world was how I saw it: soft and fuzzy. Until I was given the ability to see, I didn’t realize how bad my vision was or how much I had been missing.
One of my favorite songs from the movie The Prince of Egypt tells about how wondrous life can be when it is viewed “through heaven’s eyes.” The song raises the question of whether a man can be judged by the things he builds or buys—and the reply is that you can’t determine someone’s worth through earthly eyes but only through heaven’s, or God’s, eyes (Schwartz, “Through Heaven’s Eyes”).
The world around me didn’t all of a sudden change when I got my new glasses—but the way I saw it did. The tree had been the same for years, but to me it was different. Words appeared on the chalkboard at school where I had thought there were none. The clouds in the sky suddenly had defined shapes. The flowers in the field multiplied in number.
The miracle wasn’t that the world had changed but that my ability to see it clearly had.
Many things may blur our spiritual vision of ourselves and the world around us. The way we view our lives can be affected by work, school, illness, stress, anger, frustration, jealousy, weakness, and countless other things. Because we all experience these challenges, we all see things from a polluted point of view.
Many people wear figurative “glasses” that offer different levels of clarity in the way they view life. Others aren’t wearing any “glasses” at all—they simply walk through life in a state of spiritual nearsightedness, experiencing things in a “fuzzy” sort of way and missing the truths they would see if they focused on the important details.
Only God can see truth in its purest form—life as it really is, and us as we really are. Jacob taught this truth when he said, “O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it” (2 Nephi 9:20). God does know all, and He sees all in perfect clarity and truth. He has a perfect perspective.
2 Nephi 9:20
How may we gain His perspective and see things through His eyes?
As we go to the Lord in prayer, our perspective can change. We can gain the ability to see glimpses of life through His eyes. These glimpses allow us to feel His love for us, His adoration for our children, His patience with others, and other miracles that we cannot always see for ourselves.
Perhaps even more important, as we go to Him, we will be able to see ourselves through His eyes. There is great value in that, especially for those of us who are haunted by the shadows of pity parties and their guests.
We can know who we were, who we are, and who we can become.
In order to have the proper perspective, it’s important to see how this life and the people in it fit into the grand scheme of things.
Somewhere between the heart and the mind there is a longing that is shared by people of all classes, races, religions, and nationalities. It’s the inner petition of grown men and women and the hidden desire of rebellious teenagers, the longing to know who we really are. It asks the most humble and sincere questions: “Where did I come from?” “Who am I?” and “What is the purpose of life?”
In this world, there are those who believe our existence—everything we are made of—began when we were born into this life. They believe that our personality, our character, our preferences came to life at the same time we took our first breath. That school of thought preaches that there was a beginning point to our existence.
There are also those who believe that, since we had a beginning, we must have an end: the whole of our existence ends at death—we just cease to be. That reasoning begs the question: If the totality of our existence is encapsulated into this brief mortal life, then what is the purpose of it? If we have no ties to before, and no future after, how do we fit in here?
Heavenly Father knows our longing. I believe He gave us feelings of longing as a way to draw us back to Him, a way to lead us to the truth. In our darkest moments, when the minutiae of life no longer seem important, when we are stripped of pride and pretense, when we are in the throes of a massive pity party, we face our one intense desire: to know our purpose and our worth.
In my preteen years, The Karate Kid was one of my favorite movies. I bought all the issues of Teen Beat magazine that had Ralph Macchio on the cover. As an adult, I still enjoy the movie, but now I see it through different eyes. Nowadays Mr. Miagi fascinates me—there’s something about a quiet, strong mentor who holds the secrets of life that I am drawn to.
At one point in the movie, Daniel, the young man befriended and tutored by Mr. Miagi, needed something. Unable to help him at that moment, Mr. Miagi responded in broken English, thick with a Japanese accent, “Afta.”
Like many teenagers, Daniel was short on patience and foresight. Unhappy with Mr. Miagi’s answer, Daniel asked, “After what?”
“Afta, afta” was his mentor’s simple reply. No explanation, just “Afta, afta” (Kamen, Karate Kid).
For us, in the eternal sense there is an “afta afta”—and a before before. We know what comes “afta” this life—and even what comes after that—and we know what came before. We are not temporary beings. Each of us is an eternal being with a purpose that goes beyond the boundaries of this life. It has been said that we are not human beings having a spiritual experience but spiritual beings having a human experience (in Covey, 7 Habits, 319).
We lived with God before we came here. The Lord Himself said to the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee” (Jeremiah 1:5). He knew Jeremiah, just as He knows us, because we lived with Him before this life. The testimony of latter-day prophet Brigham Young confirms this truth:
“I want to tell you, each and every one of you, that you are well acquainted with God our Heavenly Father, … for there is not a soul of you but what has lived in his house and dwelt with him year after year; and yet you are seeking to become acquainted with him, when the fact is, you have merely forgotten what you did know” (Discourses, 50).
We lived with God before we came to this earth, and we will live with Him again. That is His plan for us. We don’t remember our premortal lives—that forgetfulness is necessary so that we might live by faith. But as we learn about our true nature—the “before” and the “after”—we gain an understanding of the “now.” With the help of our Father in Heaven, we can find nobility in ourselves, purpose in our pain, peace in our trials, and joy in the journey. As we find answers to that deeply planted longing to know who we are and where we came from, we find perspective and purpose. We find ourselves.
Sometimes the terms “God’s perspective” and “eternal perspective” are used interchangeably. This makes sense, because God is eternal—as are we.
When we see with His perspective, the eternal perspective, life begins to make sense. We can see the beauty in places we hadn’t seen it before. We can see problems as opportunities to learn, weaknesses as strengths yet to be developed, families as a forever unit.
That is the power that true perspective gives us. It opens the shades and floods our world with the light of understanding. In that light, we can see ourselves as He does.
We are beautiful, and we have a purpose.
When we begin to catch glimpses of who we really are, we can then begin to see the miracles that God can perform through us. There are people who need to be loved, to be served, to be taught, to be mended, to be healed. We are His hands here on earth, and our greatest joy is to be found when we are actively engaged in a good cause (D&C 58:27) and furthering His work and purposes.
I believe that there is a special purpose for each person’s life. God has placed people in our paths that only we can help. He has provided us opportunities to learn and grow. But we can’t hear His call to action if we are consumed with our worries, fears, and doubts.
This is our great quest: to change our perspective, to try to see life—and ourselves—through God’s eyes. Only then can we begin to see our worth. Only then can we go to work lifting and building others—doing His work.
That is the great power of perspective. It is the lens through which we view ourselves and those around us, the lens that shapes our values, creates our opinions, and determines the direction of our footsteps. When we use the lens that God uses—when we see things through His eyes—we can see beyond our weaknesses and faults to the divinity that lies within us.
God’s perspective allows us to see ourselves as eternal beings. We not only lived before we came, but we also fought valiantly for the opportunity to have a mortal existence. Using God’s perspective, we can know why we are here and where we are going.
I wish that gaining the ability to see through God’s eyes were as easy as donning a new pair of glasses. Unfortunately, it’s not. It takes work. So let’s get to it.
LOVE this book!
by Emily - reviewed on January 22, 2014
This is a fantastic book! I have been following Michelle's blog for years and I'm so excited to see her creative style in print!! I love the way Michelle shares her message and how she weaves truth and humor into each of her experiences and stories :) She is a master story teller, which allows me to instantly feel part of her journey while still feeling the healing power of her message. I can't wait for more publications from Michelle Wilson!!
Look at yourself through Gods eyes!
by Stephanie - reviewed on January 17, 2014
In this book, author Michelle Wilson focuses on how we can get ourselves out of the rut of insecurity and discover that we are beautiful creations of our Heavenly Father. Right up front she tells readers that this book is an "extended pep talk" that will give you motivation and the ability to overcome the depressing thoughts that drag us down. She also shares that it is much more than that though when she emphasizes the profound and simple message of the book, that we can "find joy, peace, and confidence when we learn to see ourselves…and life through God's eyes." I loved it! A short simple read that is BIG on wisdom!
Still reading and still enjoying
by Roberta - reviewed on May 05, 2014
I'm just getting starting...finishing the first chapter but already I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I love that she writes in "plain and simple" language, easily understood, and that she is sharing experiences that we all from time to time share. Helps me, certainly, to already see a new perspective. Looking forward to getting through to the end and coming out with a brighter outlook on life and all that it holds.
by megan - reviewed on January 11, 2014
I love that the author brought real experiences and limitations to life with humor in this all inspiring book! I found myself dog-earring pages to remind myself that other people go through the same things - and through our Father in Heaven, anything is possible! Thank you Michelle for bringing this to the world!
Splendid Book. Empowering.
by Jinky - reviewed on January 10, 2014
This book was for me. I was already bawling by page ten! I was in tears intermittently throughout the book because I'm going through some insecurities now and therefore could relate to the anxieties the author illustrated. Plus, the scriptural references had me feeling loved and understood so the water works of comfort came easily. I was reminded that life throws each of us a variety of Enemies of Perspective (false reality) but having the right Perspective (way God views things) to combat them makes for a winning day. This book equipped me with the tools to remember God's eternal perspective (the bigger picture) and how to daily apply it to my life. Ms. Wilson had chock-full of personal examples that provided great analogy to make a point. After all, analogies are the modern day parables. It's a fantastic way to grasp a concept being presented. It's scary how some of them described me to the T! It seems like I've found my spiritual twin. But in seriousness, the big take out for me was that Heavenly Father is truly at my side championing for my success in my life. That understanding inspires me to be confident and with a twist to the title, I can instead ask, "Does this confidence make me look magnificent?". Geared to women but the principles can apply to any that may feel insecure. I highly recommend this book to those wanting or needing to be uplifted. Ms. Wilson has a pulsing way of bringing to remembrance the power of God's love of hope and faith in each of us. You will see yourselves in her words and then you will find peace in God's. Thank you Ms. Wilson for this splendid book. It is helping me.
Change your life with a new perspective by reading this book
by Rachelle - reviewed on January 13, 2014
Michelle Wilson's new book is full of spark. Her insights are on target and she arms women to combat the negativity around us. I love her honest narrative and witty anecdotes that teach great principles that all women need to embrace to kick insecurity to the curb. Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat? is an inspiring book that will help you see yourself as God sees you and that is what matters most. There are so many freeing concepts in this book that have helped me change my perspective and remember what my true purpose is in life. I'm ready to embrace this new year and put Michelle's training to work increase my personal happiness.
Every LDS woman should read this book!
by Aimee - reviewed on January 13, 2014
Sometimes you read a book that leaves a permanent mark on your brain and your soul. This was that kind of book for me. This is a non-fiction book, religious in nature, full of inspiration, good advice and the pep talk that can get you through life's challenges. This book is geared mostly to the LDS audience, but I do believe that women of any faith would be better for reading this book. This was the perfect book to start out the new year. I'm not a resolution maker but I do believe in constantly trying to be better and do better. I just loved this book. I loved the messages, the delivery and I loved how it made me feel. This should be mandatory reading for every LDS woman. I'm going to try to point to a few things that especially stood out to me. First is a quote that I actually sent to my son who is serving a mission in England right now. It suited him so perfectly. I know it applies to me as well. It was my first big underlining moment in the book. (yes, I did underline it. With a green pen.) "When we being to catch glimpses of who we really are, we can then begin to see the miracles that God can perform through us. There are people who need to be loved, to be served, to be taught, to be mended, to be healed. We are His hands here on earth, and our greatest joy is to be found when we are actively engaged in a good cause and furthering His work and purposes." (pg. 17) The next part I really loved was in the chapter "I'm Right Here". It talks about God having faith in us. It says, "He has faith in me. He knows I can overcome. He expects nothing less, because He knows I can do it. . . If God tells me I can do it, then I must accept that. God is perfect- He cannot lie. Therefore, I must be able to do anything He asks me to do." I loved the call to action. We cannot be lukewarm, we must get up and do something, be something. We must do it in the right way. I feel like I'm giving you the whole book here but I honestly loved it. I'm going to go back and read it more carefully- looking up scriptures and spending time pondering for my own enlightenment. This book inspired me to change some things. It inspired me to do better and to be better. Thank you Michelle Wilson for sharing this with me.
I loved her message of Perspective
by Shanda - reviewed on January 13, 2014
It’s been a while since I’ve sailed through a nonfiction book as quickly as I did Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat?. Only eight pages into it, I read the words Michelle had told herself during her day-long pity party and heard their familiar echo in my mind. Soon I was asking myself, “Who is this woman? And how does she know me so well??” Michelle’s voice is genuine. Her writing style is fun and easy to read. The stories that she shares in relation to the principles she discusses are quick, relatable, effective, and often entertaining. I exhausted a pad of Post-Its leaving notes on pages I wanted to reread and highlight. I look forward to going back through the book and revisiting those paragraphs that inspired me. “We are not required to be all things, but we are asked to do our best. We are to magnify who we are, not necessarily what we do. An immaculate house, perfectly behaved children, and an unbroken record of punctuality will not matter if our character is tainted with pride, anger, selfishness…and guilt.” –page 46 I laughed out loud several times. I truly enjoy her sense of humor. Michelle knows how to intermingle the funny and the serious without detracting from the spiritual message. I cried at least half a dozen times but in a hopeful, I-needed-to-hear-that kind of way. I appreciated the sincerity I felt from her. I loved her message of Perspective and how strongly she advocates for women to see themselves as Heavenly Father sees them. The Nine Expectations she outlines are excellent. They fill me with hope. I plan to print them and hang them where I can see them every day. One of the analogies Michelle shared that really stood out to me was the story of when her daughter really wanted to help her, but she kept saying no, preferring to accomplish the tasks on her own. “We so deeply want to be heard and to be helped, but when the help comes, we often turn it away. Sometimes we feel unworthy of His help. Sometimes we are prideful and don’t want to be helped in His way…It is up to us to hear Him and accept His answers. It is up to us to let Him help us.“ –page 68 Some time later, her daughter asked again and she accepted her help. After they were finished, her little daughter thanked her, gave her mom a hug, and told her she really loved her. Through my tears, I read the following: “I looked down at her and realized that her desire to help me wasn’t just because she liked to help. It was because she loved me. … Heavenly Father sends help to us not because He doubts our abilities but because He loves us…” –pages 69-70 There is so much more. I could go on and on. I highly recommend Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat?. It is worth every one of the five stars I’m giving it. Review originally published on LDS Women's Book Review: www.ldswbr.com Free review copy provided in exchange for an honest review.
Great Reminders About Our Worth
by Andrea - reviewed on January 15, 2014
I don't spend much of my reading time on non-fiction since more often than not reading non-fiction feels like a bit of a chore. But, when I was given the opportunity to review Michelle Wilson's new book, Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat?, I decided it would be a good book to start the new year. I've had a lot of changes in my life over the past year, and some of the effects have manifested themselves physically. Quite bluntly, I've gained weight and am not happy with larger clothing sizes and what hides beneath (although I am very grateful for clothing and its hiding capabilities). Feeling the "weight" of this new insecurity, I thought this book would be a good way to help me feel better about myself. I can't say that any of the concepts Michelle addresses are new, although sometimes it's good to hear what you know, but haven't been thinking about. I really appreciated the humor and personal stories that Michelle included throughout the book to drive her points home. A main focus of this book is perspective, and looking at ourselves as our Heavenly Father sees us. Too often we set our own expectations too high, and we beat ourselves up about not meeting these expectations. One of my favorite quotes came in a section about guilt. "The laundry doesn't cry when it doesn't get folded. Neither should you." I also really enjoyed the elevator analogy that reminded us that Heavenly Father doesn't give us more than we can handle-He helps us through those hard times in our lives. Michelle's thought about importance also stood out to me. "I do not have to be somebody 'important' to do important things. I simply have to be me and do what He asks of me." I also liked the reminder about the Atonement: "Through the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we may choose the paths we take and the people we want to be." Along those lines, I also appreciated this quote: "As you exercise more faith in yourself and in Him, you will be amazed at the things He will accomplish in you and through you." None of what I read is a direct tip on finding more energy after I get home from work, and making better choices in what I eat, but Michelle's reminders help me know that what I see in the mirror isn't as important as what I am inside. Heavenly Father doesn't think I'm worth less because I went up a pant size. He loves me, and is always there for me. Whatever issues might be causing you to feel insecure, there is hope. And, you are better than you think you are!
Seeing things the way God would have us...
by Kimberly - reviewed on November 22, 2013
Michelle is a master at taking complex Gospel truths and making them simple and profound. And entertaining! With a message that is ALWAYS needed reminding of, this book will help put things back in focus and give you the Gospel perspective on life, which is the most meaningful, satisfying and inspiring of all.
Uplifting, funny, powerful
by Alexis - reviewed on January 14, 2014
I love how Michelle is able to share stories about herself so that you can really get to know her and see examples of what she means. And she is so funny! I wish I could meet her in real life! She is so great at expressing how many women feel about one thing or another. I think all women can identify with at least one thing she talks about and probably more than one - feeling sorry for ourselves, needing the approval of others, comparing ourselves to others, being afraid, being envious, doubting ourselves, feeling guilt, or feeling shame. But she takes all of these things we can sometimes feel and tells us why we don't need to feel that way; why we shouldn't judge ourselves by how the world sees us, but by how God sees us. Michelle dives into what God expects of us and how to build a better relationship with Him. My favorite part of the book is Part 2 which talks about choosing to be how we want to be. Changing takes a lot of work and breaking through barriers we create, but we can do it! I love this quote from her book, "We are responsible for who we are and who we will become. It might be a scary notion, but it's also an exciting one. We can--and should--decide who and what we are and will be and and how happy we will be (111)." I think this is a great book for all women to read because we can all be a little more confident and we all have things we need to improve on. But as Michelle points out, God doesn't expect us to be perfect and He doesn't expect us to change all at once.
An empowering reminder of how our perspective changes everything!
by Amy - reviewed on November 16, 2013
Michelle's humor and personal experiences make this a very fun yet inspirational read. We can all relate to her candor on the journey of womanhood and the insecurities we incorrectly sabotage ourselves with. She refocuses our thinking with her spiritual insights. You will laugh. You will cry. Most importantly you'll walk away with a new found confidence as you realign your personal perspective in a more productive & useful way. Use a highlighter!
Fun quick read with a great message
by Laura - reviewed on November 18, 2013
This was a feel-good book in a lasting way. Michelle is a very real person with a very real message. Great stories and great humor and great insights into a very common problem among women in particular. Loved it!