Why I Don't Hide My Freckles Anymore (Paperback)

Perspectives on True Beauty

by Lanae Valentine (Editor), Lisa Tensmeyer Hansen (Editor)

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Why_i_don_t_hide_my_freckles_anymore

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We've all heard the old adage "beauty is in the eye of the beholder." But who is the beholder? Women today are bombarded by harmful messages in society about their bodies and appearance. We often feel inadequate and overwhelmed by the impossible-to-achieve ideals touted in the media. And sometimes our harshest critics are the eyes looking back at us in the mirror. No matter the source, when our image of personal beauty is threatened, it's important to remember who the rightful beholder of true beauty is—is our Heavenly Father. The adversary, ever jealous of our bodies, wishes for us to forget that our bodies are temples. He wants us to resent them as prisons and abuse them with unhealthy words, unrealistic views, and harmful behaviors. But the scriptures help us remember that "the body and the spirit are the soul of man" (D&C 88:15), "the worth of souls is great in the sight of God" (D&C 18:10), and that to discover our royal heritage, we mush look inside, "for the kingdom of God is within [us]" (Luke 17:21). By accepting these truths we are freed to see true beauty in and around us.

The essays in this uplifting compilation, much like their authors, come in every shape and size, but each reaches toward the same conclusion: beauty is truth. And the truth is that everything God created is beautiful, your body included—freckles and all!

Compiled by BYU Women's Services, this volume includes chapters by the following contributors:

  • Cynthia L. Hallen
  • Jana Parkin
  • Jennifer Blaylock
  • Ron Bartholomew
  • Wendy Ulrich
  • Kathryn Soper
  • S. Michael Wilcox
  • and many others

Product Details

  • Size:  5½" x 8"
  • Pages:  160
  • Year Published:  2013

About the Authors

LaNae Valentine is the director of Women’s Services and Resources at Brigham Young University. When she’s not working to support, connect, and empower women she enjoys visiting family and friends, cycling through Utah’s back roads and canyons, cooking, reading, and doing yoga.

Lisa Tensmeyer Hansen finished raising seven children and is having a hard time sitting still. A doctoral candidate at Brigham Young University in marriage and family therapy, she is a managing editor of the BYU Women’s Studies Journal, serves on the board of local arts organizations, writes music with her husband, and walks every morning with her BFF.

Chapter 1

Cosmetic Surgery for the Heart

LaNae Valentine

It is only with one’s heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.

—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

In the second grade, when I got my first pair of eyeglasses my mother said, “My little girl isn’t pretty anymore.” A few years later, my brother told me I had ugly teeth and called me a rude name.

Years later, I overheard a boy I was dating say to his friend that he thought I was cute except he thought my nose was too big. Another boy who was teaching me to dive commented that I looked great in a swimsuit, barring my large hips. Yet another boy told me I was a fun person but that I didn’t have much on top. I took all of these comments about my body and tucked them away in my heart. They have stuck with me over the years and negatively affected the way I see and feel about myself.

Eventually I got contact lenses and had my teeth fixed, which helped me feel better about myself. Yet, whenever I looked in the mirror I still saw a big nose, large hips, and a flat chest. I habitually wore long sweaters and shirts to cover my hips, padded bras to enhance my chest, and avoided wearing swimsuits like the plague.

These experiences have taught me that words can have a deep impact on people—for good or bad. Why do those careless, negative words seem to stick like super-strength adhesive while the positive ones slide off like soft butter? Why do we so willingly believe the negative words? Researchers say we need to have a ratio of at least ten or more positive interactions to counter every negative one. Left unattended, the negatives can cloud and color every aspect of our life.

It’s tempting to believe that these negative beliefs about my body would be resolved if I could have nose surgery to make my nose smaller, liposuction to reduce my hips, and implants to augment my breasts. Then I would finally feel good about myself, right? Those modifications might have a temporary effect, but none of these surgeries would be enough. The surgery required must go deeper—it must cut to the heart where my shame resides.

Often our bodies become the scapegoat for all of the things we don’t like about ourselves. Somehow it’s easier to blame our bodies for our bad feelings than to look deeper. If we have an inner conviction of our worth, negative words might sting temporarily, but they won’t stick. We won’t believe them, we won’t be so concerned about what people think of us, and we won’t feel compelled to perfect our bodies to prove our worth.

The shame at the core of a negative body image is not an easy thing to shed. Shame is a full mind-body-heart emotion, an intensely painful feeling and belief that we are so flawed we are not worthy of love and acceptance. One writer described it as the silent hemorrhaging of the soul. Shame makes us go into hiding. It prevents us from getting close to others for fear of disapproval or rejection. We become perfectionists, compelled to prove our worth. The surgery needed to heal these wounds must remove the cancer of self-loathing that permeates every aspect of my being. A radical change in how I see and feel about myself is required—a surgery not to transform my nose or breasts, but my heart.

Where can I go for such a surgery? I don’t think it’s a one-time event under the surgeon’s scalpel, although I wish it were. The change of heart comes gradually as I open myself to trust and love—knowing the very thing that closed my heart in the first place might happen again. But better a broken heart than an impenetrable one. Better a heart that is bruised and tender than a heart safely locked in a dark, motionless coffin.

The change of heart comes gradually as I unwrap my layers of protection, refusing to engage in busy, numbing habits and allowing myself to connect to others—all of which bring with them the possibility of pain. But pain is good, a sign that my heart is coming to life. No more hiding, no more performing. This letting go of control brings up fears of loss, rejection, and abandonment. As I expose all the hidden places of my soul, I learn that my vulnerabilities make me real, that I am not alone, that being real is what connects us and love, not competition, is the better way.

This intimacy with myself and others takes time—time for rest, time for walks, time for quiet reflection, time to tune into my inner knowing. As I become intimate with myself, I discover my connection with others and the Divine. I learn there is strength in stillness. I learn to trust the voice which beckons this is the way. I recognize that I am loved and always have been.

Softly and gently I come to the awareness that who I am is enough. What a relief I feel when I sit with the possibility that I am enough. Can it really be true that I am not what I do or what I produce or what I accomplish? I will sit with this feeling of being enough and let it heal my heart. I will embrace God’s many creations of beauty—of which I am one.

LaNae Valentine is the director of Women’s Services and Resources at Brigham Young University. When she’s not working to support, connect, and empower women she enjoys visiting family and friends, cycling through Utah’s back roads and canyons, cooking, reading, and doing yoga.

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Discover True Beauty

by  Stephanie  -   reviewed on  March 04, 2014

In this day and age, with modern media telling us what is beautiful and what it not, it is easy to get caught up in the trap that we are just not good enough. I am not thin enough. My teeth are too crooked. My hair is so flat and thin. Should I color my hair to cover up the gray? Ugh! Why can we not look at ourselves and see our true beauty and our worth? Satan has set a trap for women in attempt to convince us to forget that our bodies are temples, beautiful and of value to our Heavenly Father. He wants us to "resent them as prisons and abuse them with unhealthy words, unrealistic views, and harmful behaviors." We don't want to do that! This little book is a compilation of essays from several authors, everything from favorite Time Out For Women speakers to young children. Edited by LaNae Valentine and Lisa Tensmeyer Hansen, each essay is thoughtfully written sharing perspectives on what makes a woman truly beautiful. I enjoyed each essay and many really gave me pause and helped me to reflect on my inner dialogue. I do not always speak kindly to myself and I need to do better. Every soul is great (and lovely) in the sight of God and when we accept this we are free to see how beautiful we truly are. I enjoyed reading this little book, each essay can stand alone, but together they make up a wealth of inspiration.

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Every Woman Should Read - It's so Inspirational

by  Rebecca  -   reviewed on  March 01, 2014

This book falls under another book that I probably wouldn't have picked up at the store, but when I saw it come up for review, I jumped at the chance. It is full of inspirational stories, that every woman, young and old should read. I love how it feels so personal. Each essay is written by a different individual, and talks about what they think "beautiful" is. It is so touching. Everyone has insecurities, even if they say they don't. We are usually our own worst critics. I know I am. This book really helped me to see how different and how beautiful we all are in our Heavenly Father's eyes. Notice I said "different". No one person is the same. How thankful I am for that. We all need to find our "beautiful". I have to admit in my head I am still young, and skinny. I seriously have to wonder if it is me staring back at me when I look in the mirror because my outside is not what I see. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing, but I can honestly say that sometimes I think a stranger is looking back at me. Like I said, in my head, I am still that 18 year old, skinny girl who just got married, and is looking forward to a life with her spouse. How thankful I am that I am NOT that 18 yr old anymore, because life is so much better now than it was then. I may not be skinny, and fit like the world thinks I should be, but I am happy with who I am. This book made me realize that it is OKAY to be who I am. I have never really been one to "follow the crowd", but every girl wants to hear they are beautiful. So many times in this book, these short, sweet essays women talk about how they use to see themselves, and how their perspective has changed. Beauty is so much more that what we see on the outside. This book helped me realize how important it is to build a person up, and never tear them down. Words are so powerful. I have to admit I am the type of person who usually doesn't care what people think about me. I don't care if others think I am beautiful, or out going, or funny, or anything. The only thing I want people to think about me is that I am a good person. I don't know if people think that or not, but I sure hope they do. I hope that I am never the cause of someones embarrassment or discomfort. I know I probably am at times, because I have the "open mouth insert foot syndrome". BUT, I can say that, that is never my intention. I don't have a filter, and sometimes that is a bad thing. I speak before I think. This book really showed me how important it is to THINK before I speak. If you are a woman, read this book. Know that you are beautiful just the way you are. Heavenly Father made you, you are a Princess, a Daughter of a King. We can always strive to be better, but don't ever fall into the pitfalls society thinks we should fit in. Each one of us is a divine daughter of God. Every person has something to contribute to this world. Be kind. Remember you are beautiful because Heavenly Father made you! This really is such a great book. So inspirational, and touching. Be good to those around you. Build people up, never tear them down. BE BEAUTIFUL!!!

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EVERY WOMAN NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK!

by  Shauna  -   reviewed on  March 07, 2014

Do you ever find that in trying to be "virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy"... Seems to "twist us into self-shaming preoccupation with appearing more virtuous and more lovely than others, envying others' good reports, and feeling unworthy unless we merit the praise of" others? THIS BOOK WILL HELP WITH THAT! Amazingly wonderful stories of people who have... overcome the need to be perfect~ overcome the need to compare~ overcome the need to feel shame about their bodies~ I LOVED Anna Packard's list of gratitude: "Thank you body for allowing me to experience every day completely. Thank you eyes for the opportunity to see the beauty and majesty of the world around me. Thank you nose for the pleasure of smelling delicious food and the familiar smell of my husband. Thank you lips for tender moments kissing the soft doughy skin of my newborn daughter. Thank you mouth for allowing me to nourish myself with food and to enjoy new tastes...etc." Can we be GRATEFUL for our bodies? Even the parts we find lacking? Susan Law Corpany shares: "Many years ago I was looking forward to a landmark high school reunion. With plenty of time to accomplish my goals, I started my pre-reunion diet. I tracked my progress not only on the scale but by tracking my measurements. When I proudly announced to my teenage son that I had lost a quarter-inch off my ankles--that's a quarter-inch per ankle, mind you--he put his hand on my shoulder and said, 'Mom, remember that this is the part they put in the ground when you die.'" This book will help you: * forget about minimizing pores and worry about the poor among us * worry about sagging spirits and less about sagging body parts * worry less about crooked teeth and more about having crooked habits * worry less about thinning hair and more about thinning patience * worry less about love handles and know that love handles about any situation you are in "Be generous with you love, and you will never run out of it. Love regenerates itself--it grows by giving. Beauty is the same. Beauty regenerates itself--it grow by being generous with you love." EVERY WOMAN NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK! SO MUCH TO OFFER! IT WILL HELP OUR MINDS AND SPIRITS AND BODIES :)

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