I was struck by an item on the BBC news website yesterday about the experiences of three body-conscious young women during lockdown. For the full article, see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-52728957.
One of the women, Katy, who is otherwise obsessed with beauty treatments, shared some of her thoughts now that we have so much time to think: “Why am I actually doing this – is it for me? Is it because I feel like I have to look good to other people? What is it I am actually doing it for?” She admits to coming to realise that she doesn’t need the treatments as much as she thinks. She also says that to take her mind off the treatments she was missing, she’s stopped following Instagram pages showing treatments and started following pages about self-love and self-reflection.
Human beings are “fearfully and wonderfully made” as it says in Psalm 139, verse 14. We are not just bodies, we have minds and spirits, and over-focusing on one is not only neglecting the others, it can also have a detrimental effect on the others. One aspect of Christian spirituality is Ignatian spirituality. It’s a much bigger subject than I can go into here but it has at its heart what Ignatius called “feelings of desolation” (when things don’t feel right inside) and “feelings of consolation” (when they do). So the next time you’re taking a long loving look at the real, listen to what the little voice inside (which we as Christians would say could be God) is saying to you. God can speak within the heart in direct intuitive communication. God’s message for all of us is, “Come to me. I love you the way you are”.