I was in one of my sociology tutorials last week and left the class with an overwhelming sadness and the urge to cry. The topic for the week was 'makeovers'. We were looking at the nature of makeovers, how that is encouraged and represented in the media, how that is then taken on by individuals, and how the notion of makeovers affect consumer culture and practices.
About five minutes into my tutorial, a thought occurred to me: makeovers are useless.
My thought process kind of looked like this (i.e. an organised mess):
This is a terrible reality for those who live within it. None of this indicates a sense of true hope, genuine happiness, or freedom. Everything points towards short-term fixes that will only momentarily deal with the surface issues of one's insecurities without exploring the depths or solving the heart of the problem. For example, Betty didn't like her nose, so she got a nose job. Sure, she changed her nose, but did she really deal with why she felt like she needed to do it in the first place? Does changing the external transform the internal?
I posed a few of the questions above to the others in my tutorial and they replied with frustrated yells and angry comments suggesting that I didn't understand the topic at all. The reality is, I've been saved from this mentality and this is no longer a reality to me. So maybe I don't fully understand it, but I don't think I mind at all.
"Human nature" was the overwhelmingly popular reason given by those in my tutorial to explain why life "is just this way." I'm going to say that blaming human nature is a cop out. Blaming human nature is like throwing your hands up and saying that you had nothing to do with anything because you were predisposed to behave in this manner. Some people complain about faith and religion because they think that it means trading your freewill for rules and regulations (which it doesn't, but we can talk about that later); blaming human nature is basically doing the exact same thing. By doing this, you are not taking responsibility for your actions, and therefore instead of your freewill being controlled by religious rules, you are saying that human nature dictates all of your actions and decisions.
You're basically going around in circles, aren't you?
Growing up in a Christian family, it's easy to think that you don't have a super great testimony that you can blow others away with. However this was one of those significant times where I was reminded of what God has already saved me from. It is only by the grace of God that I've never had to go through the mentality of always feeling inadequate because I can't please everyone or reach everyone's standards - or even all of my own standards for myself.
It is impossible to live by multiple standards - where is the integrity in that? We should only be living by one standard. I guess you have to decide for yourself whose standards you're going to live by. For me, I live by God's standards. His standards are ridiculously high and difficult to attain, but there is nothing more that I believe in, and as long as I'm diligent in trying, and getting closer to being more like Him each and every day, then I'm satisfied.
Instead of feeling terrible about being inadequate by the world's standards, I am able to feel great about being inadequate by God's standards because I know that He is good enough, and He makes up the difference for me.
This terrible reality doesn't have to be a reality. Not even a little bit. Not at all. And the closer you are to realising that, the closer you are to genuinely being made over.