The following is a compilation of quotes presented at EFY a few weeks ago to all of the girls. It came right after an epiphany of sorts and expounded on that. You see, I realized that Heavenly Father cares about how we see ourselves; our self image and self worth are tied to our spiritual and overall well-being. Simply put if I can't see myself as attractive, graceful, and sexy, it does matter.
The secret to being attractive does not reside merely in possessing the genetic makeup to be physically good-looking or mastering the latest fashion trends. In fact, it has very little to do with these things. Attractive people attract other people to bask in their presence. They shine with an inner light that calls people to them. The light is born of personal confidence and and presence of being. The power to attract cannot be faked, bought, or given. It must be earned. This is very difficult for an innately shy girl. I have worked very hard to pull my personal space bubble in tight so that I can get closer to other people. It takes constant effort and work. When placed in social settings I actually set goals and actively pursue ways in which I can grow. The goals may seem simple from the outside: laugh at jokes, say what is on your mind after just a brief mental review so as to avoid over-thinking it and therefore not saying anything at all, look people in the eye, break the touch barrier, ask questions, make small talk, initiate a hug when saying good bye. As I have learned to be more introspective and allow the lessons I learn to impact my every day socializing, I have discovered that I can be attractive! What a revelation! Not all the time, of course; I am still frequently asked if there is something wrong because I look melancholy or someone will take it upon themselves to make sure that I smile, but I am making progress and people are noticing.
Grace is found in movement, modesty, and a sense of who one is how they came to be. When I was 17 1/2 our theme at Girls Camp was centered around the truth that we are daughters of a king and therefore princesses. The idea was that the Young Women's program gives a young lady six years to study intensely to become a princess. I wrote down my goals to learn princessly behavior in the six months before I left the program. Learning to be graceful was on the list. To me this meant that I would learn to move without knocking into people or things, to dance, and speak to others without becoming hopelessly befuddled. Grace is still on my list of things to learn but my definition has changed slightly. A steady gaze, an air of purpose, and the ability to gently lift others are all qualities I associate with gracious women. It takes a life time of practice, experience, humility, and service to gain such a distinguished character. Learning to be gracious will be on my list forever.
The more I learn about the human body and appreciate what it can do, the less I am afraid of my own body and how it ties into who I am. I am a woman of many curves. More often than not I find myself embarrassed by how obvious the bumps and lumps can be, even when they are in socially acceptable places or simply not in my power to change. I have layered, pulled, stretched, and disguised my curves in fabric to avoid acknowledging them. What a shame! The more I come to understand that my unique shape is something to be proud of, the more I feel . . . well . . . sexy. This is a good thing. It lets me rejoice in this divine blessing without making excuses for the parts that don't fit modern standards of worldly beauty. No matter how different I may feel from my peers, my physical body is tangible proof that my Heavenly Father loves me and that I love Him. Because I have a body I know without a doubt that I followed His plan once before and had the courage to fight for the right to my free agency in this temporal world. I also know that my Father would not give me an imperfect temple for my spirit. It is up to me to find the perfection therein and let it shine.
Now, on to the quotes from prophets and leaders who know the worth of a woman:
Most of us have felt at one time or another that we don’t quite fit in. Much of the confusion we experience in this life comes from simply not understanding who we are. Too many go about their lives thinking they are of little worth when, in reality, they are elegant and eternal creatures of infinite value with potential beyond imagination.
CES Fireside November 1, 2009
My dear young friends, this knowledge allows you to see your own reflection in the water. It assures you that you are not ordinary, rejected, or ugly. You are something divine—more beautiful and glorious than you can possibly imagine. This knowledge changes everything. It changes your present. It can change your future. And it can change the world.
CES Fireside November 1, 2009
President Spencer W. Kimball
“Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world....Thus it will be that female exemplars of the Church will be a significant force in both the numerical and spiritual growth of the Church in the last days
-Ensign, November 1979
Popular culture today often makes women look silly, inconsequential, mindless, and powerless. It objectifies them and disrespects them and then suggests that they are able to leave their mark on mankind only by seduction—easily the most pervasively dangerous message the adversary sends to women about themselves.
-Ensign May 2010
And so, my dear young women, with all my heart I urge you not to look to contemporary culture for your role models and mentors. Please look to your faithful mothers for a pattern to follow. Model yourselves after them, not after celebrities whose standards are not the Lord’s standards and whose values may not reflect an eternal perspective. Look to your mother. Learn from her strengths, her courage, and her faithfulness.
Ensign, May 2010