Transplanted eyebrows seem to be a trend in the latest body modifications for a growing number of women who can afford them. The procedure sees hair follicles moved from the back of a person’s head to the front to form thicker, more “luxurious” eyebrows. Another interesting trend, particularly among men, is surgically increasing their height. According to a recent news report, a man spent more than $90,000 for the surgery. He apparently grew his height from 5 '9'’ to 6 '0” after struggling with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy.
Without expressing an opinion as to the aesthetic value of brows moved back to the front, or legs lengthened, what concerns me is their underlying “value added” perspective. In other words, a thicker, more shapely brow, or a taller stature, or for that matter, fewer wrinkles, more hair, less hair, or even trendy clothing somehow makes us more acceptable than who we are right now. I understand a bit of the angst.
In my mid-twenties, I was a television news anchor and had a daytime TV talk show. It wasn't long before I was regularly recognized when I was out in public. Linda can attest to the times people would stare or even shout my name across the street. Quite an ego boost for a young guy. With all the attention I started feeling uncomfortable in public without being properly coiffed. In those days, my hair was sprayed perfectly in place and as any male news anchor worth his salt, I had a thick mustache. Yes, picture Ron Burgundy. What would people think of me then if they saw the real me? Radio was so much simpler.
Being worried about what other people think of us can be our slippery slope; the comparison conundrum. If we’re honest with ourselves, so many of our efforts to be presentable are really about pleasing others and that thinking is often based on the premise that we’re not good enough unless we look like someone else. Somehow, somewhere we have been convinced that we miss the mark, and in order to measure up some form of alteration is required.
The fashion industry is among the worst and most flagrant voices that remind us non-stop that we’ll be a happier fit if we conform to a certain image. I continue to be blown away by an industry that sells clothing for both men and women based on perfect models and a perfect fit. Last time I checked, perfection does not exist except at the end of an airbrush. A change in industry practices seems unlikely. A recent article criticized the industry whose runways last year included a variety of shapes and sizes and this year have returned to, “thin is in ''. What a sad state of affairs in which we’re constantly set up to compare and try harder to look like a “perfect” someone else. It’s time to pull the people-pleasing plug.
You and I are made in the image of God. How can that not be good enough? I’ll tell you how; we have become accustomed to pleasing or impressing others at the cost of our authentic selves. It's what we do because we have grown up doing it and have been shown how to do it. Perhaps it’s time to stop living with the lies and exaggerations of others who stand to benefit from insecurities and concentrate more on our internal crafting by the Holy Spirit. That is transformation at the hand of Jesus who sees us for who we really are and sees in us the beauty of His creation - inside and out. That’s real value added.
Here's what I am not saying. I am not saying we shouldn't enjoy feeling good about ourselves in how we dress or look. What I am saying is our motivation should have the right bearing. If it's about meeting impossible comparisons or about being someone we're not, the joy is soon lost and disappointment is a common direction. We should first find our truest and best selves in who we’re made to be. From there the confident and beautiful self finds its footing in comfortable (or otherwise) shoes.