By An Hui, Myanmar
Having an Inferiority Complex About My Plain Appearance
I used to be a very inferior girl. Whenever I saw beautiful and elegant girls on TV or in magazines, I was consumed with envy. Then, looking at myself in the mirror: Ordinary appearance, normal figure, and yellowish teeth, all these caused the sense of inferiority to creep up on me.
The Cruelty of Reality Made Me Unwilling to Be Mediocre
At school, wherever beautiful girls went, they would become the center of attention. Standing together with them showed even more my mediocrity, and sometimes my classmates laughed at my teeth. This hurt me and brought about feelings of inferiority. I thought: “In this age where people value a good-looking face, could it be that those with average looks are meant to be laughed at?” I secretly swore an oath to myself: When I earned money, I would dress up beautifully.
The reality, however, gave me another heavy blow. After entering society, I found several good jobs, but failed to be employed due to my plain appearance, and so I could only get an ordinary job. I felt that it was too unfair and materialistic in the world, just like the popular saying, “A man makes a living through his skills, while a woman with her looks.” I couldn’t change the world, so I had to change myself. As people say, “Fine clothes make the man,” and “There’s no ugly woman but the lazy one.” Thus, in the following days, as long as I got my salary, I would be impatient to buy clothes and cosmetics online. I would also purchase the beautiful clothes I saw which women around me wore and clothes in new styles. Whenever looking at myself in various beautiful clothes in the mirror, I felt I became pretty, and my heart was brimming with pleasure.
Frustrated Again by Failing to Become Beautiful
Just when I felt I was becoming pretty day by day, freckles silently appeared on my clean face. During that period, upon seeing me, my colleagues asked me in surprise, as if discovering a new continent, “Are you married? Do you have a child?” After knowing the answer was no, they all found it hard to believe. Seeing their astonished expressions, I really wanted to find a place to hide away. Since then, freckles became my greatest enemy. In order to remove freckles, I started to search online for related products. As long as learning of some effective products, no matter how expensive they were, I would prefer to borrow money from my sister to buy them.
As expected, for the first few months, my freckles started to fade away. This brought me an indescribable feeling of happiness. At that time, I thought, “No matter how much money I spend, as long as I can get my clean, fair face back, then it will be worth it.” But good times don’t last long. After a while, my freckles reappeared and grew darker than before. This failure in becoming beautiful caused me great pain, and I felt too ashamed to see anyone. Since then, at work I tried my best to avoid the crowd, and I daren’t look directly at others, fearing that they might ask me why there were so many freckles on my face.
To cover the freckles, I began to use more cosmetics. Every time before going out, I would spend over an hour making myself up; while at work, I would often go to the restroom to fix my face, lest others see my freckles. Each time that I took off my makeup and saw my freckled face in the mirror, I couldn’t help but complain: Why do I still look like an ugly duckling no matter how great the effort? Could it be that I am unable to hold my head up high like this all my life? The more I thought about it, the more upset I got, and my heart felt extremely depressed.
Recognizing God’s Sovereignty, Getting Released in My Heart
Later, my friend preached the kingdom gospel of Almighty God to me. After going to church, I found that the church was completely different from society. When brothers and sisters got together, all they fellowshiped was God’s words, and everything they talked about was related to the truth, such as how to know their own corrupt dispositions, how to be an honest person, how to live out a meaningful life, etc. Furthermore, they didn’t look up to or belittle anyone based on their clothes, makeup, and appearance. Instead, they treated others equally, and whoever had difficulties, they would help them with a loving heart. In the church, I felt warmth and a kind of relaxation which I had never had before.
Afterward, I saw these words from God, “Where a person is born, what family he or she is born into, one’s gender, appearance, and time of birth: these are the details of the first juncture of a person’s life.” “No one has any choice about these parts in this juncture; they are all predestined long in advance by the Creator. They are not influenced by the external environment in any way, and no manmade factors can change these facts that the Creator has predetermined.”
After reading God’s words, I came to understand that my appearance and the family I was born into were both predestined by God. God is righteous, and His arrangements are always good. Though I was not beautiful, God didn’t cold-shoulder me. He allowed me to have the fortune to accept His kingdom gospel and hear His words, and gave me the chance to pursue the truth, cast off my corruption, live out the likeness of a real man, and attain God’s salvation. Wasn’t this God’s elevation and grace? Coming to this realization, I felt so lucky, was willing to obey God’s orchestrations and arrangements, and no longer complained about the situation. At that moment, my long-depressed heart was finally liberated somewhat.
Finding the Root of Pain Under the Guidance of God’s Words
At work, however, when hearing my colleagues talk about topics such as cosmetics, clothes and makeup, and when hearing they say privately who was beautiful or who had a good figure, unconsciously I began to be influenced by them, and always felt that I was very average looking and was inferior to others. So, I prayed to God, “O God, I’m suffering again because I’m not beautiful. God, please guide me to understand Your will and protect my heart from being affected by the surrounding people, things and events.”
Later, in a meeting, we read the following passage of God’s words, “The ideas that social trends bring about for people, the way they cause people to conduct themselves in the world, the life goals and outlook that they bring about in people. These are very important; they can control and influence man’s state of mind. … So what are these trends? You cannot see these trends with the naked eye. When the wind of a trend blows through, perhaps only a small number of people will become the trendsetters. They start off doing this kind of thing, accepting this kind of idea or this kind of perspective. The majority of people, however, in the midst of their unawareness, will still be continually infected, assimilated and attracted by this kind of trend, until they all unknowingly and involuntarily accept it, and are all submerged in and controlled by it. For man who is not of sound body and mind, who never knows what is truth, who cannot tell the difference between positive and negative things, these kinds of trends one after another make them all willingly accept these trends, the life view and values that come from Satan. They accept what Satan tells them on how to approach life and the way to live that Satan ‘bestows’ on them. They have not the strength, neither do they have the ability, much less the awareness to resist.”
A sister gave fellowship on my condition, saying, “We can know from God’s words that Satan creates various evil trends to corrupt man. All manner of popular sayings in society, such as ‘A woman makes a living with her looks,’ ‘A pretty face makes things easier,’ and ‘Beauty is a woman’s capital,’ are all the social trends brought about by Satan. Its purpose is to change man’s thoughts and the direction for their life pursuits, and to make people take looks and appearance as the standards by which to define a man’s lowliness or nobleness. As a result, everyone pursuits physical attractiveness, and puts appearance and looks above all else. Plus, under the influence of the satanic views and ideas that ‘Clothes make the man, a saddle makes the horse,’ and ‘There’s no ugly woman but the lazy one,’ people are no longer concerned with real work, and instead, every day they focus on how to dress up and look good. They want to change their appearance through human methods such as makeup, cosmetology, and plastic surgery, so that they will change their own life, and they are willing to pay any price. Even though some people become beautiful through some methods, their skins are damaged due to injection of too many chemicals; there are also some people whose features begin to change long after plastic surgery, being disfigured, and thus they live in pain and even feel pessimistic and disappointed about life. All this is the result of Satan using evil trends to corrupt man. Actually, whatever appearance God has arranged for us is most suitable, and His good will is behind it all; thus, we don’t need to chang+e our looks. However, for lack of discernment, we follow the evil social trends, and regard physical attractiveness as the goal to pursue. So when we fail to achieve it, we will feel painful, miserable, and increasingly inferior.”
The revelation of God’s words and my sister’s fellowship allowed me to realize that pursuing physical attractiveness is an evil trend created by Satan. Meanwhile, I also came to understand that the root cause of my pain was because I had no discernment on the evil trends and blindly pursued them. I recalled when I first entered society, I often heard people say, “A man makes a living through skills, while a woman with her looks,” and “Beauty is a woman’s capital,” and recalled how my plain appearance caused me to be mocked by my classmates at school, and led to me failing to get a good job; thus, I acknowledged these sayings, and believed that one’s appearance determined whether one lived with dignity. Therefore, I started paying more attention to my appearance, and tried every possible means to remove my freckles. In the end, however, I still couldn’t realize my plans of becoming pretty despite spending my money and energy; I also felt depressed because of failing to treat my looks correctly. I now understood that the root cause of my pain was because of Satan’s corruption. If God’s words hadn’t revealed the root of the problem, how could I have seen through Satan’s schemes? Upon realizing this, I secretly made a resolution to earnestly pursue the truth and break away from the bondage and affliction of this evil trend.
My Colleague’s Words Made Me Lose Direction Again
In the days that followed, I stopped wearing a lot of foundation, and no longer intentionally got dressed. Just when I thought that I didn’t care about appearance anymore, once at work a male colleague suddenly walked toward me and said, “An Hui, you’re not good-looking. Why don’t you get dolled up? You see, your eyebrows are light….” These words humiliated me, and I couldn’t help thinking, “Yeah, his words made sense. If I dress myself up, others will be pleased when they see me. I’d better continue to use makeup.” Unknowingly, I returned back to my old life: Every time before I went out, I would spend much time putting on makeup and choosing clothes.
Gradually, I found that most of my energy was spent on clothes and makeup, which took up most of my time. Looking at the sisters around me, they poured their energies into pursuing the truth, and their fellowship about the truth was of great benefit to others. When facing undesirable things, they could deal with them according to God’s words. And they lived real and liberated lives without anxiety. This way of living out filled me with envy, and I also wanted to live a real life and stop wearing a mask.
Understanding the Truth, Finding the Direction in Life
Once, during my spiritual devotion, I read a passage of Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life, “Some people’s vanity is too strong, and they are especially superficial. They devote all their time to their appearance and to using makeup. They always think that they are not good-looking, so they always dress themselves up. As a result, they spend much money on it without achieving any result. Isn’t that foolish? Even if you are good-looking, then what of it? No matter what you look like, you have a human appearance. If you live out normal humanity, live out God’s words and the truth, live out the likeness of a truly honest, the likeness of a true person, liked and blessed by God, this is better than anything else. It’s not necessary for you to look beautiful before others. It’s good to have the truth inside. This is related to one’s perspectives of looking at things.”
This fellowship touched my heart deeply. I came to understand what pursuits were the most meaningful. Meanwhile, I realized that my vanity was too strong, and that, I always attached great importance to looks and appearance, and wanted to gain others’ admiration. I thought to myself, “Even if others look up to me, then what? My wearing makeup occupies a large part of every day. On top of satisfying my temporary vanity, what else could it bring to me? God’s will is for me to pursue the truth, be a simple, honest person, and worship God in spirit and in truth. If I don’t seek the truth, and don’t conduct myself or act based on God’s words, God will dislike me even if I look beautiful.” With this in mind, my heart suddenly brightened, and I had a direction for the road ahead. At that moment, I felt much more at ease, and was ready to obey God’s rule and arrangements.
Subsequently, I began to perform my duty in the church, and focus on seeking the truth. Every day was abundant, and my heart was filled with peace and joy. I truly felt that appearance was actually not important, and that only by coming before God, pursuing the truth and fulfilling the duty of a creature could we have a meaningful life. Nowadays I am no longer constrained by my ordinary appearance, and I feel ever more liberated. When seeing me, my colleagues said, “An Hui, you’ve become confident lately.” Hearing this, I was full of gratitude to God in my heart. It was the guidance of God’s words that helped me get rid of the inferiority complex and find the goal and direction in life.