Maybe you can relate. I can typically see through the marketing hoopla of most beauty products. But when I have a pimple, or when I feel badly about my appearance, I could be tempted to buy anything.
It sounds somewhat ridiculous now but I was recently contemplating buying a $500 beauty gadget that zaps electric pulses into your skin and allegedly kills bacteria, sculpts your face and encourages the buildup of beneficial collagen. Or so it says. All because I had a pimple.
Typically I have very good skin. I might have little clogged pores every few weeks but I won’t have a hard cystic pimple a few times a year. And when I do, it’s all I can think about. And I always scour the internet for quick fix solutions, peering into photo after photo of flawless-looking models trying to discern their secrets.
But typically before I fall into a vat of self-loathing, I try to tell myself this one phrase that brings me back to earth. It’s a phrase that keeps me from emptying my checking account every time I get a blemish.
Who told you you were naked?
Let me explain.
I heard this message in a sermon once. Bear with me, because I know that sounded like a terribly boring thing to say even if you’re religious.
In the book of Genesis, God created the first two humans, Adam and Even, and they lived in the perfect Garden of Eden with plenty to eat and no sin. There was just one rule in the Garden – the humans were not to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil or else they would surely die. But the Snake told the two people that they wouldn’t die and that they instead would have knowledge like God. They ate the fruit, realized they were naked and sewed some leaves on themselves to cover their bodies.
God sees the humans, now wearing “clothes” and ask what’s up. Adam and Eve explain to God, we covered ourselves up because we were naked. And God says, Who told you you were naked?
God created the two humans naked and he thought it was good. Adam and Eve didn’t think anything of it – I mean they were the only humans so who was there to judge them? But then they ate this fruit and thought, oh well I can’t be naked!
Before the Snake, they didn’t have clothes, right. They were nude. But after eating the fruit, they felt naked. To be naked, connotes a sense of shame. Basically the Snake convinced them that they were missing something, that God was withholding something from them. And the Snake brought them shame.
Adam and Eve were living in Paradise and were at peace with God. They were happy. Then they disobeyed God’s orders and covered themselves up for who? This random Snake?
I think about this whenever I’m thinking of making an impulse purchase. This machine will give you great skin. That outfit will make you sexy. This app will make you smarter.
And I think to myself, Who told you you were naked?
Who said my skin needed fixing? Or my body? Or my brain? Who was the one that said that this supposed imperfection was the basis for my self worth?
Let alone whether these products deliver the marketed results.
It reminds me (it sounds quite stupid but I need reminding) that I am more than my pimple. I am more than my looks. I shouldn’t surrender everything to the gods of beauty marketing or any other marketing that is meant to make me feel less than. If I’m ever going to achieve my goals, I can’t get derailed by buying everything that is meant to capitalize on every weakness I feel about myself.
So I thought of this story, said the phrase to myself and decided to forgo the $500 product. My pimple cleared up after a few days.