In this post, I’m sharing a lot about my personal journey with my beauty and confidence insecurities, and how God helped me to see myself the way he does.
My biggest insecurity growing up was my dark complexion. I wasn’t always insecure about my gifts and talents until I started believing the things people said to me and about me. Deep down I knew to ignore the words, but somehow, I was programmed to believe that I was too dark to be pretty and too dark to be successful. I was programmed to believe that I was nothing special.
Many years ago, I cried, and I asked God, “Why did you make me black and dark?” I asked if he even loved me or hated me. That wasn’t the first time I asked. It was a repeated question for a long time. As much as I believed in a true God, I believed even more in the lies, that God did not love me. He loved everyone else, but he didn’t love me. I believed I was ugly, lame, and unworthy. The way people treated me, negatively affected my self-esteem. I was insecure, broken, and filled with self-hate. I didn’t think I was beautiful at all. I rarely received validation or genuine compliments to remind me that I was beautiful. I remember being last choice, rejected, called names, and compared to looking like other women from Africa as if that were a bad thing. The jokes were mean and harsh.
When I asked God why he created me the way he did and if he truly loved me, I don’t remember him giving me a direct answer back then. In fact, it took over ten years of going through more suffering and maturing until I heard him clearly. I experienced more hate, discrimination, colorism, and racism. I felt like I always had to work four times harder than anyone to prove I was smart, kind, talented, and skillful. I was judged by other Christians for not acting like a Christian. I was judged by non-Christians for being too religious or spiritual. I was knocked down again and again.
As young as I can remember, people mocked me. They compared my dark skin to black and dark objects. I was often compared to other young girls and as I got older, I noticed how people compared me to my friends or other young women who had a lighter complexion. I never intentionally treated white women, light skinned women, or even brown women differently. I was never triggered enough to be mean or hateful to them; however, I was treated that way, and often felt inferior. I never felt jealous of them, but I strongly believed people wanted me to be jealous. Or maybe, they never wanted me to have the same level of confidence.
I didn’t understand it back then, but as I got older, I realized colorism was just as toxic and wicked as racism. In many cases, colorism hurts more. If I made a mistake or sinned, I was condemned, but others if they did the same or worse, they were favored and justified. If I tried something new or shared my goals, it was quickly dismissed. If I achieved a major goal, it wasn’t always celebrated or supported by everyone. I was the underdog. And because of my experiences, I isolated myself, and stopped sharing my goals, dreams, and visions.
It’s difficult to prosper in confidence when you’re in an environment created to keep you in a drought. I was around people who treated me the way they saw me. They may have wanted me to do good, but never better than them. When I look back, I realized I became the environment that I was in. I was influenced by the negative thoughts. I realize now that my spirit was different. I was a different type of girl. I wasn’t perfect or innocent, but I was set apart. But my environment didn’t receive that. And for the most part, neither did I. I was a threat and a target to the enemy. My complexion was a tool Satan used against me every day. It caused anxiety, doubt, fear, and depression. The enemy wanted me to focus more on my looks and less on God. But as a young child, teenager, and young women, I didn’t know how to fight that battle.
This may surprise people, but I was never taught how to love myself or my skin. I was taught how to hate my skin. The women in my family didn’t experience the same things as I did, so my issues weren’t trivial to them. Sadly, instead of showing compassion, some perpetuated my insecurities. I needed that representation, and I wanted to hear compliments, but I never did. I was reminded of how pretty I was when I was a baby; however, the young girl and the woman I was becoming was labeled with limitations. I was only pretty when I dressed up or lost weight or looked beautiful in my pictures. I was only smart or talented when someone needed me to help them write something. I was only good and sweet when I said yes.
Most of my life, I was reminded that I looked nothing like my siblings because my features were different. As funny or sad as this may seem, I wondered if I was adopted, switched at birth, or if my father was my real father. There were rumors regarding the matter when I was born because I was darker than my sister. On the other hand, people would say that I looked just like my father to imply that I was unattractive. It was hurtful. I’ll admit, I gave everyone around me way more power than they deserved. But I also believe my struggles were deeper than just people saying mean and offensive things about my complexion, it was a spiritual attack as well.
I lived a young life of abandonment, shame, loneliness, and rejection. I spent years locked in my room, and I never participated in any sports because I felt insecure. I was a cheerleader for a couple of years, and I was on the dance team in high school. I didn’t realize I developed self-hate until my mid-twenties. I didn’t understand why I grew up being treated like I was the black sheep. I didn’t understand why people at school cast me out. I hated my complexion so much in middle school, I thought about bleaching my skin with real bleach. There was another time in middle school I felt so unloved, I thought about committing suicide. I wanted people to accept and like me, but I learned that I was not going to be everyone’s favorite person and that people only tolerated me because I was nice.
It’s difficult to build confidence when you’re constantly judged, criticized, and being compared to others, but it’s possible once you realize you’re worth. It’s hard to feel beautiful and have high self-esteem when you’re told you’re ugly or called burnt. It’s hard to be around people who think you’re worthless and who truly don’t want to see you succeed simply because you don’t look beautiful. But I learned that my worth wasn’t rooted in other people’s acceptance or Satan’s lies. It took many years to understand that. It took many years to accept it. It was a hard pill to swallow, but I realized that some people may never like me or the best part of me. Some people will reject me because of the way I look, talk, and dress. Their opinions about me does not change God’s will for my life. Although their words hurt, their words didn’t have enough power to stop me from using my gifts and talents. Many people are still programmed to believe that a dark-skinned girl cannot be obedient to God, beautiful, loving, kind, talented, genuine, and successful. But that is not true. That is a lie.
When I separated from people, I heard God’s voice clearly. I felt his love for me. I learned to uproot all the bad seeds and began to plant fruitful seeds in my mind. In my thirties, especially within the last four years, my thoughts about myself changed. I see myself the way God does. My confidence is not rooted in other people, their opinions, comments, likes, or superficial validation. Instead of waiting for someone to love me, I can continue loving myself.
From the time I was a little girl, the enemy had a plan to discourage me and to influence me to give up on myself. The enemy never wanted me to be confident and fulfill my calling. He never wanted me to achieve my goals and win at life. He wanted me to focus on the people who hurt me. He wanted me to believe the lies, and he wanted me to feel so rejected, that I’d turn away from God. But God turned the rejection into restoration. All the things I went through prepared me for the new seasons to come. He walked with me through those years of brokenness and fixed me up.
If you’re a young dark-skinned girl or an older woman struggling to feel beautiful and accepted by others, let me remind you that God does love you and value you. Your experience may be like mine or completely different; nonetheless, here are scriptures to remind you of who God is, who you are, and how he sees you. Some scriptures will also help you to let go of the insecurities, and to have confidence.
“Behold, thou art fair, my love; Behold, thou art fair; Thou hast doves' eyes.”
Song of Solomon 1:15 KJV
“Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.” - Isaiah 62:3-4 KJV
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:" - 1 Peter 2:9 KJV
“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: But a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised." - Proverbs 31:30 KJV
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”
John 15:16 KJV
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Marvellous are thy works; And that my soul knoweth right well." - Psalm 139:14 KJV
“She is more precious than rubies: And all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her." - Proverbs 3:15 KJV
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” - Genesis 1:27 KJV
“for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” - Romans 3:23 KJV
“I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, As the tents of Kedar, As the curtains of Solomon." - Song of Solomon 1:5 KJV
“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." - Jeremiah 1:5 KJV
“It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man.”
Psalm 118:8 KJV
“For the LORD shall be thy confidence, And shall keep thy foot from being taken.”
Proverbs 3:26 KJV
“for there is no respect of persons with God.” Romans 2:11 KJV
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." - Jeremiah 29:11 KJV
"Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. " - Romans 8: 39
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” - Philippians 4:8 KJV
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12 KJV
“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 KJV
“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29 KJV
And be not confirmed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. - Romans 8: Romans 12:2
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16