“You have girly hands”
I remember those words like they were spoken to me yesterday. I was a vulnerable young man in high school, and one of my classmates gravely wounded me. Those words changed the way I viewed myself. I became so insecure and increasingly paranoid. I felt as if my hands were something to be ashamed of. I’m not saying that girl’s hands are bad, but no guy wants to be told he has feminine hands, just like any girl would not like to be told she has manly hands. Those words wounded my masculine identity; it struck an intimate part of me.
There are thousands, if not millions, of stories like mine. I’ve known men who were told that they had a feminine figure. A dear and beloved friend of mine was once told her forehead was too big. Since then, she has tried to cover it up in any way possible, and on the days she lets it be seen, she feels a great sense of insecurity and discomfort. I’ve also witnessed instances of people taking pictures of strangers who are overweight/obese and poking fun of them on social media. This is tragic. It is the result of a culture that fails to see the sacredness and beauty of the human body.
Words: Weapons of Destruction or Instruments of Love
When we take the liberty to negatively critique what we perceive to be the “flaws” of someone’s body, we demean a part of them that is sacred. It is a distorted way of exalting oneself and covering up for one’s own insecurities. It plants a seed that multiplies into weeds of lies and spreads throughout the garden of a person’s heart, preventing them from seeing the beauty of who they really are.
Do we want to plant seeds of discouragement or do we wish to plants seeds of love? Words of discouragement cause people to do things they otherwise would have never done. They drive people toward eating disorders, empty physical relationships, unnecessary plastic surgery, cutting, depression, etc.
Words of love, however, uplift a person. They have the capability of bringing someone to life. I can’t describe to you the joy I feel every time I complement a sister in Christ on her appearance. Just one comment like, “Wow that dress is really pretty, and you look beautiful!” can change the mood of her entire day. Right away I notice her eyes light up and her smile becomes as radiant as the sun. And Ladies… gentleman love it when you affirm them as well, so a comment on their handsome appearance doesn’t hurt either.
As for my beloved sister who is insecure about the size of her forehead: Your forehead is beautiful. It’s perfect. As a matter of fact, it is the same forehead your future husband will kiss at the beginning and end of everyday to show his tender love and affection for you.
And as for my hands… well, to God, they’re meaningful. These are the same hands that I hope will be used to transform bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ if I become a priest. Regardless of how I see them, they will be hands that God uses to anoint, bless, console, encourage, embrace, and forgive. I may fail to see the sacredness of them often, but to God they are precious and an instrument of his mercy.
Alex Lambis was born in New York City and his family immigrated to the states from Colombia. He graduated from the University of Central Florida, then served as a missionary in Denver, serving the homeless. He then moved to New York City to speak to thousands of young people about the beautiful message of chastity and human dignity. He is a seminarian for the Diocese of Orlando, and hopes to become a priest one day! He currently runs his own blog, Splendid Glory at splendidglory.com