If I were to let the world tell me who I am and what I’m worth, I would be a very unhappy person indeed.
We live in a world that seems bent on telling us we’re not good enough, pretty enough, or skinny enough. According to society’s standards, we are simply not enough! We are inundated with the world’s idea of beauty and perfection. It is no wonder that so many are unhappy. When measured against such a measuring stick, many of us will be found wanting. Perhaps this is why so many young people struggle with self-esteem.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve of Apostles offered this counsel for all the young women of the Church:
“I plead with you young women to please be more accepting of yourselves, including your body shape and style, with a little less longing to look like someone else. We are all different. Some are tall, and some are short. Some are round, and some are thin. And almost everyone at some time or other wants to be something they are not!
But as one adviser to teenage girls said: “You can’t live your life worrying that the world is staring at you. When you let people’s opinions make you self-conscious, you give away your power.” The key to feeling confident is to always listen to your inner self—the real you. And in the kingdom of God, the real you is more precious than rubies.”
How can one as imperfect as I find happiness? Simple: I am happy because I know who I am. I do not let society decide my worth. I’m happy because I have been blessed abundantly by my Heavenly Father. No, I don’t have a lot of money. I’m not as talented as many others. I’m not as smart as a lot of people I know, and I definitely do not look anything like the media’s image of beauty. I have a lot of anxieties and worries. I worry about my children, about the future, and about my husband’s safety. Still, I am so wondrously happy.
I’m happy because I’ve been given many gifts. I have the gift of health. The gift of a happy home. The gift of family. The gift of love. The gift of good friends. The gift of freedom. The gift of the Atonement. The gift of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in my life.
As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I know that I’m a daughter of God. I know that He knows me personally and loves me as I am. I don’t have to be perfect or to be a certain size for Him to accept me. He accepts me as I am. He knows my many failings and He forgives me when I’m sincere about forsaking those weaknesses and faults.
President Spencer W. Kimball (12th President and Prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) once wrote about an interview he had with a couple that was about to be married. He shared this advice with them.
Happiness is a strange commodity. It cannot be purchased with money, and yet it is bought with a price. It is not dependent upon houses, or lands, or flocks, or degrees, or position, or comforts; for many of the most unhappy people in all the world have these. The millionaire has comforts and luxuries, but he has no happiness unless he has paid the same price for it that you can also pay. Often the rich are the most unhappy.
If you think that ease and comfort and money are necessary to your happiness, ask your parents and others whose lives are in the autumn…
You ask, “What is the price of happiness?” You will be surprised with the simplicity of the answer. The treasure house of happiness may be unlocked and remain open to those who use the following keys: First, you must live the gospel of Jesus Christ in its purity and simplicity—not a half-hearted compliance, but hewing to the line, and this means an all-out devoted consecration to the great program of salvation and exaltation in an orthodox manner. Second, you must forget yourself and love your companion more than yourself. If you do these things, happiness will be yours in great and never failing abundance.
Happiness is a gift that we can all have in our lives. Our Heavenly Father wants us to find true, lasting happiness. He wants us to feel joy in this life. The prophet Nephi taught us that men are so that they might have joy (2 Nephi 2:25).
We’ve been given a blueprint to follow in order for us to find true happiness. It is up to each of us to decide if we are going to be happy by following our Heavenly Father or be unhappy by listening to the world. My happiness begins with me just as your happiness begins with you!