One of my favorite scenes of X-Men: First Class (And probably one of my favorite scenes of anything.) is when Mystique is using the bench press and Erik walks in. (I spent forever trying to find a youtube video for this scene but I couldn’t find it. I am very sorry. Maybe I’ll find it later.) I can’t remember what he said word for word and he may have said more but he lifted her weight using his magnetic powers and he looked at her and said “If you’re using half your attention trying to look normal, than you’re only half paying attention to whatever else you’re doing.” He proceeded to prove his point my dropping the weight on her unexpectedly, causing her to lose focus and she went from being normal Raven, to the blue skinned Mystique. (If you are familiar with the Marvel universe than you know that she can change what she looks like, but her default body has blue skin.)
“Just pointing out something that could save your life someday.” Erik told her. “You want society to accept you, but you can’t even accept yourself.”
I know a lot of people would nod to themselves after reading that. A nod that signifies that they can relate. See, we try so hard to be accepted by others yet…we can’t even accept ourselves. Shouldn’t our first priority be to be comfortable ourselves? Why are you working so hard to please all these other people? You need to love yourself first! If you have accepted Jesus into your life than you are His child and that means that your identity isn’t found in anything of this world, your identity is found in Him. My bible study leader said something last week that has been sticking with me ever since. “If you want to deepen your relationship with Jesus than you need to be serious about your dignity and your identity in Him.”
So many people struggle with depression and eating disorders and anxiety. How many of those cases spring from having insecurities? What would this world be like if we could learn to accept ourselves? Think about that. Make it personal: how would you be different if you could accept yourself? Maybe you would buy that shirt you tried on at the store but couldn’t bring yourself to buy because it didn’t look good on you. Maybe you would smile more and walk taller. Maybe you would live more freely and dance crazier and try new things. Doesn’t that sound nice?
How much mental energy do you spend thinking about what you look like or contemplating how people might see you? How much time do you spend putting on makeup, doing your hair, or trying on different outfits? I know this is a crazy thought, but what if you woke up one morning and didn’t put on any makeup, put on clothes because you felt comfortable in them and didn’t give a second thought about how others would see you? Because when we spend so much time thinking about how we look, then we’re only half paying attention to whatever else we’re doing. Imagine being able to stand up and give a presentation at school and not worry about what other people are thinking of you. Or simply being able to walk with your friends and not thinking about it at all. How much more would you engage in conversation if you weren’t worried about saying something stupid?
Towards the end of the X-Men movie, Mystique comes to be at peace with herself. She is a mutant. Yes she has blue skin and she doesn’t look like everyone else and she might get weird looks but that was who she was. So she was able to say “Mutant and proud.” So she dropped the act and was able to simply be herself. And she fought so much better that way. When she was 100% herself.
Your life would be so much better if you could stop focusing so much on what other people think of you and simply be who you want to be. We are so focused on making sure other people like us that we lose ourselves along the way. We stop being who we want to be. How much time do we spend asking God if we’re who He wants us to be? Our desire should be to want to be who God wants us to be, not who other people want us to be.
You need to accept yourself.