It is such an honor to have my best friend and cousin Elise,
share her thoughts on modesty with us today!
- She blogs over HERE
Oh, modesty. What a fun topic, right? Really, though - it's a hot topic and an important one at that.
To me, modesty is a lot less about whether or not it's okay to wear a bikini than we sometimes make it out to be. We focus a lot on dress and appearance - ever wonder why? Raise your hand if you've felt insecure in your life because of how you were dressed compared to how someone else was dressed? Okay, now raise your hand if you felt like you had to dress a certain way to "fit in" or get dates or just be normal?
Okay. So, maybe the real hot topic here is deeper than what we wear. Maybe our real "big concerns" are actually feeling like we belong somewhere, feeling like we have value, and/or knowing that we are loved and wanted.
If you look up a definition of modesty, you'll find that it doesn't just talk about clothing. It talks about your demeanor, your actions, your attitude... modesty is not a dress code, it's a value. If we look at modesty as a principle, we can know how to be modest in dress and appearance. We also learn how to be modest in our actions, how to live within a modest budget, etc.
Let's talk about the foundation of the value of modesty. I'm sure there's more to it, but the foundation I rely on is the principle of self-worth. When you recognize your personal worth, you become free. What do I mean by that? I mean that suddenly the clothes you're wearing aren't about feeling valued because you dress like a movie star or you have the latest jeans from whichever store is cool these days. Suddenly, the way you present yourself is a lot more about who YOU already are and a lot less about who you think you have to be to "fit in". You become free because you're making choices based on the knowledge that you already have value and that value never goes away.
Pope John Paul II once said that "the problem with pornography is not that it shows too much of a person, but that it shows too little." Who we truly are is not about our bodies or what we put on them. Who we are is deep within us - the things we value, the choices we make, the person we want to become. When we dress for others we take the focus off who we are, and put it on what we are. We become objects to be looked at or enjoyed or appreciated instead of humans with feelings and values and worth.
Learn who you are and you won't need anyone to tell you whether or not that bikini is okay - in fact, that's the most freeing part of it all. Because you know who YOU are, nobody gets to take away your power by telling you how to dress.
I know I get a little soap box-y sometimes, so let me just sum up: You have and infinite and individual worth that is not defined by what others think of you or how you dress. You also have the ability to choose how you want to dress and act. To me, modesty is about knowing who you are and representing yourself in a way that shows that you know your worth - not showing off, but letting the real, beautiful you shine through.