#liedentity - Dwelling Spaces

Tuesday, 20 February 2018


Today I have been at the #liedentity conference run by the Diocese of Gloucester (click here for more details). The campaign around this hashtag is addressing the growing issue of negative body image and the resulting mental and physical health difficulties especially for young people. The message the campaign is promoting is that who you are is more important than how you look. Not that appearance doesn't matter, but our image-focused society is over-emphasising this. 

I was struck by the degree of inevitability of this shift with the advent of social media. When our relationships are conducted at arms length, and often now with people we don't physically meet, then the image we project has the potential to become much more significant than our character. And yet what came out so strongly today was that when young people were given the tools and opportunity to say what they valued in each other the real basis for deep friendship and true identity was revealed.  And of course it was never about the way someone looked.

So my challenge coming away from today, that I challenge you with too, is to be less lazy in my conversation, particularly with young people.  If I really value the person I am talking to, it is not enough to say, 'that's a pretty dress', or 'love that jacket on you', or 'that makes you look so slim'. These are nice things to say, but they are all about valuing appearance.  What about asking why they chose to wear them, or just go for a different conversation starter: what has made you smile today? What's the best thing about living here? What were you thinking about when you woke up this morning?

The Christian story is one that believes in the uniqueness and value of each person, and is totally committed to healing and restoring relationships between us and God, between each of us, and between us and creation.  This is only possible when we know, value and love who we are, and are truly interested in knowing, valuing and loving others. So take a risk, be vulnerable, and get to know someone deeper than through their appearance.

1 comment:

  1. Must we not master self awareness before we can look at anyone or anything. If we do not know who we are how cane we possibly know and love? Then through reflection we can look at who we are and where we are going.