Am I beautiful? That's a question every woman asks herself. We all long to be seen as beautiful by others, and when we think we aren't, our self-esteem plummets to the ground. But what does beautiful mean? According to the media, beautiful means young, tall, sticky thin but with big breasts. They bombard us daily with airbrushed images of how a woman should appear, but their standard of beauty is so unrealistic that it is impossible to achieve. And as a result, many women feel they don't measure up.
They feel worthless. Ashamed. They start hating themselves. And this prevents them from living a happy and fulfilled life. Even Christian women, who are told they are beautiful because they are made in the image of God and that He cares only for what's in their hearts and not their outwards appearance, are affected by it. Only by taking back their beauty and realizing their own real value they "can be the culture-making, injustice-fighting, Christ-reflecting women they were created to be".
But this is easier said that done, as Chine Mbubaegbu, author of Am I Beautiful? knows very well. Like all women, Mbubaegbu too has suffered with body image problems. And she bares them all in the book. But this is not a biography nor a manual. It's a bit of both and more. Am I Beautiful?, in the words of its author, "is really a journey". By sharing her experiences, and the stories of other women, Mbubaegbu tries to explain what makes so many of us feel inadequate and find solutions to address the problem. She reminds us that it is in ourselves, and in God, not in a mirror, nor in a man's opinion, that we are going to find true beauty and worth.
Mbubaegbu challenges women to get out of their comfort zone, and gives them advice on how to feel pretty. Because when we do, when we feel comfortable in our own skin, and don't waste time worrying about our cellulite or the size of our thighs, we can just be ourselves. We stop hurting our bodies with crazy diets or hardcore exercise regimes. We refuse to stay at home, sulking or gorging on fast food, while our friends are having fun at the beach. We don't give up on our dreams, believing we're not pretty enough to achieve them. If we believe in ourselves, we are free. Free to do whatever we are supposed to do.
Am I Beautiful? is a raw, emotional and inspiring book. Mbubaegbu exposes herself and talks to you, not at you. Reading the book feels like talking to a friend, one I wish I had while I was growing up. The book challenges society's view of what is beautiful, makes you reflect about what really is important in life, and helps you feel beautiful, and special, even when you don't feel like it. This is a book that every Christian woman should read. I'm a bit hesitant to recommend it to non-Christians, even though its message is universal, because of the many Bible quotes the author uses to make her points.
But after you've read it, you can talk about it with all your friends, regardless of their religion. Because this is an issue that affects us all, and we can only solve it together by questioning what our society teaches us about beauty, and realizing that our worth has nothing to do with our physical appearance.
Am I Beautiful? by Chine Mbubaegbu is a raw and inspirational book that questions society's idea of beauty and helps women find their true worth so that they can be free to live their lives the way they are supposed to. The author shares her own struggles with body image, and offers tips on how to overcome them. As this is a book addressed to Christian women (and one they all should read), Mbubaegbu often quotes passages from the Bible to support her points. However, its message is universal.