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Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with my college final project, but I just thought that was an appropriate graphic to accompany this post.

It’s seems so tragic to think that a lot of us women view beauty as our crown of glory—the thing that dictates our sense of value and worth. It’s interesting to think that even the most beautiful women feel insecure because they know that their beauty doesn’t last forever and is also surrounded by constant competition. Even when beauty is said to be subjective, you can’t deny the fact that the majority of people can come to a consensus as to what is beautiful and what is not. There comes a point when you’re just hit by reality, when mantras and self-help books stop uplifting your spirits, and you’re left feeling helpless, defeated by the world, and devoid of worth.

This is the kind of feeling I’ve been struggling with my whole life, and not surprisingly, many others go through the same thing. I’ve gotten a lot better since my teenage years. Wearing sexy clothes and involving myself in the beach and clubbing culture helped my self-esteem temporarily, but it also made me feel like I was only going to be happy if I were sought after for my appearance. I was rather spoiled by it. I got so used to getting compliments about my appearance that if I didn’t get any, I’d feel extremely unhappy. I got compliments left and right from different men, but I only really wanted to be truly appreciated by one.

When I got married, there began the switch in my priorities. I only wanted to please one man, and compliments from others stopped mattering. I used to bathe in and revisit the moments when other people praised me, but I am not that kind of person anymore. I don’t even really feel good about some other guy clearly expressing his approval of me even publicly and in front of my husband, which has happened a few times.

Because my source for my sense of worth has been consolidated to getting the approval of only one man, I get shattered by the fact that my husband still gets tempted by images of other women regardless of how giving I am and how much I keep up with my appearance. I sometimes reminisce about the times I used to wear sexy clothes with a group of girls when we went out or the times that I used to dance hula, which lasted for two years, all to make myself feel better (or worse), however temporarily—when I feel like I’m not good enough for my husband. Those things just never do it. They just help to keep my mind away from issues for a while, but they don’t really alter my mind for the better.

The sad reality is that everyone gets tempted regardless of how good they have it with their spouses or any other type of relationship. Some give in a little and then hold back, and some give in more and more and do not hold back. To hold back at all from temptation is a good thing. Just because temptation creeps up, it doesn’t mean the person experiencing it has done something unworthy of forgiveness and trust. However, I’ve held myself up to an impossible standard, a Utopian dream that was never meant to be and could never be a reality—a world virtually without sin, especially within my home. Even God would laugh at me for thinking that this is possible.

It’s extremely hard for me to keep writing about modesty and sexual purity with my defeatist and existentialist tendencies. The automatic response for me when I get faced with the overwhelming display of sexuality all around is my wishing to be dead or to just completely give in to sin. Neither of those thoughts are healthy or helpful in any way. I really can’t help feeling so downtrodden when I know there’s really nothing I can do to stop everything that is wrong in this world. It’s just not possible to completely eradicate everything that is bad, and I certainly shouldn’t feel defeated if I can’t stop an impossible thing. I shouldn’t feel like the whole world’s burden is on me or feel like I am somewhat responsible for cleaning up the mess. This seems to happen when God is taken out of the “moral” picture, which is a dangerous thing, because that can never work. That also doesn’t mean, however, that I shouldn’t try to change the things that can be changed—myself for instance, or a few people who might be open to change. I guess that’s why this blog has stuck around.

 “A utopia is a dystopia forced upon you by a madman.
– Sam J. Lundwall, from Utopia – Dystopia: Nedslag i framtidens politiska historia

 


13 Responses to “Dealing with Defeat & My Struggles with the Good Fight”

  1. Heidi

    I don’t dress proactively or anything but I do dress up sexy for my boyfriend on occasion. Whenever we go out, other men do look at me. But I don’t give a look or flirt back. Usually when I do that, they turn away.
    I learn to be comfortable around people when I am “less dressed” and that men will stare at me if they want to. It is just in mens nature to do so I guess. LOL
    But anyways, I think you always look beautiful whatever you wear. So wear what you want! ;)

  2. Sharon

    Hey listen…I’m an orthodox Jewish woman so I get you and your struggle on a daily basis. I am no religious fanatic and I’m as much of a woman with desires as anyone else. I love fashion and beauty and I too pity the woman who’s entire sense of self is based on how a man will react to her sexually. Yet we all get sucked in and want to feel amazing even if only temporarily. I say, don’t be so hard on yourself for your feelings and don’t give up either. You have a great goal here and every day is a new day to beat the challenge!
    xo
    Sharon
    http://www.fashion-isha.com
    Hope you stop by xo

  3. Laura Kim Connell

    “I got compliments left and right from different men, but I only really wanted to be truly appreciated by one.” I feel exactly this way right now and that is the way we women are made, like it or not. We only want one man and that’s why it feels so wrong when we try to be “casual” about sex.
    There is a man I’m “waiting for” and although other men are expressing interest I’m holding out for the one in my heart because I don’t want to use someone else just to bide my time while I’m waiting for the real one! And we deserve to be adored by one man.
    How is your husband’s relationship with God? I’ve heard you lament more than once here about his giving in to temptations and you are more patient with that than I could be.
    Have you listened to Francis Chan? Youtube him; you might like what he has to say. It helps me in this crazy world to listen to someone like Francis who does not bend or break with his faith and lives it to the letter.

  4. THE-LOUDMOUTH

    I think that temptation can be fun and healthy if we don’t let it get out of hand. My boyfriend and I love to point out good-looking people when we go out, but it does not mean that we would ever cheat on each other — it’s a conversation piece and actually brings us closer. I never get jealous if he thinks another woman is beautiful or sexy because he chose to be with one woman, and that is me. If he wanted to be with someone else, he would.

  5. Victoria / Justice Pirate

    I love your honesty so much Rachel. You are so right that sometimes it would be so much easier to die or give into the worldliness around us rather than be set apart and see that we are more than our shapes and sexual beings. It is crazy how much we want to please our spouse and want to make him approve of our sexiness and not want to view anyone else, and that makes it all harder because everyone makes it so simple to just be skimpy while we work hard against that. You are a woman of value and integrity!

  6. Leah

    I agree with the-loudmouth. There’s nothing wrong with looking or even feeling tempted by other women – your husband chose you over all other women. I think it’s important to allow him to be honest about his feelings with you. If you make it clear that you don’t accept the part of him that gets tempted, it becomes something you can’t talk about and can’t work on together. Communication is vitally important for lasting intimacy.

    I also don’t think it’s healthy to have your thoughts of self-worth tied only to someone else’s opinion of you, even if he’s your husband.

  7. Rachel @ à la Modest

    Hi Leah,

    Thanks for your comment! I didn’t really mean that there was something wrong with the feeling of being tempted. I perfectly understand that temptations happen to everyone, as my post did point that out. I even have that myself in different forms… it’s as common as the feeling of wanting to have chocolate during a diet. That wasn’t really what I was trying to say in this post. It’s more like wishing that reality didn’t even happen however impossible.

    I’m glad you brought that up about communication, though. The reason why I know these things about my husband (and vice versa) is that we talk all the time about everything, including most men/women hide from their spouses. We have a very healthy and regular means of communication, which I think more couples need to have.

    My thoughts of self worth aren’t really tied someone else’s opinion of me. That’s just what happens occasionally. It’s not a question of what MUST BE because I know that, but this entry was just an expression of momentary grave feelings. Most of my posts point out quite the opposite of self worth—what truly matters, your dignity, etc. However, you make an excellent point that I would also agree with. I just wanted you to know that how you perceive entry does not really represent the totality of what I believe.

  8. Nicole @ Project Inspired

    I think what you have written here is very brave. So happy for you that you no longer look to others for validation of your beauty. Yes outward beauty is fleeting but your inner light will always radiate gorgeous.

  9. Rachel @ à la Modest

    Hi Laura,

    It’s always nice to hear from you! Besides the quote I wrote on your wall, Kurt Cobain also expressed how tired he was dating around. He said he had always wanted one steady relationship. Sadly, it ended with Courtney Love.

    Thanks for asking about my husband’s relationship with God. He is very strong in his faith, actually. A common misconception women have with Christian men going through sexual temptation is that they’re not right with God. I’ve learned that it’s “every man’s battle,” a daily struggle that needs to be addressed. It seems that a lot of husbands do not talk to their wives about their struggles, and so the wife assumes that her husband doesn’t ever get tempted. That is most likely not true because even very faithful men and strong Christians, from my readings, interviews, and experience, go through the same sexual temptations almost everyday. To not create an open environment where husbands and wives can talk openly about these things is giving more room for hidden sin. Accountability (talking to each other about these things regularly) helps a lot in keeping sexual temptation at a minimum. It’s really hard for the wives to hear that the husband gets tempted or when the husband gives in to temptation a little (viewing inappropriate materials, lingering lustful thoughts of another woman, etc.), but the fact the husband shares these things means that he wants to be helped and trusts the wife to still love him for his faults. That’s where I am or at least where I’m trying to be. My husband is very honest and open about his feelings, and I do love him for that. On the other hand, I’m an extremely jealous person, a perfectionist, and an idealist with relationships. This accountability with relationships is pretty new to me, so it’s really hard for me to take in, but I know what must be done.

    I am glad that you are looking for the right type of man. I really can’t stress enough how open communication, honesty, and accountability are so important in building a relationship. Have you heard the saying, “you can’t give half of yourself to a woman.” We want 100% of our husbands. Lust divides the man’s attention from whoever they are with (most of the time in secret). The fact that a man chooses to be with one woman doesn’t mean he is hers 100%—that is another very important lesson that must be learned by everyone who thinks just choosing to be with someone automatically makes them fully theirs. In comparison, God has us and very rightly so. However, does he really have us when we serve other gods such as money and drugs? In the bible, it says, you cannot have two masters. This is precisely the very thing I am talking about with relationships as well—one man, one wife, both in body AND mind.

  10. Rachel @ à la Modest

    Hi Victoria,

    It’s so comforting to read your replies! There really isn’t anyone else I know personally besides my husband who truly understands the importance of talking openly about sexual temptation with your spouses than you!

    Thanks for your strength.

  11. Rachel @ à la Modest

    Thank you so much, Nicole! What you said is nothing but the truth.

  12. Laura Kim Connell

    Wow, I am amazed and inspired by your understanding of God and your faith. You have given me a great insight into the value of true honesty, especially in a relationship. You are right, I don’t want to believe that men are that way, but that doesn’t change the reality. Maybe I need to work on these things a little more before I get into a relationship with a man.

  13. Shey

    I love it when I read such honest posts as this, temptation is not easy for me, so I’m encouraged by your post Rache.

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