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viewpoint

In his image

| Tuesday, February 26, 2019

From the moment of our being, we are made in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26-27). Each and every one of us shares in this wonderful gift — that we, in whole, are given this special privilege among all living things. Our soul and body are individual works of God, each of which are created in his image.

The term translated to “image” from Hebrew roughly means “a silhouette, a sketch or an outline.” In other words, we are created as a rough sketch of God — both in form and in essence — but we are not endowed with total perfection. The term “likeness” only serves to emphasize the extent to which humans are similar to God. The whole person, both in body and spirit, belongs to the most wonderful set of beings in all of creation.

Even so, many of us carry a battered and bruised perception of our bodies. We may hold deeply-rooted feelings of inadequacy and insufficiency about our appearance. We might continuously strive to achieve states of perfection, while along the way continuously feeling uncomfortable in our own skins.

To paraphrase Fr. Pete McCormick, while we cannot confess that we fully know the all that God has in store, we can guarantee that, by embracing a total and unconditional sense of love, each and every one of us will be adorned with the ring of affection that God has chosen for us.

Notre Dame’s campus often fosters an aura of perfection that can proliferate in our own relationships with imperfection. This can in turn threaten our personal sense of value and self-worth. Often times, we feel our struggles are minuscule and therefore shouldn’t be discussed. In an environment in which others seem to be doing so much good, many of us internalize a pressure to not fall short of that standard. But the opposite is true. No struggle is too small; no voice should go unheard. On a campus with such strong ties to faith, we must work on practicing true compassion — for oneself as well as for others. With this compassion, we can work towards destigmatizing the conversations that too often go unheard.

Beyond the scope of campus, our society is designed to pit ourselves against the unattainable beauty of filtered images. This structural issue is one that can only be fixed by lifting ourselves and others up. It is difficult sometimes to distinguish the real from the artificial, the realistic from the edited, the healthy from the unhealthy. Nevertheless, we are all equipped with the ability to change this narrative, to love ourselves despite the constant messages not to.

As representatives of the University’s resources, we want to ensure that the best support possible is given to every student. We care deeply about these resources fulfilling individual student needs and being communicated in the most effective way possible. With this in mind, it is essential that our University’s tools set Notre Dame’s campus up to be the happiest, healthiest environment it can be.

In light of Love Your Body Week, we want to highlight the importance of self-care and being a friend to others. Take a moment to celebrate your unique purpose on this campus and in others’ lives. Remember that you are valuable, you are needed, and you are loved.

Please see the following University health resources, and pass them along as needed:

University Counseling Center (UCC): ucc.nd.edu

University Health Services (UHS): uhs.nd.edu, 574-631-7497

McDonald Center for Student Well-Being (McWell): mcwell.nd.edu

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273 TALK (8255)

UCC After-Hours Hotline: 574-631-7336

 

In Notre Dame,

Student Government Dept. of Health & Wellness

Grace Dean

sophomore, director

Erin Hiestand

sophomore, Ryan Hall senator

Aidan Crowley

sophomore, department member

Jack Boyle

freshman, FUEL member

Camaren Cuenca

freshman, FUEL member

 

Feb. 25

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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