My relationship with God started when I cut my hair

Briana Whiteside never thought cutting off her shoulder-length hair to regrow it naturally would lead to a religious epiphany.
Briana Whiteside (Briana Whiteside)

Briana Whiteside never thought cutting her hair would lead to a religious epiphany — but that's exactly what happened.

Whiteside, who's a doctoral student at the University of Alabama and a writer for Huffington Post, had chemically-straightened, shoulder-length hair. But she wanted to 'go natural.' She was especially looking forward to that feeling of liberation she'd heard other women speak about after ditching chemical treatments.  

Briana Whiteside was looking forward to cutting her hair and growing it out naturally.

But after impulsively cutting her hair so it was only two inches long, she felt traumatized.  

"For the first time, I felt the wind on my scalp, which was very terrifying for me," says Whiteside. 

“I felt that I had made the biggest mistake of my life."

"I felt that I had made the biggest mistake of my life. I wanted to basically put the strands up and put them back on my head, if that were possible," says Whiteside. "I literally felt like I was mourning my hair."

Whiteside embarked on an intense period of self-reflection and began to realize how much of her self-worth had been tied up in her appearance.

As she learned to accept her natural self, she turned to prayer and came away with a closer relationship with God, as well as a new understanding of what love truly is.

"I can't say that I knew God for myself until I cut my hair off. And it might sound very strange to say that, but generally when I think of my spiritual journey, I think about my confrontation with God. And it happened as a result of me having to confront myself about being insecure."

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This segment originally aired December 3, 2017.