I was 125 pounds my freshman year of college. I’m 5’5, so 125 pounds is a nice, tiny figure. I weigh 215 pounds today. A much more curvy, lump, full figure than I was 6 years ago. 18-year-old me was pretty much living up to the beauty standard of our society, thin, pretty hair, cute smile, just a little curvy in all the right places and so on. I looked like what the world told me I should look like, and I hated myself. I looked in the mirror and critiqued myself constantly, I didn’t feel comfortable in any cute clothing so I buried myself under sweatpants and hoodies. One night I was out at the mall with my boyfriend and I had made time that day to put on makeup and do my hair, something I probably had never done as long as I knew him. He looked at me and said, “You look different today” I commented how I had put makeup on and his response was “THATS what makeup does to you?? Why don’t you wear makeup more often??” …….needless to say that relationship didn’t work out.
125 pound me was offended, and in that moment accepted another false truth about myself that I wasn’t good enough unless I coated my face in makeup. 215 pound me looks back at old photos and says “daaaaaaaaaaaang girl, you were a babe!” I look at old photos of myself and wonder what I was even thinking, how could I have had body image issues? I was perfect! Society tells us to look a certain way, and when we do, we still don’t think we are good enough. We have allowed our ideas of beauty and our appearances to be brainwashed and corrupted. This is the truth of the matter:
Your appearance will never be good enough, unless you give it permission to be.
I gained nearly 100 pounds in 6 years. That reality has haunted me and sent me into many emotional tailspins, that usually ended with me in the bottom of a gallon of ice cream. I realized that living with a deep hatred for my body and my appearance wouldn’t do anything except make me just as ugly on the inside as I felt I was on the outside. I went through a very long, intense, beautiful, emotionally draining, spiritually recharging and just all around wonderful process of learning to love my body. I wish I could write one blog post that would inspire you and change your entire life, but it doesn’t really work that way. It is a process, a hard one, but a totally worth while one.
This isn’t a journey of dieting and exercising until I lost enough weight to feel pretty again, because even when I was at my tiniest I felt horrible! This was a journey of learning to love my body so that I could care for it and love it. See, I have this theory that when you hate something, you want to destroy it, and when you love it, you want to care for it. I see this so much in myself and my relationship with my body. When I am in seasons of loathing and hating my body, I just give up. I eat a buffet of the highest calorie snacks in the world and insert an iv of diet coke directly into my veins while laying on the couch and wallowing in my self pity while crying it out over an entire season of Greys Anatomy in 2 days (if that’s even possible). When I am in a season of loving myself and being proud of what I look like, I take much better care of myself! I get a cute haircut, I paint my nails, I eat yummy and delicious foods (including desserts, just in much more moderation) I enjoy hobbies much more, I buy myself a nice new blouse and I feel closer to my Creator! We must give ourselves permission to think that we are beautiful, sexy, attractive, gorgeous, hot, whatever you want to call yourself!
Think about the phrase “good enough”. Good enough for who? For hollywood? For family and friends who already love and adore you? NO. Be good enough for yourself, be someone that you love and admire. I look in the mirror and I see stretch marks, fat, cellulite, and I just have to learn to love those things! For some women its the opposite, they can’t gain any weight, they have flat butts and boobs, and they are stunning! For some its aging, laugh lines and wrinkles and gray hair, its a post-baby body that just doesn’t look the same as before, all of it, is beautiful.
So here is my “step one” for loving yourself: Read Psalms 34:4-5 “I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered my from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant and their faces shall never be ashamed.” Give the Lord your fear of being “good enough”. Ask Him to remove the fear of stepping on the scale, or shopping for a new size pants, or looking in the mirror. Ask Him to join you on this journey of loving yourself, because true love comes from Him in the first place. If anyone can pour out perfect, confident, love on you, its the one who created you and admires His craftsmanship everysingle day. This scripture says just looking to God makes you RADIANT! So that is the best place to begin. Forget the standard of “good enough”. The new beauty standard is YOU. You are beautiful, your appearance is more than good enough, its amazing.