It is 7:00 am and I am standing in my bedroom surrounded by a closet full of clothes and a full length mirror full of failure. I am trying to pick out something to wear that will flatter my figure and send the right message. But all I can do is stare at myself, trying to understand. What has happened?
Even though what used to be a significantly overweight body has now become a standard size woman’s figure, I still see all the same “flaws”. How is it that even though my pants say I am a size 10, the mirror reflects a size 16? What is wrong with my eyes? My brain? My body? What is wrong with this picture?
So many questions!
Let me start with this one: What’s wrong with being a size 16? Absolutely nothing! I decided to start eating healthier because I was falling apart. I had turned to food to comfort me in a time of deep struggle. I was living a really unhealthy lifestyle. And my body was paying the price! I decided to change so that I could feel better!
After I lost my weight I expected to look in the mirror and feel great about what I saw. But there was a problem.
The body was still mine.
I had the same cellulite. The same extra skin on my tummy from having babies. The same stretch marks. I was the same girl at any size. When I looked in the mirror I was never fully satisfied because I still saw me. I kept hoping for Kate Hudson or Claire Danes to appear but I had to settle for me.
I felt like a failure. The language in my mind said “You have to try harder” and “You have to do more”. I worked so hard to get to my “goal weight” but every time I got there I still saw my flaws. I soon realized I would have to give up more stuff to acheive the look I was wanting.
So I pushed myself. I gave up a lot of my social life because it tended to revolve around food! I would have to stop enjoying this part of life in order to harness the body I knew was in there somewhere. I would tell myself to just diet a little longer. Just push a little harder. You will get there. Other people can do it, so can you! But it never came. All this hard work paid off in smaller clothing sizes but the image I had hoped for never came. I would always be the girl in the swimsuit cover up at the beach.
It is still 7:00 am, and I stare at the mirror in my bra and underwear trying to come to terms with what I see. Then it hits me.
I don’t think I can be happy. I don’t think I can see my body as beautiful. The guy at the bank had no problem at all noticing my smile and saying how beautiful I am. My husband doesn’t seem to notice or care about my cellulite and extra lumps and bumps. But I don’t think I can see past it. What is wrong with me? Deep down to the core, I don’t feel like my body is beautiful. Sure, maybe a pretty face, but God must have forgotten about my need for a beach body!
It is time to start asking some new questions. How do we measure our beauty? Where did we begin to believe we had to look a certain way to be considered beautiful? I don’t blame Kate or Claire, they have had their own struggles.
But I do believe that the change begins on the inside. Inside my head. Inside the words I use to speak to myself. I recently read a blog by Mike Foster, and in it he said, “If we bully ourselves long enough, whether out loud or in our head, we willfully drain out every last ounce of confidence, love and hope with words that eat away at the way we actually see ourselves.”
It is time to change the language. Will you join me in waking up every day, looking in the mirror and say OUT LOUD, “I AM WONDERFULLY MADE. I was made on purpose. There is a reason I was made. I am beautiful.”
If we start making the language shift from critical to conquering, together we will see a shift in our self perception. We will see ourselves as we are: