I had dinner with a friend this past week and was sharing part of my story with her. By my story, I mean what makes me me.
Truth be told, I have never liked myself. I have always felt fat and ugly, partly because I was told that by certain people in my life. For a few years in my teens, I became somewhat anorexic. I knew how to hide it from people and although I dropped weight like crazy, I was able to use the excuse as exercise and sports and it worked well. Liking myself wasn’t an option. Each day I woke up, I would look at myself in the mirror and repeat the labels I was given… “You are Fat… You are Ugly… You are unwanted… You are unloved.” No exaggeration here, I have been telling myself that for 20 years!!
I’m a mother. I have a son and a daughter. When my son was born, I would still say this to myself on a daily basis. I would try to combat it with the help of my spouse who daily told me of my worth. It wasn’t until my daughter was born in 2014 that I really started to contemplate the labels I had given myself. I am my own worst critic. My husband is the one who initially started me down this path of self-worth. He asked me if I wanted my daughter to grow up and doubt her beauty? Did I want her to ever feel the internal torment I have felt for all this time? Did I want to set an example for her? Did I want her to be confident in her skin?
It hit me. It hit me so hard that day. Then I started to think about my relationship with Jesus. Afterall, I was His child too. I was created in His image and here I was claiming to be a follower of Christ, but only when it suited my needs. My feelings about myself (in my mind) was worth more weight in my heart than how God feels about His children. Shame on me. Shame on me for being so insecure and quite frankly, ruining 20 years of my life. I hid for so long. I beat myself up daily for so long. I loathed the mirror. I hated bathing suits and shorts… but why??? I was a child of God!!!
This is a work in progress. I’m not claiming that I am perfect. I still struggle daily but each time I look at my beautiful daughter I realize that it’s getting easier to change my mindset. I don’t want her to struggle. I don’t want her to ever doubt herself. I don’t want her to see mommy insecure because I know what that does to a little girl. My mom was extremely insecure about EVERYTHING as I was growing up and I copied that from her.
I love my mom however I don’t want to be my mom.
Just remember that what you say to yourself about yourself is watched by people all around you. Whether it be your spouse, your child(ren), students, teachers, co-workers or friends. What you say to yourself is overheard by someone who loves you and values you.
This is me. Months ago, I would have ripped this picture to shreds about everything that is wrong with it but I want to tell you what is right with it today. What you see is a 33 year old woman. I am a wife of 10.5 years, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. I may not be your cup of tea but that doesn’t mean I need to label myself negatively.
Society needs to change what they view as beautiful. I’m not a supermodel and I will never be one but I’m not ugly. I am who God created me to be. In order for society to change their labels on people, we need to change how we view people. We are all beautiful in our own ways. Be kind to one another.