It’s a hard thing to admit, but it’s the truth; I’ve never really liked myself much. I know this is probably going to be a long post, but I do hope that you will read it. So many of us struggle with our own self-worth, and I hope this post can touch someone else who may need reassurance.
For me personally, on the inside, I was pretty okay with myself. I knew I had a good heart. I knew I would never deliberately try to hurt another human being. I love making people happy. I always try to show kindness where I can. Those things, were never an issue. The “outside” of me however, was a whole different story.
I was the red-haired girl. The curly-headed girl. The girl who developed early. The short girl. The girl who was “chubbier” than the other girls. The quiet/shy girl. The girl who liked to read, and paint, and draw. I just wasn’t like the other girls.
It started from offhand comments that people would make; friends, family, and even strangers would comment on something regarding my appearance or my quiet personality. Each comment cemented itself into my brain, and chipped away at my confidence.
The media of course, also plays a role. Women are expected to be tall, slim, and perfectly made up. We are shown ads that on one hand tell us that we need to love ourselves as we are and that it’s okay to be unique, but before and after that one short ad, there are astronomical amounts of ads assaulting us and telling us how we need to lose weight, exercise, and buy ALL the things: eye creams, thigh creams, wrinkle creams, false eyelashes, tanning spray, hair spray, lipstick, and on and on and on …. (Insert huge eye-roll here!)
In my late teens/early 20’s, I became the girl with the eating disorder. I would literally cry as I ate sometimes, because I felt guilty for doing so. I was “too fat” to be eating that apple, or that cracker, or that banana. (This was while I was a size 9, mind you.) I became so food obsessed, that I would count every calorie, every gram of fat, and every carb in anything I ate.
It was also in my early 20’s that discovered I had a thyroid disorder. I didn’t comprehend at the time I had a hysterectomy (again, in my very early 20’s) that my hormones were going to be not only *gone*, but that this would also play into the weight and body image factor. I just always felt that I didn’t measure up to what I was “supposed” to be.
The sad thing about all this? It lasted for many, many years. In fact, I still struggle with it today. It has been a miserable and tortuous journey, let me tell you.
You may be wondering why I am sharing all of this with you. It certainly isn’t because I am proud of my very obvious lack of self-confidence – that fact is actually quite embarrassing – but I had a little revelation the other night, and I am hoping that this might be helpful to someone else who struggles to love themselves – or even just like themselves.
You see, God and I were having a chat about it a few nights ago. I was beyond frustrated with the fact that I have been eating nothing but whole foods (literally fruits, vegetables, nuts, and very small amounts of white meat and fish) for quite some time now, and I have not dropped ONE single pound. UGH!!! Seriously? Granted, I have not been eating this way to lose weight, but to work on my overall health, but I thought I might see at least a little drop in my weight!
So, I was venting my frustrations to God during my prayer time. While I was in the midst of my very passionate rant, I was literally interrupted with,
“Do you think I am concerned about your weight?”
It startled me so much that I could almost see my thoughts scattering in my mind, and I had a hard time pulling them back together.
Let me state this right up front; I did not feel like this was a “Don’t pray about such stupid things!” type of statement, but rather a “Your weight is the very least of my worries for you.” type of statement.
It was almost like God was telling me, all at once – in that one simple statement – that my weight should not be defining my self-worth, that outer beauty means nothing, and why am I so consumed with this?
I have read the following verses many times, and have honestly tried to take them to heart, but after the other night, they have genuinely taken on a new meaning for me. In Proverbs 31:30 it says:
“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”
And in 1 Peter 3:3-4 we are told:
“Your adornment must not be merely the external—braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, or putting on apparel; but it should be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”
Friends, societal expectations are ridiculous!!!
Only God can define us, and He created us each uniquely, just as we are. Our hearts, and what we do with this life He gave us, are the things that are truly important.
Yes, I know it is hard. It’s so hard to try to put aside the opinions of others and to genuinely live our lives without allowing ourselves to be defined by society. But you know what? You can do it. If I can, I know that you can, too! Give yourself the freedom to just be YOU.
The scale doesn’t define you. Your eye color doesn’t define you. Your profession doesn’t define you. Your intelligence doesn’t define you. Only God defines you, and He considers you worthy!
YOU are loved.
YOU are important.
YOU matter in this world.
If you ever have a single doubt about it, drop me a line. I’ll be happy to talk to you!
Now, go live your life, and live it joyfully! ♥