Have you ever wished your body looked different than it does? Perhaps you have given birth and your hips are wider than they once were, or maybe now you have stretch marks or sagging skin. You may be thinner than you’d like, or not as thin. I mean, I would LOVE to look like a Victoria’s Secret model, but the truth is – God didn’t make me that way. I have been guilty of saying things like: I wish my thighs were thinner, I wish my breasts were larger, I wish I wore a size 2 again, I wish … And the worst is that I have done this in front of my daughters. If there is one thing I could take back, it would be that. I can’t take it back, but I do have the chance to change the conversation and what they hear from me. I have an opportunity to not just tell them, but to show them, that being healthy and a good person is what matters most.
A friend of mine recently shared this article with me and it was just SO. GOOD. I encourage all women to read it!
I have had body image issues since I was young. In ballet, we were encouraged to be as thin as possible – we were even weighed in leading up to performances. Genetically, I am not a big person – that is just how I was made. Yet, I have heard my whole life the importance of being thin, and it eventually skews your reality. Grown-ups were always talking about the fat they needed to lose. My ballet studio didn’t make what I was hearing growing up much different. Magazines touted waifs on the covers and so many clothes appear to be made for stick figures. And the world as a whole shamed (and continues to) people with different bodies.
I have tried to be cautious about never being “on a diet” … I have done cleanses, removed certain things from my diet (gluten, dairy, sugar, etc) to be healthier. But I noticed that I had begun talking about my body in front of my girls recently because I had rapidly gained over 15 pounds in a short period of time and was not doing well physically, emotionally, or otherwise. It led to complaining about my clothes not fitting or the fat I had gained.
Fortunately, in our respite time in the States, I have been able to see my incredible practitioner to get healthy again. I have cleaned out my body. I have started new habits. I am working out every day. I am playing with my girls.
I have been able to recognize how I was setting a poor example for them. But, I have been able to change the conversation to one about being healthy and fit, about stretching to make my bones last longer and eating well to be healthy for a long time. I have been able to rethink my own issues and (while they’re not completely gone) to feel more comfortable in my own skin, even if it isn’t as taut as it once was. And I have realized that my voice is the one my daughters will hear in their heads. What do I want that voice to say?
I have committed to changing the voice. I am establishing a new way of speaking about my body and about their body to them. This is what I want each of us to hear:
You are an incredible girl/woman.
Your beauty shines right through you and lights up a room.
Your eyes sparkle with passion.
Your head is smart and full of splendid ideas.
Your smile gives warmth to everyone who sees it.
Your shoulders lovingly carry the burdens of people you care about.
Your heart is generous, strong and kind.
Your arms were made to give comfort.
Your hug is a precious gift.
Your hands are magnificent because they create things and help others.
Your legs are powerful and they will take you incredible places.
Your feet can walk to the ends of the earth for anything God places on your heart.
You are beautifully and wonderfully made.
God carefully appointed every detail of your being.
He wanted you to be unique.
He made you in His image.
He loves you.
I love you.
I hope you love you, too.