This has been on my heart to share for sometime. Mainly because it’s been something that I struggle with but also because I’ve seen the impact that small comments, remarks, and self shame towards myself have had on our children. Ones that I’ve not only felt deeply on the inside but have verbally announced in front of them.
It’s no secret that I’ve been on a health and fitness journey over the last 11 months. One that I’ve had mountain top moments and low valleys in. One that I’ve battled and also had peace in. One that I’ve lost 65 pounds so far on but have also stalled out for the last three months with. It’s not a race but I tend to make it feel that way.
I’ve always struggled with self image, how I thought I should look based on worldly views or the latest magazine on the grocery store rack. Playing that comparison game scrolling through instagram with airbrushed models half naked and looking “flawless” “toned” and “tan.” Often wishing that was me on the other side of the screen-something I wasn’t nor would ever be. Why not? Because it’s not real. And the more we degrade ourselves, it not only weighs on our emotions, it’s also seen by the little people we are raising, and most importantly, it hurts our Creator.
It’s so hard for me to see myself the way The Lord does. To look beyond the stretch marks, fluffy areas, and cellulite. The wrinkles that are starting to appear and dark circles that tend to make a permanent home around my eyes. I’ve been so hard and negative toward myself for so long, it was difficult for me to see any of the good qualities I had on the outside OR more importantly, within. It began to creep into my attitude and take over like the plague. My first thoughts looking in the bathroom mirror in the morning were usually with disgust, disappointment and unsatisfaction. I became ungrateful with what I do have. Ungrateful for the health that is better than most have. I became neglectful because, why start now? I won’t ever reach the goal I want to be so why try? I can’t look like the blonde swimsuit model – is it really even worth my time? A constant questionnaire that was setting myself up for failure each day and directing me to the same, poor choices. I also became extremely insecure and sad for not only myself but for my husband and daughters. Fearing that they were embarrassed by me. I didn’t feel beautiful. I felt quite the opposite.
Then the thoughts turned into words. “Gosh, look at my face!” Stepping off of the scale- “I’m so fat, I’ll never get this weight off.” After getting ready and trying on the 10th outfit that still isn’t doing it for me. “I don’t look good in anything-nothing fits! I don’t even want to go I look hideous,” All real comments said by me while my two daughters are standing in the same room overhearing. It’s sad you guys, and I didn’t even realize I was doing it because i’d been so negative to myself in my mind that it began to ooze on the outside. I hated myself. Honestly, I’m not sure where it all came from. Gradually over time I guess. Maybe buried wounds from comments I had taken in during high school when “I thought I was fat” and had no business being insecure? Maybe it was from that one guy who I thought I loved that verbally abused me often and then would apologize, making me think it was my fault he treated me that way? Regardless, the insecurity grew slowly like a cancer and I hadn’t rooted my self worth in Christ like I should have. Instead of hearing and reading His truth I was believing the enemies lies. And boy does he love to prey on me in that area.
Paisley jumped on the scale one day and said “look mama, is this number good!?” And I immediately wanted to cry. How long have I been doing this to myself and to my girls? They think their mom is beautiful. Scout tells me all of the time how pretty I look after I curl my hair and put on lip gloss. Or even when I have tired eyes and a mom bun. When I degrade myself, my insecurities rub off on them and seep into their mentality that if something is apparently wrong with their mom than there may be something wrong with them too right? After all, they have mama’s button nose, brown hair, deep blue eyes, and are always told how much they look like me.
It’s alarming how hurtful I’ve been to myself. Years of accumulated identity issues wrapped up solely in my appearance and the size I would currently be at has been such a battle and burden to carry. It’s hurt me and it’s hurt the Lord. Eventually it will hurt my daughters. When we are dissatisfied with ourselves, no matter if we say it or not, our kids recognize it. When we express it out loud, it confirms it.
You have no idea how badly I would love to walk into a store and easily pick out an outfit I felt confident in. As women we are our own worst critic and all battle with some form of body insecurity. It’s even more so I think now with social media. We compare, we want, we regret, and then get off of it feeling less than. Why is that? Why are we so rooted into what the world says and not what he says? What are we teaching our girls?
It’s a process to change this mindset. It’s also one that requires a lot of heart work and wrestling with God. This is a lot of rambling but I don’t think it’s talked about enough if at all. We bury it, or at least I have for years and carry on like everything is ok. I hope you know though that God does not make a mistake.And this I believe fully. He knows every hair on your head. He knit you together. He LOVED you enough to die for you. And before He created the world he had a plan and purpose for you. He created you in his own image and it’s one of the big things I have to remind myself. It would break me if I ever heard of my girls thinking of themselves this way, because as a parent, I think they are just perfect. And to think the Lord loves us more than we love our kids just blows me away.
With all of this said I just wanted to remind you of the little ears and eyes that are next to you. I’ve started making the girls proclaim who they are out loud. I’ll ask this: “Who is Scout!?” and She will reply “I’m kind, I’m smart, I’m loved, I’m special, I’m beautiful, I’m important, and Jesus loves me.” Lord, please don’t ever let them forget that. Please don’t let my issue be a generational curse. Please help me battle and conquer it.
Be thankful for what you have, be gracious with yourself, and find a different lens to look through when your going through those emotions, even if you have to pray for one. We are too hard on ourselves. We put way too much pressure to be everything for everyone, to look a certain way to impress people who probably don’t care at all. If you have to, start proclaiming truth about yourself. Write down 5 great qualities you have and speak them. Walk them out too.
Let’s start teaching our girls better.