Battling Body Confidence
Turns out, body confidence is a struggle for MANY women of all ages. Whether you are 12, 32 or 52, listen up! I’m about to drop a knowledge bomb on you. YOU AREN’T ALONE!!! I, too, have struggled with body confidence and I want to share with you how I have felt and what I have done to finally be comfortable in the skin I’m in.
When I was in middle school I remember a boy commenting on another girl’s boobs. In my head, boobs weren’t even on my radar! I was still listening to the Spice Girls and playing Barbie dolls. He got me thinking. I wonder what he thinks of MY “boobs”? (also known as the flat chest that I hadn’t even considered getting a training bra for) That’s the first moment I remember thinking my body wasn’t living up to the standards I expected. Thus begun the body confidence battle.
Cut to high school where I had developed a bit more, but on par with the rest of my life I was behind schedule. Lots of the other girls had curves to match their C-cups and here I was with my boy shaped behind crossing my fingers that I would grow a couple of inches and people wouldn’t continue to assume I was twelve. I began dating and the guy I dated the majority of my high school career was very controlling about what I wore. My shorts couldn’t be too short, I couldn’t wear baby doll shirts because he didn’t like them and I definitely couldn’t wear anything that gave any hint that I had boobs (you know, the B-cup I had prayed so hard for). I started thinking that I didn’t even look good in those types of clothes. If he didn’t like me in those clothes then no one else could either, right?! I began considering myself unfashionable and unworthy of a second look from any guy at all.
Let’s hop to my early college days where I shrugged off the idea that my body type wasn’t sexy. I chose to think my own thoughts about myself. I broke up with that guy from high school and took a while off from dating. I danced in my dorm room in just a bra and underwear and man… I felt HOT! I felt that way with NO ONE ELSE’S opinion affecting me. This was a pre-instagram world. I didn’t get caught up in the comparison game. I didn’t wear tight clothes and short shorts to show OTHER PEOPLE how sexy I was because I didn’t have to. I didn’t need to. I wore modest clothes and let personality shine. College Katie, you are my hero! I had finally felt happy about my body and I was simply ME! I not only had a positive body confidence but I also truly loved myself for what I looked like in that moment.
I even did a vanity fast in which I covered up all of the mirrors or reflective surfaces in the apartment and didn’t look at my reflection for 3 days. I felt I was getting too into makeup and I was self-aware enough to know that it was affecting my view of myself. After that 3 day fast I was so happy. I felt pretty. I stopping thinking about what everyone else was thinking about when they looked at me and began really living in the moment.
Oh no no… pump the breaks there. Because starting at 25 years old your metabolism starts to slow down…and by 29 it almost feels like a snail’s pace. I remember my older cousin, Jessie, telling me this and I just laughed. “That won’t be me!”… oh snap how right she was! I felt great about my body in college because I didn’t have to work too hard to keep a certain weight. I was active, played in a powder puff football league, walked often and danced a ton. Now? Now I sit at a desk for 8 hours a day and my cardio is my Netflix marathon after my kid goes to bed. It takes EFFORT to keep that 20 year old figure that I once had. I had to go up a pant size… and then again… and before I knew it I went from wearing a size 0 to a size 6 in just a few years. I didn’t put in any effort because I didn’t know HOW to! I finally educated myself on nutrition and began making healthier food choices. I knew I had to take some sort of action if I wanted to change these new (bad) ideas I had about my body.
Having a baby reallllllly threw a wrench in my search for body confidence. I felt like I looked like Madea! Madea Has A Baby, coming to a theater near you! I had never in my life weighed as much, felt as frumpy or looked so awkward naked as I did when I was pregnant and postpartum. This is when I struggled the most with body confidence. I just kept thinking “but I’m supposed to be a size zero!!”. It took quite a long time for me to open my heart to my new body and accept my C-section scar for the beautiful thing that it was. Why? Because the only person telling me how inadequate I was in the banging body department was MYSELF and I couldn’t seem to get myself to shut up about it.
You Aren’t Alone
So many women struggle with body confidence and your peers probably feel the same way you do. If you aren’t happy with your body, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!! If this means purchasing high heels because you are embarrassed with how short you are, GET STILLETOS! If this means searching out a healthy diet and creating a meal plan and sticking to it, TAKE ACTION TODAY! If this means UNFOLLOWING all of the women/girls/peers on social media that make you feel less than – stop right now and go unfollow them or hide them from your timeline.
What I’ve Learned
The one thing I learned from College Katie is that she didn’t look at other people. She didn’t ask opinions of what others thought she looked like. She didn’t see another girl and immediately grow jealous of what they had. She accentuated her positives. She LOVED HERSELF. She surrounded herself with encouragers. She began spending less time in front of the mirror and more time living life. She didn’t take too many selfies. (ok… she took a lot of selfies.. but give the girl a break – she’s a millennial!).
What I’m trying to say is, check your surroundings. If you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see, try to figure out WHY. If it has ANYTHING to do with ANYONE else, I’m telling you to throw that opinion in the garbage and form your own opinion. Don’t assume things about yourself just because someone else said it. Don’t assume something about yourself because that was true for someone else. Don’t try to change your style because you want to look like someone else. Skip the self-hate by ignoring other people’s opinions. If they have the nerve to point out something negative about you, they probably have thought it about themselves before and just want to bring you down to their level. Stay above, friends.
If you do happen to think you may be able to change something such as weight, hair color or purchasing clothes that properly accentuate your positive attributes, GET TO WORK! Don’t sit there and complain. DO SOMETHING. Happiness takes effort.
Here’s What You Can Do
I have an assignment for you. I want you to sit down and write down 10 things that you LOVE about your body/outward appearance. Once you’ve got all of that written down I want you to look in the mirror and focus on those 10 things that you LOVE. Turn on some music and DANCE! No one is watching. You just be yourself and jump around in your own body. I want you to say out loud “I love my body”. Repeat this every day to yourself when you get dressed. If you don’t believe yourself start going down the list of the 10 things you just wrote down. “I love my eye color” or “I love how my feet look in sandals”… whatever you really love, say it out loud!
Know Who You REALLY Are
I also want to tell you that if you are unhappy with a few things about yourself, that is okay. Some of these things may be something you can’t change (for me: it’s my nose and my height). But know this- God loves those parts of you. These unchanging things are the way GOD made you. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
“Do you realize how many events, choices, that had to occur since the birth of the universe leading up to the making of you? Just exactly the way you are.” (quote from A Wrinkle In Time). God created YOU, my friend, just the way you are!
Keep in mind that we are only in these earthly bodies for a certain time. In the grand scheme of life, this is just a blip. Instead of wasting your time being upset with how God made you, try figuring out WHY he made you. God not only loves you very much but also has put His hand on you for something special. 1 Thessalonians 1:4 You have a purpose here. Instead of striving to be sexy, strive for significance.
So since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. Romans 12:6