This is a hard post to write.
I’m about to get real here. And real is so hard to put out into the world.
Here we go, a bit of my heart out in the world…
I have spent the majority of my life hating myself. No, that’s not even accurate…loathing myself. I feel that loathing is a deeper feeling than simply hatred and so I’ve chosen that word to describe the feelings towards myself.
For about 20 years I have wanted to change my appearance. I grew up being told what was wrong with me. In every single way. And so somehow, slowly, in every way, that became ingrained in each fiber of my soul.
It was with this feeling of inadequacy that I began a comprehensive list of what was wrong with me. When I was 16 I was sure if I could be thinner boys would like me. In college, if I could pay for plastic surgery to remove the dimple on my nose left by the scarring of a severe case of chicken pox, then, oh then, I would have a real chance at being a knockout. When I met Nick things became better and worse at the same time. A juxtaposition of deep emotions surfaced. I had found someone who loved me just as I was because that was how God made me. And oh, it felt amazing. But it felt so distant and unfamiliar. So my list making continued but more in the light of “I would be worthy of my boyfriend/then fiance/then husband if _________” was different about me.
Don’t get me wrong, I was told that God loved me in the Bible and through all of the church leaders I experienced, but I was sure He could love me more if I was a better person, a better version of myself, if I could have more self control or more of a regimented beauty routine, take care of my temple better so he would be prouder of me.
Flash forward to a 30ish year old version of me…a person who has spent the vast majority of life trying to change. Trying to become pretty, insistent that if I could just get my butt in gear I could be a different person. I could be the me I’m supposed to be. I dieted to any nutritionist’s hearts content. I worked out daily (read that as DAILY!!!!) for months on end and nothing happened except gaining weight and backne. I was done for.
I went to the doctor, insistent that something was wrong with me…insistent I must have a basketball sized growth that weighed the same as a small child somewhere within me. But bloodwork came back shockingly that I was abnormally healthy. And my doctor had a serious talk with me… “maybe you’re just the size you’re supposed to be. To me you look like a healthy hawaiian woman.” Ouch I thought. How insulting. I’ll show him.
Although at this point in our story I’m pretty much out of options…every diet has not worked, paleo made me feel healthy but not skinnier, trim healthy mama made me feel glowing but again, not skinnier, and working out added muscles (the horror!)
I’ve seen specialists, nutritionists, trainers, and more.
In the most recent chunk of time I came home from our summer cottage and joined a new diet program thinking…this is it! I’m going to be a new person! People will like me! I’ll be amazing! But I found myself feeling horrible and unable to function at any point needed to to be a good wife and mother. Worse than that…I still was not losing any weight.
I started reading some things that I believe God put in my path to pave the way for me. I started thinking how nice it would be to experience the “joy” fruit of the spirit, to be happy despite my circumstances and how great it would feel to be content. Truly content. After all of these thought I was tired of not being happy with myself. I realized if I was ever going to be happy I had to make a change.
So a few weeks ago I sent my husband a text message:
Be honest, are you really happy with me? Just as I am? Be honest!
Yes, I love you just as you are.
So I decided I could too.
Those few weeks ago I had this aha moment (or a duh moment depending on how your glass is filled/emptied in your view of life) that I had spent the vast majority of my life hating myself…no, loathing myself. And I was tired of it.
I was done with not being content. I had always associated the word contentment with money and material possessions but the bottom line was that I had my health and all of these amazing aspects of my life and yet I was finding no contentment based solely on my physical appearance.
I found myself thinking…
What would happen if I consciously made decisions about what I put in my body to eat based on what was the very best for my actual health and not for my diet?
What would happen to my soul if I decided that I am not who my skin and waist size and nose dimple say I am but rather that issimply part of the shell of the person I really am? Could I come to love that person? Doesn’t that person deserve to feel love and acceptance?
What if I decided to dance in the kitchen or to be silly or to wear my favorite skirt even if I look ridiculous? What would happen other than my heart exploding with happiness and my children witnessing a confident mother?
I’ve made a big decision folks…I’ve decided to be happy.
Happy with me. Happy with who I am. Happy with the girl God made me as. Just happy.
Despite what my scale says or the size of shirt I purchase. I will be happy because God loves me and made me.
I started writing this all a few weeks ago when I made the decision and yet something stopped me from posting immediately. I was instantly scared of what my old friends would say. I was intimidated by people not thinking I’m perfect (not that I ever have been!). But in the past few weeks I’ve found myself simply working through those feelings rather than cowering behind them like the old me may have done.
Now I am focusing on being happy with my family. Exercising with them. Making healthy foods that support my children’s brains and bodies to make them the healthiest they can be I’m happy being a mom, a wife, a friend, and a sister simply through being me.
I’ve made a big decision and I hope it inspires you to start looking at yourself differently to see how truly loved you are…just they way you are.
It feels so good to make the decision to be happy!