By Samantha McKenzie
There’s a lot of pressure placed on women to be a certain dress size or maintain a certain body type. While the messages may begin on the outside, they take root inside of us as we begin to internalize negative thoughts of not being good enough.
With the influence of the internet and the entertainment industry, a desire to have everything exactly as seen on the big screen has grown tremendously in most of us. The beauty industry has skyrocketed. We want “beat” faces, long hair, larger breasts and buttocks, small waists and in recent years, over-exaggerated eye lashes and brows.
The damaging effects of a world gone pretentious are riveting. It’s become harder for a mom to tell her teenage daughter that she is beautiful just the way she is, when the world is screaming the total opposite.
There’s a greater lesson to be taught here and one we can’t afford to pass by: We must be the biggest champions of self-love. We must wave the banner to eradicate low self-esteem in ourselves and in our children and find the confidence to be happy with the way God made us all.
There is no such thing as perfect.
It should never be our goal.
This work begins in the home.
My experience in accepting myself began in my adult life. I wanted to learn to love my outside as much as I loved the rest of me. I took positive steps toward a new daily practice. I began to reimagine words like “perfect” or “flawless.” I took on new habits, like looking at myself in the mirror (yes, it’s hard at first) and saying thank you.
“You’ve carried me this far, helped me give birth to three incredible children, withstood a few bumps and bruises and for that alone, I am completely grateful,” I’d speak privately to my body. From blemishes, to stretch marks, to all that’s in between, I started to embrace the body that had long embraced me.
Nowadays, I watch what I eat because I enjoy being healthy, and living as long as I possibly can motivates me. I care less about how I look in my photographs and more about the many reasons I have to smile in them. I don’t stress out about what’s too big, or too small, or what’s not enough or too much anymore. It’s all just my body. An imperfectly, perfect me.
As we gear up for a new year, I challenge all of our “Women Who Hope” friends to take a selfie. Find something positive to say about your body and practice accepting yourself one body part at a time.