November 16, 2011

"She'd Be Really Pretty If She Were Thinner!"

Pretty harsh right? Yet, day after day, girls all over the world hear things like this. I personally hate this phrase. The media pushes it, people I know have used it, and I find it offensive. Tell me, though, what does a person's weight have to do with their beauty or who they are as a person? Because I've known gorgeous people that can be rude and hateful, and I've known people that might not be considered quite as "stunning" to have incredibly big hearts, and vice looks aren't everything, are they? They don't define us, or say who we are.

I used to be heavier when I was a kid, and I was teased by friends and even some family members would make comments about it. People I thought were supposed to love me no matter what criticized me for the way I looked. It didn't really bother me that much at the time; sure it hurt, but I was happy and carefree, and didn't let it get to me. I didn't realize the effect that those comments would have on the rest of my life from that point on. As I entered my teen years, those comments stuck with me, and I started listening to them. I've never had an eating disorder or anything serious like that, but it has been a matter of training that voice inside my head to tell me the truth, rather than the lies of what the world wants me to hear or what satan wants me to hear. Because I'm stronger than that!

As I got older, when people would give me any kind of criticism or make a sarcastic joke about my appearance, I'd take it as a slam that I'm not good enough, or pretty enough, or that people were trying to change me. I'm very sensitive, I feel everything that goes on around me, and I take a lot of things to heart. It started affecting a lot of areas in my life, because rather than letting go and letting God do His thing, I'd hold onto it. I've had a fear of failure and feeling like I always needed to meet people's needs; to be perfect for them. The comments that people made would haunt me, and I'd hear them over and over again, clear as day.  I'd hold onto mistakes of the past, and beat myself up over it, even for the smallest of things.

This past year, I've started dealing with it. I've been more open about how I felt back then, how it has affected me, and I've even talked to and forgiven the people that have made those comments. I still have those days where I feel insecure or wonder what other people think of me, and I think we all do. We're human, and I forget that at times. However, God has been giving me this new found confidence in myself that I've never felt before. I'm strong in who I am, not because of who I am, but because of who HE is. I want to be healthy (being more active and eating healthier), but I'm okay with not being a size two.

People have no idea the impact their "harmless" words or their "I didn't mean anything by it," comments have on others. I do it at times too, without thinking, but when I look back on how I felt, I'd never want someone else to feel the same way that I did. Words are such a powerful thing; I should know that, I want to be a writer. I want to make an impact on people with my words, and I know how much they affect me when I hear a song with great lyrics or a quote that really strikes me. They can build someone up so high, and they can tear people down to their lowest of lows. It's all a matter of how we use them. The media sure knows how to distort words, images, and what people should be and look like.

I'm really interested in body image, and empowering girls to feel great about themselves, no matter what their insecurities are or what their size is. There is no definition of beauty, just the lies we've heard on TV. I stopped believing that crap a long time ago! Someday, I'd like to help other girls with the same thing, and to help them see themselves the way God does. I want to encourage girls that they can do anything they set their minds to, believe in themselves, know what true beauty is, and to believe in the beauty of dreams.

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