I’m not sure that I could come up with an even close-to-correct estimate for the number of hours, days, and weeks of my time I have spent obsessing about how I look.
How often does “fearfully and wonderfully made” sound absolutely ridiculous? How often do the pounds, inches, and any other conglomerate of numbers provoke innumerable self-deprecating thoughts?
What is preventing us from catching ourselves in a mirror and having an immediately positive reaction?
We have taught ourselves to hide or overcompensate.
For a long, long time, I wore clothes at least a size too big because then, at least, I could control how people saw me. Maybe I looked bigger than I was, but at least it was something I could control. Isn’t that the key word? They could only judge the me I chose to show, not the real me, not my real body, not anything that was actually vulnerable to who I am.
Our lack of ability to control where on the societal “scale” we fall of attractiveness call comparison into our daily lives.
No amount of comparison to put oneself above another person has ever given life to anyone. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and it certainly does not matter if the comparison is putting you in a position above the other(s) to which you are comparing yourself. All comparison does is feed insecurity, which then demands more comparison to keep one in any manner of “positive” relationship with themselves.
We hate ourselves, and in order to make it seem like we have any shred of self-respect, we try to hate others more, or at least their physical presentation more. Maybe that is just me, but I have often found myself subconsciously nitpicking at other people’s appearance, especially on days when I feel less than good enough.
And then in those moments, I am reminded of this quote from Lisa Bevere—“If we have a heavenly Father who is without rival and who is without equal, then we, as his children, are loved without rival and loved without equal.”
If we have been so created to be Loved without rival or equal, why do we try to create rivalry amongst ourselves in a never-successful attempt to give ourselves value that outweighs another’s when our value is not weighable?
We have been bought with a price, but that price is not built up of a number amount or anything measurable because we were bought with The Immeasurable Himself. If we are so treated as so lovely and unique and loved by the God who has made it all, how could we, with that in mind, look at another human being with anything less than absolute amazement at the specificity of design and wonder at utter strangeness (in the greatest way) of existence at all—including ourselves.
Holding ourselves accountable for negative self-image is sometimes addressed, but not often enough, especially since most of our self-shaming happens internally.
And sometimes, in those moments when I am most inclined to be unkind to myself, I am taken aback by the revelation that I would not accept even 1/10 of the criticism I give to myself from anyone else.
We forget that we are with ourselves more than anyone else, and to constantly be criticizing the person you are with the most is no good relationship. We are all unique, and we have decided that only some kinds of uniqueness and difference in physicality are good while all the others are not. And that is absolutely ridiculous.
God is obsessed with the way He created us, everything from the most beautiful parts about our bodies to the things we consider flaws. And He is not okay with His kids being talked to so horribly. We are the Beloved, and we should begin to learn what it means to actually treat ourselves as if we believe that.
Everyone’s walk in better self-image starts in different places—whether its accountability with friends, deleting social media for a while, going to buy clothes that fit and learning how to flatter your body type—whatever it is, know that you are so, so loved, and so, so beautiful, even if that “beautiful” doesn’t look exactly how society has said it should.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that is the end of it.