Stretch Marks and Cellulite

It is really easy to believe we are not enough—especially in our physical appearance.

I was on Pinterest the other day, looking at the normalizing normal bodies movements, and I got really angry. All of the pictures seemed to be of really thin women whose tummies stay flat and crop tops fit perfectly.

Why is it that even pictures of real bodies have to be the ones determined to be the “best” ones?

And then I started wondering why I was so okay with comparing myself so critically to other women that I don’t know at all. Women who have body insecurities too—women who spend the same amount of time in the mirror every morning trying to make themselves what they want, just like I do all too often.

Comparison really is the thief of Joy, and it takes an especially extensive toll when the only ways we think of ourselves are in comparison to others—it doesn’t only take our Joy but also our ability to grasp our self-worth and actually have an accurate idea of who we are.

Body dysmorphia doesn’t just come out of a random selection of chances—body dysmorphia sticks its ugly head into the places where comparison and self-loathing lie. Believing we aren’t good enough because we don’t look a certain way only exacerbates our negative experiences with self-image. We are more than a reflection in a mirror and even if our value was based in that reflection, we would still be more than enough—it is difficult to see who we really are when the only times we see ourselves are in obsessive checks of the same small parts of our face and uninterested looks at how beautifully we are made.

Comparison and self-hate don’t just create a deficit in our abilities to love ourselves, but they create malice.

Have you ever looked at someone you considered to be the “ideal” of physical appearance in our society and thought that they’re probably a jerk, a ditz, or trying too hard? Yeah, we all have—because we all want to feel like there’s an explanation for our insecurities, so we supplement our lack of self-love with hatred for the ones we consider better-looking around us. That’s a pretty cheap shot to take at strangers. Struggling with our own appearance is never an excuse to wish ill for another person. In a society that values the body above all else, we think that maybe we can lay claim to negative possibilities through what we don’t know about someone’s personality and experiences to make ourselves feel better. And we think other people are “trying too hard” when we believe they look better than us?

Imagine how you would see yourself if you could, just for a moment, look at yourself through the eyes God looks at you through.

Every scar, stretchmark, fat roll,  all the cellulite, acne, and dry skin tell a story. And it’s not about the difficulty of living life with them but about the wonder, beauty, and uniqueness of the person who wears them.

Isn’t it interesting to think of our greatest physical insecurities as something we wear?

I wear a lot of stretchmarks and a pudgy belly.

The stretchmarks show growth, and my stomach shows space—that I deserve to take up space, I have space, I am valuable in this space whether it is all taken up or not. My stretchmarks remind me I’m not perfect, but my design is Perfect and the Designer is Good and Loving and Perfect. My stomach reminds me that I don’t have to be small to be worth it, and that flat doesn’t mean healthy. My stomach, my core, strengthens me during workouts and centers me whether I’m sitting, standing, walking, running, or dancing.

What do you wear? What do you look at in the mirror most of all? Where do your greatest bodily insecurities lie? Spin them to be the parts about yourself that are reminders of your worth, not your shortcomings. When we can take what we have created to be our greatest enemies as our greatest allies, we will not be so tempted to spend our time in self-loathing or comparison campaigning—we will just know we are Enough because enough is enough when it comes to not loving our bodies.

They were handmade just for us—so let’s treat them as such.

•••

With Love,

Hannah

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