This is to all you girls out there who feel like life just doesn’t measure up to all it’s cracked out to be. I don’t know about you but my life certainly isn’t perfect, and boy, do I have days where I wish I could be Super Woman — capable, strong, beyond beautiful, skinny and through it all, I’m humble, coming out of my struggles triumphant, though with a little dust on my gold cuffs. Wouldn’t that be the life?
There’s no doubt about it that we, as females amongst a critical world, find our worst critics not in the perfect lives on Instagram, not in the magazines of celebs, not in the unrealistic relationships on t.v., but within our own eyes and minds. Isn’t it sad that when someone gives us a compliment, we automatically think, “They’re just being nice. They actually don’t think that about me. There’s no way.” And this response becomes second nature, no matter who compliments you. But why? Why do we do that to ourselves and make our lives, while already being difficult as it is, even more so by dismissing our unique talents, gifts, and remarkable beauty as never being good enough?
I have thought a lot about this, especially as I was sitting in my room on Valentines Day evening, hearing the apartment next door hum with the excitement of girls getting ready for an evening full of dates and boys, while I, perfectly content on my bed reading a good book wondered what was wrong with me. Where were my evenings of excitement, of worrying about which style to do my hair as my roommates interrogate my date at the door? Where is my happily-ever-after that everyone else seems to find, living their Hallmark movie fantasies while I am stuck watching them from the other side? It is in these moments that I find my critic, in her Jimmy Choo high heels, and pointy glasses, walks into my thoughts and looks down on me and all of my flaws, checking off each box as to why I will never be good enough: not pretty enough, not smart enough, not outgoing enough, not skinny enough, not funny enough, not spiritual enough, and the checklist goes on. This self-destructive road never leads to anywhere good, and it has turned my perception of myself into an awful creature that haunts me everywhere I go.
But in trying to overcome this myself, I have learned three things that I think could be shared to send forth the good vibes and to tell you ALL that you are enough:
NUMBER ONE: In one of my classes, we were talking about body image, and how distorted our perceptions of what beautiful looks like really are. Truly, our thoughts as humans as to what counts as beautiful have radically changed over time: fuller women were seen as desirable in the 1800s because it showed that they had money for food; likewise, curvy women were deemed beautiful in the 1950s, as it showed the beauty of the feminine figure. But today, curvy and “full” mean that you lack the “blessing” of having a thin body, which seems (in our own eyes) to be what boys and society desire most. However, this girl gave an amazing comparison of us and our bodies as being precious creations from God. She said that if we were to create a painting for someone, spending countless hours on it because we loved it so much, and after we finished it, that person said, “I hate it. It’s not good enough. Why did you make it this way?”, how would you feel? This is what Jesus Christ experiences when we body shame our own bodies — His creations for us. Christ is our painter. He created us, spending time on making us who we are, and loving us more than words can say. And when we hate on ourselves, we hurt His feelings because He thinks the world of you, of me, of everyone. I just think that this is an amazing way to see our bodies as something more than just being there. They were handcrafted and designed by God and Jesus Christ, and we should see ourselves as the works of art that they see us as, each unique and beautiful in our own way.
NUMBER TWO: Though I may sound like I know all about self-confidence, and that I have an amazing self perspective, I really don’t. It is a real struggle for me to see myself as anything but the “never good enough” girl that I think I am. That is why each night, I write in this journal that gives me a feel-good quote that reminds me to see the good that I am capable of. And in doing my self-reflection one night, this was my dose of daily self-confidence:”The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live only as you can” (Neil Gaiman). Now, after I read this, it was like a mirror slapped me in the face, waking me up to see that even though we hear all the time that everyone else is already taken, so be yourself, it is so true! We have been blessed with a voice, thoughts, attitudes, visions for the world that only we have been given. No one else. We have so much to contribute to those around us, and if we try to blend in, who will be the one to stand out and change the world?
NUMBER THREE: If you didn’t know already, I love inspirational quotes. They’re like my daily vitamins — making me stronger in myself, and reminding me that I have everything, even though it feels like I have nothing going for me. This quote has changed my life:”The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore” (C. Joybell C.). I have had a rough go in trying to really wrap my mind around this. In my worries, stresses, anxieties and fears that I will never measure up to the expectations that I have set for myself, and what I think society has placed on me, being pulled down is not a possibility. It’s inevitable. But I love how this quote reminds us that we as women who are strong, capable and independent, have the ability to change our view of the world by refusing to be dragged down by it. Like I said before, we are our own worst critic, and while the ideal lady with glasses who wears Jimmy Choo high heels, has a bikini ready bod, AND has Ryan Reynolds as a boyfriend appears in my mind as I compare myself to others around me, she nor her checklist, has the power to drag me down. I can say that I will not let myself be forgotten, to be trampled on, to be wasted. I am important, and there is nothing that can stop me from telling myself that unconditional truth.
So while Super Woman, and the Jimmy Choo woman’s lifestyle may be appealing in many ways, there is one thing that they lack. Me. They are not me. They do not laugh like I do, listen and care for others like I do, smile or cry like I do, and nor will they ever do those things like I do because that is what makes me me. I may never be like those other girls who seem to have it all, but I know that my story and visions and gifts are ready to change the world, one seed of self confidence at a time.