During a time of year when people are making weight loss and fitness goals, I (Megan) thought it might be important to discuss how to make peace with your body.
My story includes a fair share of issues with weight management and fitness failures, but over time I have really made peace with my body. Not because I have “arrived” at some perfect state but because I am choosing to live well in the midst of imperfection. Having had an eating disorder through most of my childhood and it rearing it’s ugly head again just a few short years ago, this is an area where I must be extremely diligent in what I allow myself to think on. So please understand, I won’t use the words ‘simple’ or ‘easy’ in this post. Making peace with your body, as many of you already know, is not a simple process. There is no magic wand to wave that makes us fall in love with the way we look. However, I do know from personal experience that it is possible to feel comfortable in your own skin. Here are some suggestions to help you on the journey:
1. Recognize the lies media and pop culture are selling. When you know someone is lying to you what do you do? You don’t trust them! You are cautious of their opinions or disregard them all together. This is an important first step to making peace with your body; call the images you see everyday in magazines, TV commercials what they are, lies. Airbrushed beauty is not real and if we continue to hold ourselves to that standard, we will never measure up. If you really want to make peace with your body, take some time to figure out what lies you are believing and then silence them.
2. Stop negative self talk. I already mentioned this wasn’t going to be easy didn’t I?! Once you recognize the lies you are believing the next step is to silence another altogether negative voice, your own. The “Fat, Dumb & Ugly” soundtrack isn’t doing you any good. In fact, it has never done you, your friends or anyone any good. Ever. So ditch it. Strive to put an end to negative self talk and adopt the more healthy habit of reflective evaluation. Rather than condemning or judging your own perceived failures, you should seek to understand what is at the base of your emotional reactions to the way you look or feel about yourself. If you discover your feelings stem from shaming words spoken to you as a child, seek help or counsel on how to overcome that. If you find depression, perfectionism, people pleasing or a number of other motivations at the root, open up and become vulnerable with a person or group you can trust. Finding the peace and healing you desire in this area will require work. It may be slow and it may be painful at times but it is worth it to live at peace.
3. Lean into the people in your life who find you beautiful. For me the greatest advocate I go to for affirmation of my beauty is my husband. I know he finds me attractive and I don’t doubt my beauty in his eyes. I know that for some of you though, your husband is not your advocate. In fact he may be part of the problem as to why you don’t recognize your own beauty. In these instances I encourage you to believe the voices of those people in your life who will draw out and call on your beauty as they see it. If you don’t have anyone who does this in your life, pray that God would bring an encourager into your life. We all need them and it is helpful for the people we are living life with to be a positive voice in our own journey.
4. Learn what God says about you. On this journey called life we are all trying to figure out who we are and why we are here. These questions cannot be answered without the help of the very One who created us. If you want to make peace with your body, with relationships or with God; you must know who God is and what He has done for you through His Son Jesus Christ. Your identity must rest completely in that knowledge. Then and only then will you be able to experience peace. He loves you for who you are right now. Don’t miss out on experiencing that love.