Mirror, mirror, what do I see?
Growing up I was completely insecure with the way I looked. There wasn't anything about myself which I particularly liked. In my rose-colored glasses I wanted to change my weight, eye color, hair color, height, body type (skinny wasn't "in" at the time) and lighten my tanned skin complexion.
And I hid this struggle from everyone for many years.
Fast forward to over 20 years later, I've never had any cosmetic surgery and my body didn't change other than developing more into my natural, womanly figure (like every girl does when she grows up).
But what did change was the perception I had of myself.
It wasn't until I was about 25-years-old that I broke free from that self-torturing imprisonment. It also was the springboard that helped me learn more about myself in so many ways and for the first time I could honestly say that I loved how God created me.
It was in that point of my life when I wasn't insecure about going outside of the house without makeup, or obsessively weighing myself on the scale anymore. My new focus was simply taking care of myself to be healthy in my mind, body, soul and spirit. However, as I look around in today's society I am saddened by the escalating number of people I see/hear who are struggling with body image issues just like I once did.
According to the WedMD.com there's a mental illness called "Body Dismorphic Disorder":
"People with BDD are preoccupied with an imagined physical defect or a minor defect that others often cannot see. As a result, people with this disorder see themselves as "ugly" and often avoid social exposure to others or turn to plastic surgery to try to improve their appearance."
It was heartbreaking to learn it affects both male and female equally and can start as early as teen years. So my question is:
Who or what are we striving to look like?
If you or someone you know is struggling, here are some helpful starting tips:
- Go see your doctor if you are struggling with body issues and need someone to talk with.
- Take a break from social media, buying magazines or looking through websites that stimulate an unhealthy obsession.
- Put away the scale to keep from obsessing about the numbers. Each body is different and carries weight differently, anyway.
- Focus on what triggers any food binges or cravings and work on resolving those issues with a trusted adult/professional.
- Incorporate healthy (and realistic) exercise routine or activities.
- Create a vision board or make a list of your goals. Start small and work up to big goals. Achieving small goals keeps your confidence going and help builds you up for bigger goals.
- Allow yourself to have a "Cheat Day" to treat yourself.
- Look in the mirror and find the things you appreciate about your body and those things you love. Focus on the good. (Be grateful for all your functioning body parts that help you get around each day!)
- Surround yourself with people you trust who can help keep you accountable.
We all have unique fingerprints for a reason. There will only ever be one of you created. You are designed for a purpose. Give yourself the gift of loving and accepting who you are. It's a freedom that only you can give to yourself.