I survived bathing suit shopping with my teenagers. Let us pause for a moment of silence and ponder why they do not sell wine in fitting rooms for moms. For years I have been taking them both shopping separately because they are both so different. One grew tall before she grew out and the other grew out before she became taller. My thinking this year was that everyone is the same size and at a good place mentally so this should be easier.
I was wrong. Very wrong. We left sullen, grouchy, tired, and I was just sad.
How is it that when women look at themselves in the mirror, we feel such self-hatred? No matter the progress that we make, it is never enough. IT IS NEVER ENOUGH.
We constantly hear:
- Low carb? No carb? More carbs? Paleo? Gluten free?
- In six weeks you can look like this if you do this.
- Try this drink.
- Put this in your coffee.
- Eat eggs. Don’t eat eggs.
- Do cardio.
- Lift weights.
- Eat this. Do not eat that.
- That food is bad. That food is good.
- I cheated.
And we will do almost ANYTHING if we think it will work and work fast.
Soooooooo…..everybody should look the same? Everybody should do the same thing.
I am not buying it anymore. I quit this craziness. I have been in the process of quitting this craziness for 27 years because that is how long it takes me to grow. I am always in the slow lane of progress and I am really okay with that.
I would like to offer a solution for you. THIS IS NOT A SOLUTION YOU WILL SEE ON A MAGAZINE COVER. It is a different way of thinking to help you in your process of self-acceptance right where you are now. Let’s turn the focus from the numbers and what we look like to the question I ask myself every morning:
WHAT CAN YOUR BODY DO?
I believe our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made. I believe that we are more than the number on a freaking scale and a pair of jeans. We were created to do amazing things with our bodies and our minds. Why do we not celebrate what we can do?
I began this conversation last year with our girls and I will continue to refocus them when caught up in the superficiality of their looks. I, too, am just as guilty AND I REALIZE IT. Once you realize it, you have to look at how you can change it. Soooo…
WHAT CAN YOUR BODY DO?
- I can get out of bed in the morning.
- I can walk down the steps pain-free.
- I can play ball with my crazy dog.
- I can do “the worm” when I dance.
- I can pull weeds and mulch my yard.
- I can change all the light bulbs in my house.
- I can do push-ups and pull-ups.
- I skateboard.
- I surf.
- I can jump on a trampoline and sometimes not pee my pants.
- I can jump rope and sometimes not pee my pants.
- I can squat both my daughters at the same time.
- I can also wrestle them to the ground. (Yes, we do that for fun….don’t ask.)
- I can walk on my hands.
- I can run but I do not like to do it.
- I can move better now than I did 5 years ago.
- I can swim.
- I can jump off cliffs.
- I had two beautiful girls when I was told that I would never have children.
- I have recovered from an eating disorder.
- My digestive system is finally on track and has made great strides.
- My migraines have improved.
This is what I celebrate. We have two ways to always look at our life…what we have or what we do not have. What we do not have can push us and motivate us but it can also debilitate us. I am always forced to change the way I think before I set goals and begin working to get there.
While I am raising two girls, I pray that they will not have an eating disorder. It is one of my biggest fears. And yes, it could happen. Easily. I am pushing against the current of society, social media, and my past to help create healthy thought patterns. However, it is their process that they have to do. Only they can do this. It is one of the realities of letting them grow up and realizing they need to own their thoughts because our thoughts become actions.
So here is one of my speeches or “Motivational Moments”…
“Ladies, look at you. Really look at yourself. You are beautiful. That beauty shines from the inside. And as we look in the mirror do you see all the possibilities that you can do? One of you is made for a completely different purpose than the other. So why compare? Grace, you were made to run. In order to do that you need strong legs with muscles. In order to compete and do what is asked of you, you are going to need to be physically strong in all areas, mentally and physically. Look at how far you have come already. Look at what your body can do!!! Caroline, you sing. You need a completely different skill set and training. Why would you expect to be anything like your sister? You will need to train your talents differently. Will you need to be strong? Yes, but for different reasons. You will need to be able to sing and dance at the same time. You will need lung capacity and different training. GO and DO YOUR THING. YOUR THING. Go and use the body and talents you have been given to accomplish your purpose. You are just getting started. BUT ALWAYS….ALWAYS…celebrate what your body can do for you every day. Feed it well. Celebrate how you can move. Celebrate the small things it does that we take for granted and the big things, too. You are so much more than your reflection. You are more than the number on that tag. You were created for something amazing. Go do it.”
Daughter: It is really hard.
Me: I know. If I could prevent you from going down my path, I would. But it is your journey. I just want the words you say to yourself to be the ones that pull you together not unravel you more.
And just like each of us, they have to work through their insecurities, anxieties, and comparisons to celebrate what their bodies can do.
WHAT CAN YOUR BODY DO?