Do you ever read something that challenges how you view the world or life and it causes you to immediately do a self check to see if you are guilty of it? This happens to me a lot. I will read an article on parenting from a mom who has been doing it for more years than me and I will be inspired and challenged to change my ways. It works for 3 days and then I need to read another article.
Lately I am finding my world has been consumed with my weight. Just being honest. I constantly am catching myself in a reflection of the hallway mirror or the microwave or a window and wondering, “What happened?” The ironic thing is that I have never been more happy and more fulfilled in my entire life. So what is happening?
I layed in bed last night thinking about this dilemma. Why am I so down on myself when I look in the mirror but so healthy in every other area. Yes, I consider looking at myself in the mirror and not seeing a pretty face looking back as unhealthy. It is extremely unhealthy. It is poison. I hate that I do that. I have read article after article, and even written a few, on this same topic. Not being happy with you reflection. Promoting positive self talk. Living healthy. Being a good example to our children. Loving yourself where you are at. But if I am honest, this is just not settling in my mind. These articles, while super motivating, are not sticking to my soul. They are not becoming my reality. They are causing me to rise and then CRASH!
I once learned, while taking my early childhood education, that when you go to teach children you will apply 20 percent of what you learned in class and the rest comes from your life experience. If you had a mom that yelled and a dad who was super stricted these areas would seep out into the workplace when you are working with children. We were warned to take a deeper look at what we would be like with children. Professionals could only “pretend” for so long and then the true colours would come out. That isn’t to say that all people with bad childhoods will never make good teachers. It was just a warning. Make sure you are continually doing self checks. Know when you need to take a vacation day or just a deep breath. We were taught self awareness and emotional regulation. Working with children is exhausting and can really bring out your true colours. The sweetest of people can be brought to tears or fits of rage by one disobedient 4 year old.
So where am I going with this? Well, this concept of our upbringing playing such a huge role on our personality and future behaviors sparked a “eureka” moment for me while I lay in bed last night. How was I brought up? My parents were amazing. Like seriously. Hands down fantastic. But… (the dreaded “but”) Diets and self hating was all around me. Not just from my parents but from almost every grown up in my life. Grandparents comparing Cousins in their size. Family friends talking about losing the last 10 pounds of baby weight. Radio Commercials like Jenny Craig that had you humming their phone number throughout the day. It was all around us. I remember seeing my own mother struggling with trying to get fit so that she could be happy and healthy. Why do those two words always go together?
Happy and Healthy are not married. You can be super physically Healthy and not be happy and you can be a very happy person and not be physically healthy. Now this is not to say that there are not people out there that aren’t happy and healthy. I know a bunch. I just really think these two words need to be used separately.
Being Healthy is a matter of the mind and the body. Finding a place where you are energetic and fueling your body with the right foods and where you look at yourself in the mirror and see your beautiful blue eyes and appreciate the colour of your hair and see the beauty that is in you no matter the size or shape of the body you are in. Where you look at yourself and first speak love. Learning how to eat proper foods in the right amount is important. Not to make you skinny and a size 2. It is important to help you gain the right amount of energy to keep up with your daily life. Having a Healthy heart is important for a long life. Not getting out of breath after running up the stairs is valuable in its own.
This Morning I went to a moms group where the topic was Beauty. I had started writing this post and had to leave part way through to make it to the program on time. I had no idea what the topic would be and the entire time I was forcing back tears as we discussed inner beauty and what makes people beautiful. I was blown away over how much this has been coming up in my life and the ultimate cherry on the cake was when we were shown a Dove commercial Video that had woman picking between walking through the door that had the word “Average” written on top and the word “Beautiful” Written on the other door. Which door would I have walked through yesterday? Which door will I walk through the rest of my life?
Beautiful! I am Beautiful. I may not measure up to society’s version of beauty. But I sure do know that I am beautiful. What makes me beautiful is that I am Kind. I am compassionate. I try my very best to think of other People. I love deeply. I listen intently. I make mistakes but for the most part I own up to them. I share. I am creative.I am honest. These are areas in my life that I really have been working on letting shine through. Up until today I was doing it as a way of Serving God and others around me. But now I know that it was all in training me to be beautiful. Physically I have never weighed as much as I do right now and I am pretty sure my hair has never been so gross. But I am also the fittest I have ever been. I can run a half marathon and do 10 pushups in a row. I can carry both my kids up the stairs to bed and not be out of breath. I can play a game of soccer with my son and out run him. I can go on hikes with friends and not need to hte nap the rest of the day. I can wake up early and go for a power walk with a friend and still support my family throughout their day and run my daycare and not need a nap. I can climb a tree to help trim it and not need a ladder. I am strong. I am beautiful. I am amazing.
I am not listing all these things so you can see how amazing I am. I am listing them to help you search deep inside and find the things that YOU are AMAZING at. What are they? I am going to write mine down and hang them in my bedroom and in my kitchen.
I look at the woman around me and I see so much beauty. My friends are honestly the most beautiful people I know. You ask the reasons why and I could go on for days and most of the reasons would be inner beauty attributes. There is so much kindness in my group of friends. I have no idea how much they weigh or what size of clothes they wear. So why do I even care about that with myself? My friends won’t stop being my friends if I am a size 22. They may stop being my friends if I am rude and mean. What makes my friends my friends is how I treat them.
This whole new idea of beauty is not revolutionary. I did not just stumble upon some hidden mystery to solve all life’s problems. But my eyes being opened to this new way of looking at beauty is going to change my life. I want my children to remember me as kind, compassionate, and fun. I want them to remember playing soccer with me and going on hikes with them. I do not want to sit on the side lines so I will continue to eat whole foods and practice healthy habits. But I do not want my children to remember which diet plans I followed and which ones I failed at. I want more for my children. I want them to have a healthy outlook on their body image and to have a well rounded way of thinking about healthy. I want them to be happy. I want them to be kind. I am pretty sure most people don’t sit up at night and pray their children are skinny when they grow up. I sure hope that is not a prayer.
I have been praying over my children since before I even knew I was pregnant. I pray that they will be kind, loving, compassionate, fair, helpful, unselfish. I pray that they will find friends who will compliment them and that they will find friendships that will challenge them in their faith. I pray for their relationship with God. I pray for their future job and school and potential spouse. I pray for their salvation. I never have once prayed they would be skinny and gorgeous. My children are Gorgeous, and so am I!