My story is not about battling obesity. It’s not about a struggle with anorexia.
I am an average girl struggling with an average weight.
For the vast majority of my life, I have grappled with low self-esteem. While I do scrutinize every flaw on my body and face, I’m particularly fixated on my weight. I know I am not obese. And although I look in the mirror everyday and give thanks for my health, I’m not always satisfied with the reflection staring back at me.
I don’t like to tell people I am unhappy with the way I look; I don’t want it to seem like I’m fishing for compliments. I don’t seek pity, comfort, or words of assurance from people. Because it just seems selfish and I don’t want to be selfish.
Growing up, I never really thought I had low self-esteem. I concluded I had a realistic and accurate view of my appearance. In a way, I prided myself on being humble. I wasn’t complaining to the world about my imperfections, but neither was I the arrogant fool who thought I looked like a supermodel. I was aware that I was overweight and acknowledged the fact that I had chubby cheeks and fat thighs. I knew I wasn’t the prettiest girl in the neighbourhood, but I also knew that no one would make fun of me when I walked out the door.
When the subject of weight came up amongst friends, I would say that I simply wanted to lose a few pounds and get toned. Everyone would tell me I was fine the way I was, that I had no grounds to be insecure. I didn’t believe them. Everyone has insecurities, and it was reasonable that I had mine.
It wasn’t until one of my friends sat me down and told me that I had a seriously negative view of myself when I thought, maybe my self-esteem really is messed up.
He said people don’t recognize beauty when they see it, because their point of reference is distorted. They are brainwashed by the values of our culture, images of perfection perpetuated by the media. Their lenses are tainted.
I was putting my self-worth into what others thought of my appearance. Since that conversation I’ve realized beauty is about so much more than looks.
Because isn’t having low self-esteem a slap in the face to my Creator? Isn’t it like I’m telling God that what He created isn’t good enough, that He messed up and could’ve done better?
By placing all of my self-worth into my outward appearance, I am not only rejecting myself, but I’m rejecting hundreds and thousands of people who are also made in the image of God. If I deem myself to be ugly because of a few extra pounds, what am I saying about other people with weight problems? Or whose physical appearance isn’t flawless?
I have finally realized that the mirror does not reflect my worth. It doesn’t matter what I look like. It doesn’t even matter how smart or how talented I am. I am here, and I have a purpose. I am made in the image of God; I’m innately beautiful, just as I am.
Photo (Flickr CC) by Karrie Nodalo.