Overcoming the World

Let me begin with this. I’m going to talk about myself more than normal in this post. But hopefully it can still get the point across and inspire at least one other person. Moving on…

“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.” ― Steve Maraboli

I found this quote. I love this quote. Because of two words. “Perfect imperfection.”

I like it because this guy realizes imperfections are a part of life and you don’t have to view them as imperfections. So when someone tells you to “accept your imperfections and love them” tell them to shut-up because you don’t have imperfections and you’re super awesome.

Why can’t the weird freckle you have be beautiful? And why can’t stretch marks be badass battle scars from birthing a child or something? And my hair is weird sometimes, but maybe that shows I work hard at other things and don’t have time to focus on it. I don’t know. But nothing about you or me has to be a bad thing despite what the rest of the world says.

Simple, right? Maybe it is an easy concept for some people. For others, not so much. Myself included.

I went shopping a few days ago for the first time since recovering (mostly) from this terrible self-loathing period I never told anyone about.

I’m telling now.

I was around too many people that emphasized the way they looked and it became a really unhealthy environment for me. Which is so unlike me. I mean, I struggled with being shy in middle school and such. I finally became a cliche and discovered who I was sometime during high school. Sometimes I felt bad about myself. But for the most part, I’ve never struggled with confidence. I was always pretty comfortable with myself inside and out.

But for some reason, that stopped a few months ago. Food became an enemy, working out became a struggle, and I just really hated the way I looked and felt a lot. I had too many imperfections and felt really inferior to everyone around me.

Like, it was pretty bad. Sometimes I would eat and feel disgusted with myself. I was seriously just eating a normal meal like lunch or dinner. Completely ordinary and not unhealthy, but I felt wrong. I should’ve been trying to be skinnier.

I was really discouraged because I stopped drinking everything but water and skim milk and nothing happened. The freshman 15 didn’t happen, but the freshman 10ish did. I’m partially blaming that on the trip to New York I took and ate ALL THE FOOD. I don’t really regret that because that was the greatest trip of my life with the greatest people.

As for the rest, I was really mad at myself for it.

I also hated going to the gym and seeing all the size zeros jogging and stuff. I always felt really inferior compared to them. They also looked perfect in gym clothes. HOW? What’s the secret to that? Because I was sweaty and red-faced in Carolina tees and long boyish shorts, which we all know is so attractive.

So I stopped going to the gym and watched lots of Netflix and ate cookies, THEN felt bad about doing that. I felt bad inside and felt like I looked bad outside. But I’m really good at hiding things, so no one even knew any of this.

Nobody knew I used the scale every single time I walked into the restroom just to see if I had miraculously lost a pound. (Spoiler: I usually hadn’t. Bummer.)

None of my friends knew I was using them to compare myself to. Some of them had longer hair and I just wished mine would grow faster. Others could eat literally anything and still be smaller than me. Some are better at makeup than I am and know how to hide their breakouts and weird girl face stuff that happens.

No one knew that I started feeling lonelier. I’ve been single for a solid two years now and I’m okay with that. (Unless someone is interested.. Hit me up. *winky face* LOL Kidding. Mostly.) No one had really impressed me enough for me to attempt a relationship. But I started thinking maybe it was because I wasn’t good enough for them. So it went from me having high standards to thinking I was actually the problem.

My low self-worth I was feeling led to me feeling sad a lot. Mostly at night when I actually had free time to think. Thinking is troublesome. I just got kind of depressed sometimes and cried over things I normally wouldn’t cry over. Seriously, ask anyone that knows me. I do not cry. Ever. Some may say I’m what you call “emotionless” and/or “a robot.” (I’m not kidding. These were nicknames at one point. Ha.)

When I got home from school for the summer, I still had this terrible mindset. I finally told my mom what was going on and her reply was pretty much, “Summer, you’re an idiot because you’re beautiful and don’t need to change anything.” Something along those lines.

I wasn’t exactly convinced, but I realized I’d have to make peace with all the things I was struggling with.

Thanks to some really amazing friends who constantly boost my confidence and self-worth on a daily basis, I realized “imperfection” is a stupid word and I should’ve never used it to describe anything about myself.

Because I’m created in the image of God, right? So if He thinks I’m good enough, I’m good enough. I’m more than enough.

I also found advice on the reliable interwebs suggesting to ignore the size of clothes you’re wearing and focus on how they make you feel.

So back to that shopping trip I took. Without focusing on sizes, I just bought weird things I thought were neat and tried not to think of what other people would say about it. And I bought a bunch of super cool things I feel super cool in.

I don’t think physical appearance is the most important thing in the world, but I’ve realize it’s a huge factor in being happy and feeling accepted.

After buying clothes and dressing in a way that makes me happy, I realized it’s ridiculous how much emphasis is put on being perfect and fitting into the mold that is society. It’s so stupid. There’s such a pressure to be perfect, but you don’t have to be perfect to feel good about yourself, right? And you don’t have to look like everyone else because that would be SUPER BORING. (Do I say super too much?)

I have recently discovered Tyra Banks is SUCH an inspiration for body image related things. Really, follow her on twitter and instagram and stuff because she’s hilarious and unafraid of being her real self.

“Perfect is boring, human is beautiful.” ― Tyra Banks

Right. Human is beautiful. Human is beautiful. Human is beautiful. Say it a lot, maybe you’ll be convinced.

My legs are not as skinny as my best friend’s, but it’s fine. I hate it a lot. But I remind myself I played volleyball. I jumped a lot. I did gymnastics. Muscular, athletic body things are going to happen. I’m also short. So that’s not helping either. BUT IT’S OKAY. I’m not imperfect. I’m beautifully and wonderfully made.

Says so right here:

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

This may be the most rambling, mixed up post I’ve ever written. I’m not incredibly comfortable talking about insecurities like this. And I’m not fully sure I’ve overcome them yet myself, so maybe I shouldn’t be preaching beauty and self-worth to other people.

But I know Jesus thinks I’m awesome and I keep reminding myself of that, and most days are wonderful.

So I hope you take that knowledge and feel wonderful too.

And on the bad days, remember that Jesus overcame the world. And the trouble here is only temporary. And that’s reassuring to me. It’s really reassuring.

34 thoughts on “Overcoming the World

  1. I appreciate this post so much. Around the age of 8 or 9, girls generally stop seeing themselves as a subject (I love to sing or I am good at math) and begin seeing themselves as objects (what skirt should I wear? what do people think of my hair?). It is a sad state of affairs. Just knowing this, and being the mother of two tween girls does not mean it is easy to counter that trend. How to explain? How to model a healthier perspective when I am struggling myself?
    p.s. Thanks for checking out my blog!

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  2. I’m so glad you’re seeing the truth in the situation! I think it’s a never ending struggle for many of us. But, the truth is, there will always be someone who would give ANYTHING to look like us. We all have beauty in our own way. But the most beautiful attribute any of us will ever have is the beauty that shows from within. You are beautiful!

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  3. Strong, muscular women — and I’m one — can do so much! We can build things and carry our own suitcase when we go off on cool adventures. We can spike and hit and run and score and skate and the hell with the size zeros!! Some women are born tall, thin and praying mantis-shaped. I take a jazz dance class with women 15 years younger who look like that. I don’t. Funny thing — my sense of rhythm and grace is every bit as lovely as theirs.

    Your healthy body and mind are terrific gifts. Enjoy them while you have them.

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  4. Get a 6-string guitar (not electric). Learn to play some basic chords. And then when you’re feeling solitary, put your feelings into words and turn them into songs and sing them to your guitar. You will find that ALL emotions can be beautiful, and celebrating them will give you joy. I found that was the single best resource I had when I was living alone and sometimes feeling forlorn or invisible….

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      1. We absolutely aren’t. One of the best things that helped me finally move forward from my unhealthy body obsession was the documentary, “Miss Representation.” You should definitely check it out. It may just change your life. It certainly changed mine.

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      2. Hmm I’m not sure! I don’t have Netflix. I think you can watch it on Youtube for $5. it might be on iTunes too. Let me know if you get a chance to see it. I’d love to hear what you think!

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  5. All great art has an imperfection that throws the beauty into sharp relief.
    as Leonard Cohen put it –

    “Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in.”

    You sound just fine to me.

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  6. Loved this! 🙂 Wait till you get older. The battle doesn’t get any easier without Jesus’ help. 😕 Oh, well. We just have to survive that little inch and a half between date of birth and date of death. After that, it won’t matter. Hallelujah!

    o/

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  7. I think for many of us this is a life-long struggle. I have been dealing with this same type of self-loathing. Even at my age! You’d think I’d have come to some sort of acceptance and wisdom by now, but no. We desire to be beautiful and when we accept someone else’s definition of beauty, we’re fouled. We must realign ourselves with God’s Word continuously. And as lessonsbyheart said, someday it won’t matter anymore–we will be beyond beautiful, and probably won’t care a whit that we are! Ironic, yes? Nice post–Grace and peace to you.

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  8. Pingback: Youngins | summer
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