In college, my roommate often accused me of having body image issues. To her, I “had a nice shape” and didn’t need to be concerned with working out or dieting. To me, I needed to maintain a certain size to feel confident. Fast forward 15 years, and I’m sure she’d say I’m not too far removed from who she’s always known me to be. However, I’d only disagree that my “certain size” has increased by two dress sizes…one for each kid!

In all seriousness, I totally get where she was coming from all those years ago. I get it now more than ever because I’ve befriended women who see themselves so much differently than what I see. My sister-in-law stays talking about all that’s wrong with her frame, but I see a petite woman with 2 children and a great body! My co-worker swears by the fact that her hair will never “grow back like it used to be”, but I see a beautiful crown of newly liberated natural curls. My close friend believes she’s the size of Shamu after her baby (who is only 3 months old), but I see a woman who carried her baby like a boss and is doing a great job getting down after his arrival!

So many of us women have skewed images of ourselves. We think we are too fat or too skinny because right now society tells us all to be some version of “thick”. We think we are too tall or too short because the perfect height matters…only to a man’s ego. We want someone else’s hair, someone else’s butt, lips, breasts, and skin-tone. As a gender, we have the hardest time with self-acceptance, self-love, and self-admiration. As a result, we turn our noses up to one another; hate on each other; envy others, or simply shrink in the presence of one another. How do I know? I’ve been here…I’ve been her.

I have definitely had my bouts of insecurity, jealousy, and self-hate. I looked in the mirror and saw someone ugly. I pulled on my clothing and only saw all the parts of my body that were “imperfect”. I compared myself to celebrities and around the way girls. I’ve been there. And I’d be lying if I said that I haven’t found myself taking short trips back there every now and then.

However, it helps to hear my husband compliment me when I’m all dressed up or randomly smack me on the booty while I’m cooking dinner. There’s nothing more rewarding than my sons or my students telling me I’m pretty. And let’s admit ladies, it doesn’t hurt for my homegirls to gas me up on a girls’ night out! But the biggest change has come from seeing what God sees.

To the ladies who are reading this: You may not have the fattest booty or the longest tresses. Your skin may have a few divots and wrinkles. You may wear a one-piece and not a bikini. You may cover your smile because of crooked teeth or hang your head because you feel inferior to the others in the room. STOP IT! My granny used to always say, “God don’t make no mess.” And it’s true. The next time you find yourself feeling down about how you look, use the words below as a reminder that God made you and that alone makes you BEAUTIFUL:

1.  You were fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

2. You were made in God’s image. Genesis 1:27

3. You are more precious than rubies…nothing can compare to you. Proverbs 3:15

4. God is within you. Psalm 46:5

5. You are God’s handiwork. Ephesians 2:10

6. You are who you are by God’s grace. 1 Corinthians 15:10

7. You are altogether beautiful. Song of Soloman 4:7

8. God made everything beautiful. Ecclesiastes 3:11

9. Your beauty is not in what you wear or how you look, it comes from the God within. 1 Peter 3:3-4

10. When you feel less than beautiful, remember who you are and to whom you belong. Ephesians 2:19-22

This makes me think back a few months. A friend of mine received a most fitting gift that speaks to this post. Her husband bought her a pocket mirror for Valentine’s Day. The mirror was inscribed with this saying: “ See the love I see” so that when she looks in the mirror she can see what he sees…what God sees. THAT’s where our self-perception is perfected. In seeing ourselves for who we are…beautiful women, hand-crafted, tailor-made by the true and living God. Believe you are beautiful. Be Blessed XOXO

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