choose beauty: you are more

As a 20-something woman, I have, at some point or another, been self-conscious about {let’s just go from top to bottom}: my hair, my eyes, the bags under my eyes, my nose, my lips, my teeth and smile, my sometimes-double chin, my chest, my arms, my fingers…!!!, my shoulders, my lack-of-six-pack abs, the rest of my stomach, my hips, my butt, my thighs, my calves, my ankles…did I miss a body part? Probably not. The list goes on and on and on and it’s so hard to keep up with all of it. What I mean by “all of it” is two-fold: the negative voices in my head telling me I’ll never be skinny/pretty/curvy/[INSERT SOMETHING] enough AND the constant pressure and expectation to always look a certain way deemed beautiful by our culture and the media. What we our physical bodies look like is something that both guys and girls struggle with; maybe sometimes and maybe all the time. I just want to scream and shout to everyone and myself one thing: YOU ARE MORE.

You are more than the size your hips are and the size of your bra. You are more than stretch makes and cellulite and wrinkles and you are more. You are more than that itsy bitsy {or maybe not so itsy bitsy} voice in your head telling me you must be smaller! thinner! more in shape! You are more than that space between your thighs and your jiggly arms and your not-so-tight stomach. Even if you love or “feel okay” about your toned arms or curvy behind, you are more. Regardless of weight, hair color,  height, eye shape, talents, skills, whatever – you are of value and can live out of that truth both securely and confidently. You are more.

What I’m learning slowly but surely is that positive body image is a lifelong process. It’s not something we can snap our fingers and just make happen. Like joy, it is a daily and conscious choice to make – this decision and way of living to view yourself as more.The National Eating Disorders Association explains “positive body image” like this: “You celebrate and appreciate your natural body shape and you understand that a person’s physical appearance says very little about their character and value as a person.” Beyond true.

I love the lyrics to this song {A More Beautiful You by Jonny Diaz} . The words are simple, and at the same time, beautifully profound, reminding me that I am more than what culture says or what the media shows me and I am more.“Don’t buy the lies, disguises and hoops, they make you jump through. You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do, so there could never be a more beautiful you.” and… “Well little girl fourteen, I wish that you could see that beauty is within your heart. And you were made with such care; your skin your body and your hair are perfect just the way they are.”

I hope today you decide to vicariously and expressively live in the body you were created in and to nourish it and thank it and celebrate it – right where it is right now. I hope you remember you are so much more, beautiful friend.

This is part of the Choose Beauty Linkup — an ongoing series that focuses on topics related to beauty—what real beauty is, what makes us feel beautiful, how we pursue lasting beauty in our lives, the roots behind our body image issues, etc. Through our posts, we’ll share thoughts, experiences, inspirations, challenges and more with the hope of changing the voice about beauty that we’re hearing in our culture today. Join the conversation by hitting “click here to enter” below.

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