This post is about something that I have battled with constantly the past few years. Okay, I'm lying, my ENTIRE life! After seeing friends go through the same struggles, I feel compelled to say, enough is ENOUGH! It is time to talk about this openly and honestly.
"My hips are huge."
"I hate my tiny boobs."
"I wish I could have your butt."
"I have thunder thighs."
"My arms are way too skinny."
"I wish I had a six-pack."
"I'm too muscular and manly."
These are just a few of thousands of phrases I hear daily from my friends, my classmates, teammates, strangers, and myself...
Today, we live in a culture so heavily influenced by images in media that it's no wonder we are constantly comparing and criticizing ourselves. We compare ourselves to the latest big name actresses, to the images of our friends (and strangers) we see on Instagram, girls in the newest edition of Women's Health magazine etc.
We even go as far to say, "I wish I could change... (insert body part, facial feature, insecurity)."
Stop. Think for a second... that phrase, is completely ridiculous. So you want to change something about yourself that makes you… you?
Let's lay this out:
Imagine cooking a really awesome meal, taking a photo, or creating something, anything, that you were so proud of. Now imagine someone coming in and saying, “I wish this had a different flavor." or "yeah that's a good photo, but the lighting is too dim." What a huge slap in the face! Here you were, putting your heart and soul into harnessing your talent to create something so beautiful and meaningful to you that you could be proud of, and someone flies in and criticizes it and says it needs to be changed.
When we criticize ourselves that's exactly what we are doing to GOD. We were all designed by the the master artist, Creator of all. We are His masterpiece. “Who, me, a masterpiece?” Yes you! We are all unique. Each and every one of us were hand crafted and created to look the way we look, talk the way we talk, and to have the personalities we have for a special purpose.
"I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my witness to the nations." Jeremiah 1:5
Wanting to change yourself is messing with what God deems as a masterpiece. You may not think you are beautiful, but you are. We weren't made to fit into some mold of perfection. There is no mold! So stop trying to fit into something that is non-existent! That's the freedom that God has given us, and his hope for all of us as his daughters is to love ourselves and see ourselves the way he does.
"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." Proverbs 14:1
So let’s build ourselves up, not tear ourselves down!
There is no perfect size of lips or eyes or boobs or butt. Accept yourself. Accept the fact that our Father is absolutely in love with everything that you are and sees you as the most beautiful creature in every way shape and form. Love yourself. And realize, that you are beautiful. Try writing down the things you love about yourself. We are all shaped by the culture to criticize ourselves and one another but there is NOTHING wrong with loving yourself. There's no conceitedness in saying, "Hey, I am having a great hair day!”, or in accepting compliments with a simple thank you rather than pointing out another random “flaw” to even the score!
Do you know what defines a beautiful woman to the Lord? Read Proverbs 31! Choose to be a Proverbs 31 woman. "Beauty is fleeting." It says it RIGHT there smack in front of our faces! Outer beauty fades. So, be energetic. Be strong. Be a hard worker. Extend a helping hand. "She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks her words are wise. She gives instruction with kindness." (Proverbs 31:25-26). These are the virtues that are important, virtues from our heart. The more beautiful on the inside, the more beautiful you truly are.
So as I finish this post, can we all make a promise? A promise to ourselves and to each other as women. That we will STOP comparing ourselves to each other or to celebrities. Can we please promise to STOP judging ourselves and each other?
Can we promise that the next time we find ourselves scrolling through someone's Instagram page and feel our self-confidence dwindling that we will stop and we will hit the power button. Look in the mirror and realize that the image looking back at you was an image created by God, for God, and is a reflection of God himself! When you struggle PLEASE turn to Psalm 139...read it. Read the whole thing! Then read it again! You are fearfully and wonderfully made. How beautiful is that? What a love letter our Father has written to us within the pages of the bible.
My name is Caroline Stanley and I am a professional goalkeeper in the National Women’s Soccer League. I grew up in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. I played collegiately at the University of Missouri shortly before transferring to the University of Southern California. I was then picked up in the Discovery draft by the Seattle Reign FC in the NWSL. I started the next year for Sky Blue FC out of New Jersey and this last year I played down in Florida with the Orlando Pride! I am now in off-season and fill up most of my time traveling, coaching, and doing freelance writing and broadcasting! I am so excited to be involved with the FAM and look forward to getting to know all of y’all!