lucky number thirteen...
a recent study shows that the average woman in america has 13 negative thoughts about her body each and every day. that is almost 1 negative thought for every waking hour. the study showed some women have hundreds of negative thoughts about her body each day, and even girls as young as 3 or 4 having negative thoughts about their own body at least once a day. the study found that overweight and skinny girls, black and white girls, rich and poor, old and young, all the women had the same thoughts, not one race or age or body type was more likely to have more or less negative thoughts this study was done solely on the thoughts towards the body; only the negative thoughts about your outward physical appearance. this study did not ask about the negative thoughts about your heart, mind, soul, productivity, talents, or actions.
13. that number seemed astronomical to me when i first heard it. and then i thought about it. when i wake up and i can feel my stomach has come uncovered from the t shirt i so carefully chose to cover it while slept, i think something negative. brushing my teeth i notice my teeth are not as white as they used to be, negative thought. then as i get into the shower, i accidentally take a backward glance in the mirror. at least one negative thought, more likely 3 or 4. trying to find what to wear, moving over the clothes that i know will not hide my still pregnant looking tummy... negative thought. in the car i wonder if i look like a huge fat giant in my tiny little compact car, negative thought. as i sit in my office chair wondering if the boy i am training sitting behind me can tell that my hair is falling out... negative thought. and i have hit 7 by the time i hit my chair at work each day.
i would say i have a pretty healthy body image. sure, i hate that i am overweight. and if my skin had that natural glow, i am sure i would be happier. but generally... i like myself. i think i have big beautiful brown eyes. i always liked my wrists and they way my hands moved. an above average bra size, and a waist line that actually nips in smaller than my bust and hips is what some women desire. in the right outfit, i can sometimes look hot. and with my hair and make-up done, sometimes i forget that i am overweight. i have always had people in my life telling me i was beautiful. people who made sure i knew i was special, and i was talented, and that i was exactly who God intended me to be. and i believed them. but those icky nasty negative thoughts still make their way in.
those negative thoughts are easy for any woman to think, and clearly are thought by every woman at any time throughout their lives. the reasons for this could be many. i believe the first reason is that we are human. it is somehow in our nature to think this way about ourselves. if we did not think of ourselves in a negative light, there would be no reason for a savior. if we thought we were perfect, we would not think we needed Christ. the pressures of this world are great, and the physical pressures on women is greater than they should be. our constant connection to social media and visual media has put us in the constant shadow of plastic airbrushed women who can barely take a breathe. when that is what you see every time you turn your head, you are bound to compare yourself to that; and that woman, for most of the population, will never be obtainable. these negative thoughts are appearing in the minds of girls younger and younger with every year, and with every advance in social and visual media. the second reason has actually nothing to do with the physical demands of society at all; but our own demands on other aspects of our lives, that we take out on our physical being. When we look in the mirror, all we can see is the outer shell that houses all our inner parts. our thoughts and our accomplishments, our failures and our ideals, our actions and reactions, our work ethic, our feelings, our beliefs, our emotions about everything from our job to our family to politics to faith. we can not see these things when we look in the mirror. so when something is going wrong in any area of our life, instead of placing the negative thoughts where they belong, instead of dealing with the negative thoughts where they originate, we blame it on what we can see. we blame it on our physical self. we blame it on our bodies. we place all those negative thoughts where we can see them.
we should not judge ourselves by others standards. we should not allow any type of media to sway the way we think and feel about ourselves. and if we feel ourselves being swayed by it... then we need to take a stand and back away from the outlets that make us feel that way about ourselves, no matter the cost. and we need to stop blaming our body for the bad day we had at work, or the stress in our family. before the thought it thought, or as the thought is manifesting in our mind... stop and think. think, what just happened that is making me think negatively about myself? it is most likely that the trigger for that thought was not anything related to your actual physical being. in identifying what is triggering these thoughts, we can essentially kill the thought at the root, freeing ourselves from the negative thoughts that plague our womanly existence.
and i believe that the only true way to curb these emotions, these feelings, these thoughts, this negative poison; is to redefine how we identify ourselves. we are not a hair color, a body figure, and a shapely leg; we are a child of God. if we looked at ourselves with his eyes, yes we would see sin and room for change, but we would see beauty. we would see a being created in His image. we would see light, and promise, and faith. if we could identify ourselves with Christ instead of with our eye shape, or dress size, or job, or hobbies, we could stop all those negative thoughts before they even began. all that matters, is that I am a Child of God. I have been chosen. I have been spoken for. not the sound of my voice, or the movement of my body, not my job, not my hobbies, not my ability, not my weaknesses, not my friendships, not my cooking, not my ability to keep a clean house, not my writing, not my winning or my losing; nothing can change what i am. I am a child of God. I have been created to live in Him, and Him in me. I am loved. I am beautiful. I am me. I am am a me, that is just as He made me. every freckle, every wrinkle, every look we can make, was in His design. every talent, every fault, every thread holding me together, was in His design for me. I am beautiful, because I am loved. I am beautiful, because I was created. I am beautiful, because I am chosen. i am not a dress size, i am not a talent, i am not a pretty face, or a success or a failure. I am a child of God.
and tomorrow... 13 times i will tell myself this. 13 times each and every day i will remind myself, that i am not a body... i am not a thought... I am a Child of God. and 13 times tomorrow, 13 times each and every day, i will remind a girl, a woman, a mother, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a grandmother, a daughter, a niece, a child, a friend, a stranger... that you are not a body... you are not a thought... You are a Child of God.