Many, many years ago I wanted to be a therapist for women. I wanted to help women who had experienced trauma begin to heal, reconnect with their bodies, and rebuild their lives. Trauma changes you in big ways and my dream was to help women who felt their lives had been shattered begin to connect with beauty in the world again.
Well, my journey shifted and I didn’t become a therapist, but I think in a lot of ways, the work I do in this world is still about helping women change their lives and connect with their beauty.
Sometimes in my spare time, I’ll watch inspirational videos about women and self-esteem. I’ve been following Dove’s campaign for real beauty for a few years, but when I saw their video about girls the other day, this chilled me to my core. The video is titled “Why Do 6 out of 10 Girls Stop Doing What They Love?” (you can watch it here). Can you guess what the answer is? It’s because they feel bad about how they look.
6 out of 10 girls will stop doing activities that they love because they feel bad about how they look. How messed up is that?!
But the truth is, many of us still do this every day. How many of us as adult women still don’t ask for that promotion, take singing lessons, rock that little black dress, travel overseas, ask someone on a date, or go to a dance class because we feel bad about the way we look…?
This suffering has to end now.
I hear it all the time from friends, my health coaching clients, and conversations between strangers on the bus. Many of us put our lives on hold because we’re waiting to lose those last ten or twenty or thirty pounds. Because once we lose that weight, then, then it will be okay to pursue those dreams.
We’re waiting for that magical number to show up on the scale. That magical number that will finally tell us that we are good enough, worthy enough, pretty enough, and finally deserving of happiness.
Ladies (and gentlemen), the reality is this: the body you have now will be the body you have forever. It may look different on the outside or feel different on the inside, but you only get one body. Be grateful for everything it does for you.
I know what it’s like to feel disconnected from your body and hate the way you look in the mirror. I spent most of my life up until my mid-twenties hating my body and feeling trapped because of what my body looked like. But, you know what changed that for me? It wasn’t losing weight; it was learning to love myself, truly love myself, from the inside out.
The reality is this: if you don’t love yourself, losing weight won’t change that.
My hope is to inspire you and change this reality for the next generation of young women. If you feel stuck, lost, or trapped in body jail… know that you are enough, just as you are, and you are strong and beautiful enough to start pursuing your dreams — today. Don’t ever let your weight hold you back from living your life.
Weight is just a number.
I guarantee you that in the last moments of our lives, we won’t be worried about what dress size we wore or the size of our thighs… we’ll be remembering how good it felt to frolic on the beach, to fall in love, and to be surrounded by those who love us.
It won’t matter what you ate or didn’t eat… but what will matter is what you did or didn’t do because you were waiting for the perfect moment (or perfect body) that never came.
You are enough, just as you are, regardless of what the scale tells you, the BMI chart says, or how Gap jeans fit you.
You are enough, just as you are, regardless of how many juice cleanses you’ve failed or marathons you never ran.
You are enough, just as you are, regardless of how many times your heart has been broken and re-broken and mended.
You are enough, just as you are, regardless of whether your hair is curly, straight, short, long, or nonexistent.
You are enough, just as you are, because of who you are. Your beauty is radiant.
You are enough, just as you are, because you are a child of this world, the same as anyone else, and you deserve true happiness and love.
You are enough, just as you are, because when you smile you light up this world. Your smile is what makes you beautiful. Not the number on the scale.
If this message touches you, I hope that you can share it with other women in your life.
Together, we can change this idea that our lives and our worth is based on what we look like… because it simply isn’t true.
And, in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you! What makes you feel strong and beautiful? What inspires you to pursue your dreams?