Do these jeans make me look fat?
Recently, I was watching “What Not to Wear”….ok, recently means anytime I’m home and it’s on! Every time I watch that show I love it because it focuses not just on the outside of someone’s appearance, but how taking care of yourself can give you an inner confidence. I’m always amazed at how even the people who go in kicking and screaming are beaming in the end, ready to take on life. Something I think many people forget is that when you take 5 minutes for yourself, it’s not necessarily vanity. If you dress in a way that exudes professionalism and confidence, then you begin to feel confident and professional. When you feel that way internally, then you perform better as a parent, as a spouse, in jobs etc, and it becomes a circle of positivity. I watch that show and I constantly think “I hope my future career is one that allows me to impact lives daily in a positive way like that”.
Insecurity…almost every woman struggles with it. Often, it is easier to just give up and look frumpy or “comfortable” than it is to go through the hassle of finding clothes that fit. We make excuses about not finding the time in busy schedules to get a haircut that’s modern. But it’s important to find the right balance between taking enough time to feel confident so we can kick Insecurity out of our lives for good, and not going overboard so that we only think of ourselves and not of others anymore.
I have a constant love affair with insecurity. I go through many seasons of life where she pops her ugly head in. Sometimes I tell her to go away and sometimes we are best friends. It doesn’t matter so much where it comes from, as it does how we deal with it right? So how do we deal with it?
Let me address what I think are the two most common places Miss Insecurity likes to live, and then I will address what I think are some helpful guidelines to avoid having her stop by too often. While these are personal examples, I think these are the two main areas most women would struggle as well:
1) Physical appearance. In the past several years I’ve actually lost quite a bit of weight, and in the past 10 months I’ve started working out and running on a regular basis. I’ve changed my diet significantly and put more healthy foods inside me than ever before! You would think that I would feel awesome right?! Well no. Similar to singing, or any other ability, the better I get at something, the more picky I become. If it’s not perfect, it’s not good enough, and any ounce of fat is an imperfection. But that chocolate tastes so goooood…..! I know, constant dilemma.
2) Relationships. Aka Breeding ground for little insecurity babies. Now the fact that I’ve been cheated on before and am divorced notwithstanding, this is still a pretty normal occurrence for women. After the initial flurry of getting to know each other you begin to wonder silly thoughts like “does he still find me as attractive as when we met, is there anyone in his past that was better for him, does he compare me to ex-girlfriends” and the list continues with foolish thoughts. Insecurity is closely related to trust, but that is a whole separate article for later.
So regardless, of who you are or where your particular insecurities come from, how do we rid her from our lives?
1) A strong prayer life and reading scripture daily. I am not the best example of this, but when I am able to be consistent with it, my focus is on things higher than how my thighs look in these jeans.
2) Stop the self-focus. Moms. They really do know best don’t they? If I ever get down in the dumps for a long period of time, my Mom tells me. “Go do something for someone else!!!!” Most insecurity comes from internal selfishness. I have found that to be true in my life. When I start focusing on me, instead of those around me, then I’m in a constant struggle of wanting to be thinner, or more patient, or better at this or that. When I am focused on what I can do for others in my life however, then I am quite happy and it becomes a happy little thought cycle that leaves less and less time for empty or worthless worries.
As with most things in our human lives, this is not something that changes overnight, but I do see a consistent pattern of improvement when I “get outside of myself” and think about others.
If you just keep yourself busy busy and doing things for others all the time is this the perfect solution? Am I saying don’t work out or take care of yourself? No! But like I alluded to earlier, there is a balance between the two and everyone needs to find it in their own life. Remember, we are representing Christ in every way. That includes how we present ourselves to the world and even how we dress. If we have the ability to look nice and appropriate and attractive, then we should do that. If we have time to the gym then go! By all means – there are so many benefits to going to the gym than just tightening your muscles. If you are happy and confident, then you are more fully equipped to complete the work God has given you, and in turn, encourage those around you to do the same.