~~No one else looks like me and no one else gets to be me~~
This lovely phrase is one I posted a few weeks ago when I was really struggling to accept my body. The phrase came to mind today because I am, again, struggling to accept my body and feel grateful for everything with which The Lord has blessed me. So, tonight’s post is focusing on an attitude of gratitude.
Lately my eating disorder has been fighting hard to come up for air and regain control of my thoughts and actions. In an attempt to be as honest as possible I must admit I have allowed the eating disorder access to my happiness more than a few times in the last week. However, thanks to the support of my wonderful husband, great friends, and a VERY dedicated dietician, I am more on track today than I’ve been in weeks.
When I am listening to my eating disorder I not only forget to appreciate my body but I forget to appreciate everything else in life too. Once I let go of the appreciation for my body I begin to let go of appreciation for my family, my home, my faith, and everything in between. Therefore beginning a downward spiral into isolation, self-loathing, and defeat. Perhaps you have felt similarly when you are beating yourself up over your appearance or not doing something as “perfectly” as you would like.
The realization I was not channeling an attitude of gratitude hit me like a ton of bricks when I was looking at a photo of Princess Kate. Of course the Duchess of Cambridge looked perfectly poised and stunning after just giving birth to her daughter and it began the cycle of negativity for me. “You couldn’t look that good if you tried. She doesn’t even look like she had a baby and you still look pregnant.” At first I blindly accepted the eating disordered abuse and began to beat myself up over my post-baby body until I thought about how Princess Kate might feel. I don’t know about other mothers out there, but after I had Vivienne all I wanted were my yoga pants, a sports bra, and a comfy (but still cute) shirt. Perhaps that is all Princess Kate wants too but given her position she is expected to hold herself to a higher standard. Thus, my first aspect of gratitude! Thank goodness I can wear what I want without fear of being judged (internationally!) for my clothing choice. If I want to wear yoga pants, I am going to wear yoga pants and no one can stop me. No, my body doesn’t look like Princess Kate but I am also not Princess Kate. I am Lane. No one else looks like me and no one else gets to be me.
My body is unique. Everything from my body’s shape and size to the shade of blue in my eyes, is unique to me. I am beautiful. God made me beautiful, and you know what, He made you beautiful too. He didn’t make you beautiful like Princess Kate, Beyoncé, or anyone else; He made you beautiful like you. Embrace it. Acknowledge it. Believe it. But most of all, be grateful for it. Our world would be pretty boring if we all looked exactly alike or even if we all just had the same color hair. Diversity is what makes us beautiful. I am grateful for my friends of all sizes and ethnicities because they color the world beautiful.
Once I began to feel gratitude for my body and my beauty, my mood brightened and I began to feel gratitude for many more things. The day was wonderful, spent with my precious daughter and a good Army friend. As much as I despise mowing the lawn and weeding the flower beds, I am grateful for the home God has provided. Even listing my gratitude now, makes me smile to realize how truly blessed I am. The gratitude is enough to gloss over the rough water I have had with my eating disorder and build a bridge toward a stronger recovery.
I leave you tonight with another phrase I often use:
Life is not 100 percent and neither is recovery; it is a process and it is not perfect
Even if you aren’t in recovery, this phrase might be worth remembering when you aren’t feeling particularly grateful for where you are in life or how you think you look. I challenge you to remember life isn’t perfect but it is a beautiful process. Grab the attitude of gratitude and focus on the many blessings around you to build your own bridge over rough waters.
With Body Love,