Body Acceptance, Recovery

Choose Beautiful

“I just wish more young women realized it.”
Realized what?

Perhaps you have seen the Dove campaign ad that exploded over social media several weeks ago where women could choose to walk through a door labeled “average” or one labeled “beautiful.”  In case you haven’t, I encourage you to take four minutes to watch it before continuing with this blog post.

Tear-jerking and thought-provoking were the two things that came to my mind after watching that video.  As I tried to keep the tears that welled in my eyes from actually falling, I didn’t even have to put much thought into what door I would choose 90 percent of the time: average.  Immediately after hearing myself say I could only walk through the average door, I was saddened and decided to challenge that thought.  WHY do I believe I am only eligible for the average door?  Why couldn’t I walk through the beautiful door?  What makes me worthy of one and unworthy of another?

The long and short of my answer comes from the core of my eating disordered brain that constantly tells me I am unworthy of many things: food, friendship, love…the list is a mile long.  It is something I am working through but this, something as simple and as difficult as choosing a door, is a thought I can examine and explore quickly on my own.  My mind raced to what makes me unworthy of the “beautiful” door.  I’m overweight, I have cellulite, my thighs touch (gasp!), I have big lips, big ears, saggy “mom” breasts, and a saggy “mom” belly.  The list could go on, but you get the idea.  According to the eating disordered part of my brain, there is nothing about me that is beautiful.  Not.  One.  Thing.  Every part of me could be altered, manipulated, flattened, toned, and tucked to make me beautiful; a victim of unrealistic societal standards.

Once I got the negative list out-of-the-way I could turn my thoughts to a more realistic and positive point of view: what about myself do I consider to be beautiful?  As always, my go-to answer would be my big, blue eyes and my blonde hair.  Usually my list stops there.  I have to search deep within myself to come up with any other physical features I consider to be beautiful.  But what if I examine beauty beyond the physical?  What if my true beauty comes from something far beyond what people can physically see?  In that case, I still struggle at times but it is much easier to uncover what defines my beauty.  I volunteer, I try to engage in random acts of kindness often, I try to be kind and patient with others, I’m encouraging, giving, friendly, and I’m a mother.  While this list is also not extensive, it gives a glimpse into what can be beautiful beyond the physical.  Given those aspects of beauty, the seen vs. the unseen, I would choose to walk through the beautiful door.  I am every bit as beautiful as anyone else.  I was created in God’s image, uniquely designed by Him for a specific purpose and a greater plan that is part of His beautiful world.

Often my biggest motivator in recovery is that I want to be able to show my daughter beauty is more than how she looks.   Beauty is more than a certain (often unattainable) standard set forth by society. While I believe it is important to feel beautiful physically, it is also important to realize our beauty is so much more than our physical attributes.  Our beauty is in our character and our actions, not just our appearance.

So, what about you?  Which door would you choose?
Let me help you:

With Body Love,

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