It all started a couple of weeks ago. A petty disagreement turned into a heated discussion, which I then took a step further by the statement, “I’m sorry I’m not as pretty as I was when we got married.”
The thing is I truly believed that. Maybe that’s why his next statement hurt so much.
“You’re not the girl I married. The girl I married was so confident in who she was that she already KNEW she was beautiful. I think you’re the most beautiful girl in the world, but you’ll never believe that til you believe that about yourself.”
My husband said this to me in love, but selfishly all I could think was that he didn’t think I was the same person. The thing is, I wasn’t, and that is what hurt the most. Knowing that I had unknowingly lost myself in marriage and my own self-doubt was the worst feeling in the entire world. That, and the fact that I had dragged my husband into defining my self worth and beauty.
When we met I knew that I was lost in disordered eating, but I also knew that I was beautiful. I knew I could walk into a room and OWN it if I felt like it. I knew that and I believed it, which is not a common quality among a lot of 20 year old girls. As time went on though and I started to settle into our relationship, little changes started to happen. I started to gain a little weight (which was actually a good thing for me at the time). I wasn’t able to work out 2-3 hours everyday anymore. And I was stuck in jobs that I hated with no sense of what I actually loved to do.
Nate became a sort of safe haven for me, one where I felt secure and loved and like everything was right in the world. And y’all? That’s a GOOD thing for a marriage to be, but that can’t be EVERYTHING a marriage or a partner is to you. I can say this because that’s exactly what I did…I made Nate my everything.
If he was in a bad mood, I was in a bad mood.
If he was having fun, I was having fun.
If he was fawning over me and telling me I was beautiful, then I was beautiful.
And the times that he wasn’t…well, I think you get the picture.
The problem is that no matter how much I love my husband, he is only human and he will fail me. I am only human and I will fail him. The problem was in me thinking that I needed him to define who I am rather than letting myself and God’s grace in my life do that. Kind of a hard job for a human, right?
Over the next 30 (well, 26 now) days, Tina is hosting 30 Days of Self Love and Reflections. It’s a daily devotional of sorts of learning how to love ourselves, one day at a time, one subject at a time. Amazing, right?!
Yesterday’s post was about Intrinsic Beauty, which is clearly something that spoke volumes to me. She asks us to define beauty…is it found in a teeny tiny waist? Full lips? Long blond hair? What is beautiful?
Beauty is the ability to love yourself as you are. To KNOW that you can own a room when you walk in. To be able to laugh and smile when your face is old and wrinkled and you have no teeth…because life is worth laughing and smiling about. I can honestly say that I wasted 14 years of my life with disordered eating and defining myself by how others treated me. I’ll be turning 27 this month (ancient, I know), and I’m not going down that road anymore. Not to be morbid, but we’re never promised tomorrow, and I’m not wasting one more second of this precious life worrying about a number on a scale, if I am wearing mascara or not, or letting someone else (even my husband) be the defining factor of whether or not I’m beautiful!
Tina’s incredible willingness to begin this project ironically coincided with my own launch of Faces of Beauty, a blogsite wholly dedicated to women posting pictures of themselves and shamelessly announcing to the world that they are beautiful. The women on Faces of Beauty are already changing lives and making a difference in the world with each word they say. I would encourage you to join them by reading through Tina’s post on Intrinsic Beauty, and then submitting your own Faces of Beauty photo and paragraph. You can find instructions on that here, or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I know this is dramatic, but there’s no reason in the world why anyone should ever feel less than perfectly beautiful just as they are. My hope and prayer today is that YOU would know this about yourself and that your life would be infinitely better because of it!