For someone who has struggled in the past with feelings of inadequacy, extremely low self-esteem, the need to be perfect in order to be good enough, and struggling with food addictions, it’s sometimes hard to stop these feelings from returning.
I told a little of my story before in my post, When Food Consumes You, and I mentioned that I was always tiny until college. That was me as it was everyone in my family. However, looking at the history of those in my family, it seemed that once adulthood hit I would inevitably gain weight.
I remember when I gained so much in college, and I constantly heard comments from loved ones. They would say “You look like you need to jog around the block a few times,” and “Are you going to keep on until you look like your sister?” (Yeah that was a jab at both of us), or “How much weight are you planning on gaining?” Of course, these are just a few of the things I heard.
You see, many members of my family don’t have filters. They say whatever is on their minds regardless of how it might hurt the other person. I was the same way until my early 20s when it was brought to my attention what I was doing, and sometimes I still struggle with not saying the first thought that pops in my head.
I Can’t Win
For the first time in my life I am exercising and focusing on my health. Yes, I was very active in high school as a cheerleader, but I never was one to go out and “exercise.” I didn’t even step foot in a gym until college when I took a kinesiology class only because I had to.
Once I started really exercising, my metabolism went crazy again just like way back in the day. I ended up losing about 10lbs more than I had set my goal to be, and I’m doing everything I can to gain more. I’ve even been eating more junk food in the past few months than I’ve had in the entire year. Nothing is helping me gain, and I know I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been. If you’ve seen me in person you can see even my bones are tiny. My fingers are tiny. My little fingernails look like someone in elementary school. It’s the way God created me.
I visited family this weekend, and those same people who made the comments above had other things to say to me. One in particular I know was out of love, but that doesn’t make the words any easier. “You look anorexic,” and “You are too skinny. You look unhealthy.” “You look poor. You need to stop losing weight,” and my favorite, “How much weight are you going to lose?” That last one is interesting because it’s from the very same person who asked me several years back, “How much weight are you planning on gaining?” Keep in mind I’ve lost nothing in a year. I’ve actually gained a few.
If I’m living to please others, this is proof that I can’t win. I’m thankful I don’t struggle the way I used to, but boy is it hard when those are comments I hear first thing from my loved ones.
Today I find my identity in Christ. I don’t struggle with my self-esteem because I came to the understanding that I’m fearfully and wonderfully made by the only one who knows what beauty and perfection are. I’m living for an audience of one, so if someone doesn’t like me for who I am, there’s nothing I can do about it, and there’s no reason I should feel I have to do anything about it. I don’t struggle with food anymore. I don’t count calories or weigh myself. I don’t even own a scale. I do sometimes struggle with perfection, but that is something I continue to work on. I’m so imperfect, and I know I can’t make up for it by being perfect in other areas.
I’ve grown. I’m thankful, too, because this weekend could have easily sent me into an emotional downward spiral. I love who I am. I don’t understand why those I love most feel the need to point out what they think is wrong about me, and it’s by no means easy, but it’s something that I don’t need to spend my time dwelling on. This is the extent of me dwelling on it—writing this post. I’m speaking out for those of you who have gone through a similar situation.
How You CAN Win
Do NOT allow the words of others, harmless or otherwise, affect you in a way that is not healthy. You are beautiful and perfectly made. There’s a difference when someone knows that you are doing something unhealthy to yourself and someone who just feels the need to be critical. Discern which voice you’re hearing.
Most importantly, remember you are to live for an audience of one. If you try to live your life in a way that keeps everyone, you’ll quickly feel like you’re juggling your life unsuccessfully. That’s the easiest way to make yourself feel like a failure. Trying to please everyone is not possible, and you will fail. Don’t do that to yourself.
Related Post: Why I Get Fit