Regardless of what my weight has been or how long I took to get ready for the day, every time I walk past a mirror I notice the physical imperfections. I think to myself that I am so ugly and fat that nothing I do can improve that. Then, I sadly continue on with my day feeling slightly more depressed then I had before I passed the mirror. This last Valentines Day I decided that I am doing something different, I am going to fall in love with someone I have never been able to stand, myself.
The first thing I realized when it came to calling myself fat and ugly is that,
The definition of fat is:
The definition of ugly is:
I noticed that neither of these definitions gave an amount…It does not say that someone who is 6,000 lbs is fat or that someone with 2,587.3 zits on their face is considered ugly. Without an amount it makes the word purely objective! Thinking, “Oh, I am fat,” is the only thing that is going to make me that, because by definition I’m no fat until I say I am. I can be at a perfectly healthy weight and still look in the mirror and not like what I see. I remember once being the thinnest I had been in a long time and turning to my husband crying because I did not understand why I still hated myself. Being fat or ugly is not a state of being, that is why scales have numbers and not thin, fat, and oh my gosh! Fat and ugly are only definitions that I gave myself and very negative ones at that.
When I think negative thoughts about myself it drags me down. Negative body image can easily lead to eating disorders, depression, and makes it harder for me to feel the spirit. Notice those affect physical health, mental health, and spiritual health. Yeah, I just got a full strike in negative health bowling!
Changing my view of my body has been extremely difficult, every time I look in the mirror the first thing I see is some negative thing, then some other negative thing, and oh is that really what I look like from the side!? Yikes. Even when my husband tells me a hundred times a day that I am beautiful I just brush him off because what he thinks doesn’t matter. Everything rests on what I think and I have to change the “fat and ugly” view.
I read this really good article in the Ensign titled “The Body, a Sacred Gift” by Diane L. Spangler and it reminded me of three reasons why I should change my perception of myself. The first being that I chose in the premortal life to come to earth and receive a body because my Heavenly Father had one. Having a body is a Godlike attribute and without it I could not progress. Those in the premortal life that choose to not get a body are totally stuck and can never progress so they are super jealous of my body. When I get discouraged with what I see in the mirror I need to remember that it is a precious gift from a Father in Heaven who loves me and wanted me to have it. “The purpose of the body is to help us learn, progress, serve, and glorify the Giver of the gift: God. Too often, however, people mistakenly presume that the body is intended to glorify the self.”
Another thing to remember is that our bodies are sacred. We are asked not to make jokes, talk lightly or talk badly about things that are sacred. That is why we don’t casually talk about things in the temple or about intimacy. Our bodies are another sacred thing that we own and that is why we talk a lot about modesty but it goes further than just being modest. Talking bad about our body is just as bad about talking bad about other sacred things. Dude, that really hit me! It made me want to change how I think about my body!
The last thing I wanted to point out is nothing new but just as important, that our body is a temple. I love the temple and have loved being apart of the Provo City Center temple that is just around the corner from me! Each temple is different looking, no two temples are exactly alike and they are all beautiful to look at! But the purpose of the temple has nothing to do with what it looks like on the outside. It is about the sacred ordinances that happen on the inside. We are just like temples. We are all unique and beautiful and what is on the inside is what truly matters. Just like temples we need to “enable our temple-bodies to radiate the light, love, and truth of Christ.”
I know from experience that no amount of dye, makeup, or weight loss can make me feel better about myself for long periods of time but when I learn to see myself through God’s eyes I feel amazing. When I go to the temple one of my favorite things to do is to look at myself in the mirror because I only ever see myself as beautiful. The first step to a positive body image is accepting myself the way I am today which means cutting out all of the negative talk. Is it gonna be extremely hard? Heck yeah, but is it going to be worth it? Yes, I can fall in love with my body regardless of how hard it is going to be because through Christ I can accomplish anything.