Every morning, I wake up, go to the bathroom, and weigh myself- it’s never good. Then I look in the mirror and stretch the skin on my cheeks and around my eyes, wishing the wrinkles would go away. I dab at the puffiness under my eyes, and pull at the grey hairs poking up on my head. I suck in my tummy, which does nothing at all, because you can’t suck in stretch marks from 4 babies. I turn to the side and try to lift all the areas that are sagging- it’s impossible. All the diets, exercises, creams, makeup, and dyes in the world don’t seem to make a difference. It doesn’t matter anyway, because every morning, I look in the mirror and I lie to myself. Every. Single. Day. I tell myself that what I see in the mirror matters. I am convinced that my reflection has something to do with my value as a human being. You will never measure up, I tell myself. You are not enough.
I haven’t done anything besides wake up and walk into the bathroom. But already I feel down on myself. Already I’m fighting an uphill battle. Every day there is a world fighting against me, and every day I prepare myself to lose. If I were a gambling woman, I would bet against myself, because I don’t think I have what it takes. I don’t think I have enough in me to make it. And it’s all because of the lie I tell myself when I look in the mirror.
Your worth depends on your looks, I tell myself. And that is a lie.
Why am I doing this to myself day after day? Why am I basing my value as a person on the way I look? It’s because I see successful women on TV who are primped and polished without a bump or a roll or a dimple of fat anywhere to be seen. I see bloggers showing me what kind of clothes and makeup I need to wear, and how I need to wear it. I see celebrities who look just as young as they did 20 years ago, and I think that all of this is how I should be.
What a bunch of lies! Are these the kind of women I want to look up to? Is that the person I want to aspire to become? I don’t even really like these women or what they portray. But for some reason, I want to be like them! And that’s a lie too.
In truth, I don’t look up to those women at all. I look up to women like my mom, who raised 7 kids and did it with more happiness and joy than I could ever muster in myself. I look up to the woman down the street who always has sugar cookies and a smile to offer the neighbor kids whenever they stop by. I look up to my grandmother, who lost her husband at a young age, but never let that stop her from dreaming and reaching her goals. I look up to women in my church who will drop anything to help a friend in need, who prepare meals for people they don’t know and sew blankets for refugees in need. I look up to the teachers working day after day to teach my kids to read and write. These are the most beautiful women I know. The most beautiful women I’ve ever known have been these women, who have lost themselves in the service of others. I want to be that kind of a woman.
These women have wrinkles caused by years of struggles, they have puffy eyes from staying up with sick kids all night, they have grey hairs because they’ve worried for years about a struggling friend, they have a few extra pounds because instead of going the gym, they baked cookies to cheer someone up. THESE are the women I look up to. In the eyes of the world, they are just average women. They haven’t been primped and primed, and they aren’t anything glamorous or showy. They are REAL, genuine women who have lived good lives, and THEY are the women I wish to become. I want to be this kind of a woman because they have made a difference in the lives of those around them. They have made a difference in my life.
So I’ve decided enough is enough. I’m done looking in the mirror and feeling inferior. I am going to stop telling myself that I need to be like the women of the world. I’m done telling myself that I’m not good enough, that I don’t measure up. I won’t lie to myself every morning, and I refuse to believe that the way I look makes any difference in the person I can be.
I’ll throw out the scale, because weight doesn’t matter- health matters. Yes, I’ll still try to look presentable and clean, But now when I look in the mirror, I’m going to tell myself TRUTHS instead of lies. I’ll look in the mirror and appreciating the fact that I’m aging. Yes, I’m getting grey hairs, wrinkles, and age spots. Yes, I’m sagging and dimpling, and losing the glow of youth. But I’m gaining SO much more than I’m losing. With every day I’m improving myself so that I can help spread the love of God to others around me. I want to be a strong woman who believes she is worth something to someone else, because she has shown that. True worth doesn’t lie in the way we look, but rather in the way we live.
Thank you for reading this article. If you liked it, you might like some of these other articles I’ve written: