As you read through her story, ask yourself the following:
1. What false beliefs am I holding?
2. What and who needs to be released from my life?
3. Where do I find meaningfulness?
4. Who will support me on my new path?
I appreciate you sharing your knowledge and insight, not only from a clinical perspective, but from that of a beautiful woman in the midst of life. In response to your post about cellulite on the ankles, I said “every one of my lines, bumps and blemishes tells my life story—good and bad—they make up our beauty if ‘all’ is appreciated.” It has taken me a long time to come to this place of acceptance—one of my epiphanies coming as recently as three weeks ago. I have struggled with weight problems my entire life, and throughout this was my mother’s constant emphasis that I needed to be thin. Not thin to be healthy, but thin to be physically beautiful, like there is something wrong with you if you are not. This type of message still continues to be sent to young women and men through the media, and the parent or caregiver needs to be the first line of defense against this.
When my daughter gained quite a bit of weight in high school, I was concerned about her physical and emotional health—not her looks. She was not eating well and was becoming sedentary. I continued to encourage the development of her mind and involvement in extracurricular activities. I allowed her to try anything she wanted—music, sports, art—my only rule was that once she committed to the activity or team, she had to stick out the season.
Shortly after she moved away to college, my former husband packed a suitcase and left me for another woman. I was completely alone, lost and grossly overweight. This prompted my first realization that I could turn a negative into a positive, and I began taking control of my health—my physical health, my emotional health, and my spiritual health. Every single one of these was a vital component in my healing and growth. I lost 50 lbs. through diet and walking, found an excellent therapist, surrendered my troubles to Christ, and found a wonderful church home.
I was humbled to learn that I was highly regarded in my community, as I always felt I was in the shadow of my ex-husband. I learned who did not have my best interests at heart and I said goodbye to those “friends” and sought out more positive ones. I also found a mentor, a dear, sweet but firm woman, older and wiser than myself.
So back to the lines, bumps, blemishes and acceptance. When I lost all my weight, I lost the plumpness in my face, and the lines became so visible. I was also upset that no matter how hard I worked out I could not get parts of my body the way I wanted them. That old damaging program was still running somewhere in the back of my mind. Through my biblical studies I learned it was time to get back to being the woman God intended me to be. I must assume responsibility for myself and not be the product of what my mother, my father, or this world did or did not do to me or for me. Through my mentor I learned that I must guard my thoughts, that no one can make me feel bad about myself or make me have a bad day unless I give them permission to.
So equipped with all this new armor, I began to look for happiness within and to listen to the still small voice. I started to take stock of all of the good things about myself and developed a new found gratitude. While my stomach may never be as flat or my derriere as tight as I would like, I love my neck, my shoulders and my décolletage. I used to hate my height because I felt it was another thing that made me “big.” Now I feel blessed to have long strong legs that can carry me wherever I want to go. I am grateful that God has blessed me with a good heart, full of love and compassion. I love having a broad sense of humor and a hearty laugh. I appreciate it when someone compliments my warm smile, or tells me they like my energy and feel good when they are around me. I am deeply touched when someone says what a fine young woman my daughter is and what a good mother I am. And yes, I have even made my peace with those lines on my face. Each one represents the track of a tear or the deep trace of smile, and the wisdom gained from each one of those experiences. I have never felt more beautiful, or happier to be a woman in my life.
Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your story with us.
For relevant posts, please see Ankle Cellulite and Who is Fighting for Her Feminine. We would love to hear your thoughts. Please comment here or on the blog posts. If any of you would like to share your healing story, please e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org