About a week ago I won an award in my industry. It was really exciting, especially since I didn’t expect to win it. It was my first night out since having the baby so I wanted to glam out whether I won or not. I had fun doing something different with my hair, popping on some false lashes and even trying a bold lip, something I usually would never dare to do. My confidence was back. It was such a nice change from the no makeup, yoga pants routine I had been partaking in for almost two months straight. It’s amazing how good dressing up for a night out can make you feel. So naturally when I won the award, I wanted a photo to document the night. How could I not? I looked great and felt great so there was no better reason than to show off since I rarely take the opportunity to.
A friend of mine took several shots with several different angles. Don’t you just love people who know exactly what to do when it comes to taking your photo? I decided not to review them and instead thank her and enjoy the night. She had taken enough that I would be able to find one I liked. When I got home and settled down for the night, I grabbed my phone and scrolled through the photos. I didn’t like a single one. It had nothing to do with what my friend had done, she couldn’t have taken better photos. It was me. In most of the photos I didn’t like the smile I was holding. I’ve become really aware of the face I hold in photos lately ever since a close friend of mine commented on the one I typically make when my picture is getting taken. Apparently it doesn’t come off the way I thought it did. Instead of portraying confidence, it’s reading as sultry. Not really what I’m going for. So, ever since her remark, I’ve been really trying not to make my go-to face. Well, habits are hard to break and most of the photos of me holding the award that night had this look. All except for one. One featured a larger smirk which seemed to feel a little warmer. So, I know you’re probably thinking I was happy to find that one, post it and that’s the end of the story, right? It’s never that simple is it?
The photo was at an angle I usually work so hard to hide. It was a straight forward shot of one of my arms. I’m ashamed to say it but I hate my arms. I know I’m all about body positivity but I have things I need to work on too. I’m only human. I’ve been self conscious of my arms since high school. At the time, I was fine with them until a really attractive, popular boy in school started making fun of how fat they were on a daily basis. It was soul crushing and always a very public affair. Ever since that started up, I’ve been very aware of the size of my arms. And of course, I’ve gained considerable weight since high school so I’ve only grown to obsess on them more. I usually try to hide them but when it comes to evening wear, most things don’t have sleeves. So here I am with one photo I’m okay with and I don’t want to post it because of my arm. It looks big. Real big. You guys, that’s totally silly isn’t it? When I really think about the fact that I won’t post a photo of me feeling confident with an award that I won because of my arm is just crazy. How many times have we let something so insignificant hold us back from celebrating? That’s why I’m posting the photo on this blog post for everyone to see. I’m putting a stop to it.
Now let’s go a little deeper. When reading over my insecurities just now, did you notice a pattern? There were two reasons I didn’t want to post the photos of me taken that night. One was because a friend pointed out I make a sultry face all the time in photos and the other was because a boy in high school said my arms were fat. Both of those insecurities didn’t come from my own thoughts about myself. They were other’s opinions that began to permeate and become a part of my personal criticisms. Now, some of these people’s opinions may be right, they may even be beneficial for me to take note of but it’s good to know the source of where they come from. How many opinions, thoughts and criticisms from things other people have said to us have become part of our insecurities? I don’t know about you but I’m already my own worst critic. I certainly don’t need help from anybody else. That’s why I’m going to start trying to determine the root of where the negative thoughts on my self-image come from. Are they truly things I’m unhappy with and would like to improve or are they opinions of others that don’t really matter?
On this road to finding contentment with my body, it’s important to not let anyone detour that journey. Where do your insecurities come from? Are they your own or someone else’s opinion?
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5