It is painful to see many girls shy away from following their dreams because of low esteem, stemming from unhealthy body image. These girls miss out on opportunities because they are not comfortable being seen or heard. They even go to lengths to avoid social interaction mistakenly thinking they are ugly and unappealing.
Some of the most good-looking girls, as per conventional beauty standards, have low self-esteem too. Yep! No one would imagine, but even some Victoria Secret Angels have body image issues. Research shows that the growth of social media has significantly influenced body image issues in women and girls. Phone apps come with a gazillion filters offering to erase your acne, give you glass-skin, a slim face and a perfect body. Heavily-edited images displayed through mainstream media result in unrealistic beauty standards.
Girls with a disrupted body image become their own worst critics. Such self-rejection can lead to depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, suicidal tendencies, etc. With a self-worth based on how we look, we can go into self-destruct mode and wreck our lives. If you have had any personal struggle with body image, our heart goes out to you. Be assured that your worth does not come from what you look like. Your purpose has eternal significance and is more important than reaching a goal weight or having clear skin!
As children of God, we are encouraged to not conform to the world's standards (Ro. 12:2), but to set our minds on things above (Colossians 3:2). They say humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. Let us apply this same mindset to our body image. Don't waste valuable time thinking, worrying, and planning to measure up to what the world wants you to be, while forgetting the plans and purposes God has laid out. It is one thing to stay healthy, work out, make an effort to look nice, and another to be obsessed to the point that looking like Kendal Jenner or Gigi Hadid takes over your life.
You are more than just your body. You are spirit, and soul too, with a mind blessed by God. Getting all spruced up with our eyebrows on fleek, and taking a lit profile picture is good! But also invest in learning a new skill, work on your personality, spend time developing genuine relationships and in knowing God. These will last you longer!
We are fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). God valued us so much that He sent His only son to die for us (John 3:16). Take time to reflect on these thoughts.
Can we work together to change the narrative of body image, so that together we can get rid of superficial and misplaced priorities in our culture and in our communities? Let us pledge to love ourselves and our bodies as it is, even as we understand we are a work in progress. Take the Body Positivity pledge,* print it out and put it up where you can see it everyday, share it with your friends too:
I pledge to limit or stop editing my pictures and use less filters on social media
I pledge to stop speaking negative words over my body and banish any bad body thoughts when they rise
I pledge to work towards creating healthy conversations around body image in my community
I pledge to pursue a healthy lifestyle and honor my body without making it into an obsession
I pledge to keep brands and companies accountable when they promote products that encourage unhealthy body image
*Pledge points inspired by ‘YMCA Be Real Body Image’ Pledge
And if you've been struggling with fitting in or any of these issues, and just want to talk, reach out to us HERE.