Self-Love, Revisited

It all started a couple of weeks ago.  A petty disagreement turned into a heated discussion, which I then took a step further by the statement, “I’m sorry I’m not as pretty as I was when we got married.”

The thing is I truly believed that.  Maybe that’s why his next statement hurt so much.

“You’re not the girl I married.  The girl I married was so confident in who she was that she already KNEW she was beautiful.  I think you’re the most beautiful girl in the world, but you’ll never believe that til you believe that about yourself.”

My husband said this to me in love, but selfishly all I could think was that he didn’t think I was the same person.  The thing is, I wasn’t, and that is what hurt the most.  Knowing that I had unknowingly lost myself in marriage and my own self-doubt was the worst feeling in the entire world.  That, and the fact that I had dragged my husband into defining my self worth and beauty.

When we met I knew that I was lost in disordered eating, but I also knew that I was beautiful.  I knew I could walk into a room and OWN it if I felt like it.  I knew that and I believed it, which is not a common quality among a lot of 20 year old girls.  As time went on though and I started to settle into our relationship, little changes started to happen.  I started to gain a little weight (which was actually a good thing for me at the time).  I wasn’t able to work out 2-3 hours everyday anymore.  And I was stuck in jobs that I hated with no sense of what I actually loved to do.

Nate became a sort of safe haven for me, one where I felt secure and loved and like everything was right in the world.  And y’all?  That’s a GOOD thing for a marriage to be, but that can’t be EVERYTHING a marriage or a partner is to you.  I can say this because that’s exactly what I did…I made Nate my everything.

If he was in a bad mood, I was in a bad mood.

If he was having fun, I was having fun.

If he was fawning over me and telling me I was beautiful, then I was beautiful.

And the times that he wasn’t…well, I think you get the picture.

The problem is that no matter how much I love my husband, he is only human and he will fail me.  I am only human and I will fail him.  The problem was in me thinking that I needed him to define who I am rather than letting myself and God’s grace in my life do that.  Kind of a hard job for a human, right?

So let me ask you:  how do YOU define beauty…is it found in a teeny tiny waist?  Full lips?  Long blond hair?  What is beautiful?

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Beauty is the ability to love yourself as you are.  To KNOW that you can own a room when you walk in.  To be able to laugh and smile when your face is old and wrinkled and you have no teeth…because life is worth laughing and smiling about.  I can honestly say that I wasted 14 years of my life with disordered eating and defining myself by how others treated me.  I’ll be turning 27 this month (ancient, I know), and I’m not going down that road anymore.  Not to be morbid, but we’re never promised tomorrow, and I’m not wasting one more second of this precious life worrying about a number on a scale, if I am wearing mascara or not, or letting someone else (even my husband) be the defining factor of whether or not I’m beautiful!

Faces of Beauty is a blogsite wholly dedicated to women posting pictures of themselves and shamelessly announcing to the world that they are beautiful.  The women on Faces of Beauty are already changing lives and making a difference in the world with each word they say.  I would encourage you to join them by taking some time to reflect on your own intrinsic beauty and then submitting your own Faces of Beauty photo and paragraph.  You can find instructions on that here, or feel free to email me at heathersdish@gmail.com.

I know this is dramatic, but there’s no reason in the world why anyone should ever feel less than perfectly beautiful just as they are.  My hope and prayer today is that YOU would know this about yourself and that your life would be infinitely better because of it!

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12 thoughts on “Self-Love, Revisited

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  6. I’ve been MIA for a few weeks over the holidays and I have missed so much!

    You are an amazing person, Heather. Thank you for sharing this powerful message…I needed this today!

  7. how did i miss this? what a good post. i actually had a very similar conversation w/ ryan a few months before i started my blog – the whole “it doesn’t matter how beautiful i think you are… YOU have to believe it about yourself.” he was so right. he could tell me that he thought i was pretty until the cows came home, but unless you love yourself inside, it won’t matter. self love is very, very hard!

  8. Like peanutbutterfingers; how did I miss this?? Heather, thank you so much for sharing.

    Now, if I may overshare a bit; last year I was in a deep funk (at least as bad as yours), and it was mostly due to the exact same thing you´re describing. This summer I´m marrying the man who´s my north, south, east, west, sun, moon and stars, but balancing that with love for myself was hard and I got lost just the way you did. (Also, in the past, when I´ve felt good about myself it´s been for the wrong reasons, so there´s been ups and downs all the way throughout mylife.)

    My favorite comparison when it comes to inner peace and self-love is when you´re on an airplane, and they show you what to do if the cabin pressure drops. Put the oxygen mask on YOURSELF first before helping others.

    I´ll take your words to heart. And even though hubs-to-be is somewhat my everything, I also have to be my own treasure, and treat myself the way I deserve (and not by purchasing makeup from Maybelline).

    So from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

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