“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Clements
Question 1: Do you believe in yourself? (Like really BELIEVE in yourself?)
Yep, I do. I believe I have power. So much power, that if I don’t purposefully use it for good, it automatically will have a negative effect on the world. It’s a scary thought. Think about the nay-sayers, the woe-is-me-ers (yep, it’s a new word), the doubters…and think about how much, when you are uncertain, these people have the power to control you. To bring you to their level.
When you are unsure, your mind can be crippled with fear. You are afraid of an answer you don’t want, and your mind subconsciously goes to whatever negative thought it is, and all of a sudden, one seemingly innocent comment of “we don’t need that dessert” becomes a hard blow to your low self-esteem and what you heard was “good lord, you have enough fat on those hips to live off of for a while.” Man, that’s all in your head, however one sentence from another catapulted it to become your reality. Make sense?
They(everyone else) apparently has the power to bash your self confidence. You have the power to hang on to that to a point that it rips you up inside. I’m not just talking about looks here, I’m talking about everything. I’m talking about the fact that whatever I believe will become my reality.
We’re women. What is the first thing we stop believing?
When was the last time you told yourself that? That old saying that “love is blind?” Sometimes we forget that we can decide to love ourselves every day…to carry over that “love is blind” mentality not just to our significant others, but to ourselves. Reverse roles. For all you mothers out there with stretchy skin that resembles something closer to jello than the majestic muscles that are just begging to break through the surface…right?
Imagine your beloved husband carrying the weight of each precious developing child – imagine his body being stretched out and sagging…all due to the strains of creating a child formed by your love. Would you look at him critically? When he tries his best but that six-pack is a little more like a one pack…what is most important? I know guys are the visual creatures, but I tell you, to negate your husband’s love for you just as you are can be a blow to him. And my thoughts are that you would kiss every spot on his imperfect body and tell him what you love most. I’m saying this all for me, as I’ve been running and running, trying to regain my twenty-year-old body that is fading into a thirty-year-old body, and cringing when I look in the mirror and those last few pounds seem to be glaring at me. I’m not getting in a bikini for a long time. But my husband loves me and all my imperfections. They may be my “war wounds” from childbearing, and I will continually work on it, but I have more important things to obsess over-like enjoying the moments when I am the object of my number one love’s desire-he’s looking at all that is ME, not the tiny bits of my imperfection. I can’t point out any imperfection in what I see in him, so why am I obsessing over him doing anything less for me?
Question 2: Why? (or Why not)
You see, I’m a mom now. The years in high school and college where I tested my “power” by controlling what I ate, being awful to my body, neglecting my heart and running to the opposite sex to give me validation…this is all in the past. Because now I have two beautiful girls looking at me. This is a biggie-my children. They are too young now to be swept up in the objectifying culture. I know no matter how I fight it, they’ll get hit with it at some point in their lives. But I’ll be damned if they are going to get a negative self image in our home! They are looking at me and watching me-they watch me get dressed, put on makeup, do my hair…they sense stress, frustration, and they want to mirror it. From the day my oldest followed me in the bathroom and asked to wear makeup, we started talking about what really makes people beautiful. On Easter Sunday we were in the car and she was playing with her pretend makeup she got as a birthday gift, and she was wiping it on her face. I asked her what she was doing and she said “washing it off.” I asked what makes her beautiful and she looked at me, smiled, and said “my heart.”
Your children are watching you and copying you-they are looking to you for what is important, and to see what confidence is. I want my girls to be proud of their bodies-to work to make themselves beautiful from the inside out-no matter how hard you push exercise, fix your makeup and hair and wear sexy clothes, what radiates most is what is beneath the surface-love and RESPECT for the child of God that you are and confidence that God embraces every imperfection in you so you can walk proud and honor your Creator…this is what I want my girls to see. Dressing up needs to be fun, not agonizing and a testament to my identity.
I used the focus of beauty for this…I could go off on a soapbox about smarts, about compassion, about significance…but I just so happened to have just recently gone off on a soapbox about this in a blog where a wonderful lady lamented over her ugly body and why she would never be what she used to be.
The quote above…where you limit your power, you hold back and you hesitate. You question your inadequacies and you are afraid every impact from the world is a tribute to how little you are. But you aren’t.
You are the first step in changing the world. If you don’t believe in you, how can anyone else? If you want to change the world, you have to start within. You must “be the change you wish to see in the world” (Ghandi). You have to have faith that you do have the power. You are significant. And one person has the power of the ripple effect to impact the world. And you are that one person.
“When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. Bu it too seemed immovable. As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me. But alas they would have none of it. And now as I lie on my deathbed I suddenly realized: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement I would have been able to better my country and, who knows, maybe even change the world.”
Inscribed words on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop (1100 A.D) in Westminster Abbey
(and if you do believe in yourself and also want to get something pretty and girly just to bask in your awesomeness, my friend Rachel has a kickin’ etsy shop called LoveIsRisingthat has great finds, including pre-ordering some fun new shirts – proceeds go to help them adopt!)