I absolutely love summertime. Each year I dream of warmer temps and go through withdrawal when summer draws to a close. One thing I don’t love about summer is the clothing. Whether it’s tight tees or the dreaded swimsuit, I just prefer the layers that cooler temperatures allow. I feel more comfortable in more clothing, not less.
One thing people who know me may notice is that I say “making peace” a lot in regards too many different things. I’m sure I have even said it in previous articles I have written for this blog. The truth is, I like peace. I like to live a life bursting at the seams with a sense of peace. I believe that sometimes in life you have to surrender control and just accept what is. We only have control over ourselves and our decisions and our actions. So the term “making peace” can apply to many different situations in which we may have to surrender some control and just accept what is.
I also feel that this idea applies to our bodies. I don’t know about you, but I find myself more critical of my body during the summer months. Probably because I have to look at more of it more often, and I also may see other bodies I would sometimes prefer having scantily clad at the swimming pool. I wish I was more toned. I wish I was more tan. I wish I took better care of my skin as a teenager and didn’t have so many freckles. Don’t we all have a list full of things we wished were different about our bodies?
But the truth is, my body is amazing and I’m lucky to have it, flaws and all. It has endured pregnancy, birth, illness and injury and still (for the most part) does what I need it to do so I can function each day.
As a teenager, I hated my fair skin. I was always tanning and using products that gave me the illusion of bronze-ness. I don’t know why, but I felt better tan and I was sure that I looked better tan. One day, I was complaining about my fair skin to some girls at church. A leader of mine overheard us and piped in with her opinion and said, “Whitney, it’s a rare combination to have such dark features and fair skin, and I think it’s beautiful.” I thought her words were sweet at the time, but they didn’t really change my insecurities about my fairness. It wasn’t until more recently that I realized how much time I have wasted worrying about something so…well…stupid. If my fair skin is good enough for the God that created me then it is good enough for me. And now that I’m older, I would rather protect my skin so it will age well, instead of seeking the sun and looking older sooner. I have “made peace” with this insecurity and grown to appreciate what I have been given and actually learned to love it.
I think we need to do this with all the things on our lists of insecurities about our bodies. Seriously, make a list of all the things you don’t like about your body. Take some time to look in the mirror and really observe your body. Sounds exciting, right? Then, make a list of all the amazing things your body has done and can do and the things you do like about it. Once we acknowledge these positive things, it will be easier to look past the things we think are negative. There is a thing called “objectification” which means that we look at something as an object and we don’t see it for what it really is. How often do we do this to our bodies and the bodies of others? Instead of looking at ourselves and seeing a beautiful, powerful, capable body, we objectify it and only see all the physical flaws we don’t like.
There is nothing wrong with having healthy goals to lose weight, or change our bodies in some way. But if we haven’t made peace with what we already have, we may never be happy with our bodies no matter what changes we make. Because it will never be good enough, and we will always be seeking something more. Our bodies are not perfect, and it’s amazing to me how incredibly different we are all designed. Bodies are not what make us valuable or even make us truly beautiful. That stuff comes from the inside, as Miss.America as that may sound, it’s the absolute truth.
So next time you are feeling insecure about getting in that swimsuit and taking a dip in the pool, take a deep breath, put your favorite suit on and get out there. Remember? You have made peace with your perceived flaws, and no one else will notice them anyway.
Whitney graduated from the University of Utah in
Health and Promotion.
Learn more about Whitney HERE.