Years ago, I would never think of saying that statement out loud; “You gotta love the skin you’re in”. For most of my life, I had low self-esteem. So, how did I go from viewing my body-image as being overweight and never consistently comfortable in my own skin, to a person who is very happy ‘just being me’?
When you hear the saying “you are a product of your own environment” it is so true. I grew up with a mom who was overweight. I would hear arguments between my parents and they were usually about her weight. Growing up, and being a product of my own environment, I thought in order to have a happy marriage or relationship, you had to be thin; to be loved, you had to be a person who was a perfect size “0”. Crazy, I know. I didn’t even know I was thinking that way; I just acted on what I was conditioned to, based on the actions around me. I had a good childhood with lots of friends and family coming over. We always had music playing in our home, dancing, my sister and me performing with our hairbrushes as our microphones, etc. Who knows why certain things from our childhood stick with us. Just to be clear, I have never been overweight; maybe a bit chunky at times, but never overweight. However, what I would see in the mirror, was a fat girl. Wow, such a distorted view of myself.
I would weigh myself every day, twice a day. Who does that? Well, apparently my father did and I had no idea. My dad and I were talking one day about being healthy, exercising, etc., and somehow, we got on the subject of weight. My father’s words were “Teri, you’ll never have a weight issue because you have always been thin.” At the time, I thought that was such a compliment, especially coming from my dad. Little did he know just how wrong he was; I did have a weight issue. I found this out later in life, much later, when I went to counseling. The reason I went to counseling had nothing to do with weight, but it sure came out in one of my sessions. My counselor had me do an exercise where I would not weigh myself for a full week. The first day was such an eye-opening experience because I immediately felt like an addict who just had her drugs taken away from her; making me go cold-turkey. That week was a hard week for me, because I was sure that I gained at least five or more pounds. However, when I weighed in after that week, the number on the scale was exactly the same as it was a week prior. That number on the scale used to control my moods and how my day would be going. It was so eye-opening on how I used to view my body and myself. All the years I wasted worrying about the way I looked and the way I thought others perceived me. I had to recondition my way of thinking and the way I viewed myself. Doing this is not an easy undertaking; especially after years and years of thinking a certain way.
It’s unfortunate we live in a world where we are obsessed with our looks. It usually starts at home, so I pray it starts with you. You are never too old to learn something new, you are never too old to change (if you want to), and it is never too late to make a difference with yourself and others. Make that difference, it’s worth it!
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2