As I was rereading Megan’s Story, it got me thinking…thinking about a lot of things, but especially about my girls! I was contemplating about how many, if not most, girls and woman feel, or have felt, the same feelings and pressures that Megan expressed. It made me want to shout from the roof tops and share her story with everyone I possibly could because I want every girl and woman to know how amazing they are! Starting with my four at home, and spreading it across the world!
As I sat nursing my baby at a fall corn maze/carnival, a lady walked by. She caught my eye. She was a pretty lady, I’m sure, but to be honest, I didn’t even notice that. She caught my attention for another reason, her appearance seemed to be her focus and top priority. The other people in her party waited for her as she got herself situated just right, which was not a quick process. It was so sad to watch her, I felt for her. I thought about the pressures put on woman. Sometimes the pressure is subtle and sometimes it’s screaming in our faces, but it seems to always be there. To me it’s just an uphill battle.
What are we trying to live up to? And who is setting these “ideals” that we are trying to live up to? It baffles me that celebrities and Hollywood have such a say. Most of their lives are falling apart, most of them are out of touch with reality, most of them are narcissistic, most of them are miserable and unhappy, yet we try to be like them. Why?
I’ve always had an internal struggle with Barbies. I don’t like what they represent. I like that kids can imagine and play house with them, but I don’t like the underlining message of Barbie. It seems like before little girls can even walk and talk, they are bombarded by princess and Barbie and all the things the world perceives as the ideal “pretty”. Don’t get me wrong, I think these things are great at times, but it is everywhere! Being “pretty” becomes too important at too young of an age. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had Barbies of character, and not just fashion? Don’t we want our girls to learn character, more than we want them to be beauty queens? Good character brings happiness for themselves and others, fashion does not! Beauty does not! I have never met a miserable person who lives a life of purpose, character, and charity. I have seen many miserable people who are gorgeous, but feel empty and unhappy. We are or will become, what we spend our time doing.
Wouldn’t it be great if Barbie’s were made to portray reality? It really would be a lot more fun! Real life Barbies that were different shapes and sizes, had different hobbies and interests! And why not??? That is real life and that’s what makes life so great! We are all so different and that’s a good thing! There is such a variety of shapes and sizes, yet there is ONE unrealistic physical ideal that many base their self-esteem on. It doesn’t make sense! Shaquille O’ Neal will NEVER be able to shop in the “Petite” section! (And I hope he hasn’t tried:-)) We may never be a size whatever and that’s ok! If we base our self-esteem on these unrealistic ideals, we will never be truly happy and content. Heaven help us if this world was filled with a bunch of Barbies and celebrities! The thought is frightening and funny at the same time! Instead of trying to meet all the unrealistic ideals, wouldn’t it be great to really get to know ourselves and be content with being the best us, inside and out? Variety is the spice of life!
It’s destructive to think that Barbies, celebrities, and models, are the ideal pretty. They’re not! Barbie has a body that would not even be possible in real life because of her proportions, celebrities ruin their lives trying to be something they’re not, and models have to be so skinny now that even Cindy Crawford couldn’t be a runway model. That is not realistic! So why do sometimes even grown woman feel like they need to live up to this ideal to be pretty? I think one of the reasons is because this “ideal” of pretty is spoon fed to us when we are babies, cut up into pieces (small and subtle) when we are toddlers, and then shoved in our face, as if we were trying to drink from a fire hydrant, when we are adolescents and adults. It’s everywhere! It’s impossible to avoid, but we can combat it!
It starts with the woman and moms! What do we believe? What is most important to us? Is it our looks? Is it our bodies? We can tell our girls until we’re blue in the face, that it’s not what’s on the outside that matters, but what’s on the inside, BUT are they going to believe it if our actions and dress say something different? Where are we looking for self-esteem? Where do we find purpose and happiness?
A motto I often share with my girls is “Look Your Best, But Don’t Obsess!” With one child I focus more on the, “Look your best” part, where with my other child I focus on the, “don’t obsess” part.:-) It is important to be healthy. It’s important to look nice and to take care of ourselves. We feel better about ourselves when we take care of ourselves, but as soon as our looks and body size become our main focus and source for self-esteem, we will be miserable. There is always going to be someone “prettier” (by the worlds standards), and that’s ok! And it becomes ok when we start looking beyond the mirror and beyond ourselves, and blessing others with our unique gifts and talents (and yes everyone has them!!!)
We aren’t here to think about ourselves and consume all our our time and means to look the prettiest and have the most. Jesus was our perfect example! We are here to serve those around us, love those that don’t feel loved, help those in need of help, mourn with those that mourn, forgive those that have offended. We are to turn outward and upward, instead of inward! We know this, but because of the world we live in, it’s easy to quickly forget!
Every person I know that is content and happy to their core, has learned this principle. It is human nature to be selfish and turn inward, and the world is constantly feeding us the gimmick of ME ME ME! I will be happy if…. I need…. I want…. This concept is nothing but an empty bowl, and we will eventually be starving for attention if we focus on these things. We will be looking for attention and acceptance from the wrong people and in the wrong places and we will always feel hungry and needy. We will never be content. We will never be happy.
We don’t need to be Barbie’s or celebrities to make an impression, we just need to be brave. We need to be the real and ordinary us! Everyone is different, and everyone can make a difference! The key is not what we look like, but what we act like. Instead of looking in the mirror, let’s look out the window, as Jesus did. I promise, that is when we will feel content, that is when we will be happy to our core! And when we have trials and struggles, we will be not be starving, we will be full, and will be able to combat and overcome whatever is in our path.
So girls, don’t forget…you are beautiful just how you are and when you aren’t feeling beautiful, look out your window, and serve someone else. That’s when you’ll be truly happy to your core!
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