2016: What if we choose confidence in who we already are, instead?

A year ago, I took a really deep breath and told you about my struggle with an eating disorder. Specifically, I talked about how this time of year—a time that is often full of reflection and goal-setting and resolutions and new diets and pressure to “reinvent” ourselves—can also be full of guilt and shame. It’s true for most of us, although it’s (I believe) even truer for women who struggle with body confidence and disordered eating.

We don’t like to talk about it. It’s way more fun and way more impressive to talk about the killer side hustle we’re planning or the promotion we’ve got our sights on. But for women who are hypersensitive already to their gym and eating habits (because even if they’re “recovered,” they’re still terrified of letting things get too far out of control), when the entire world starts to focus on eating better and working out more and weighing less, it can be a quick, downward spiral into a well of intense shame. Because all of the sudden we’ve convinced ourselves we’re not good enough. And even though we may do a good job of disguising it on the outside (thanks, social media), for someone who’s fighting a constant inner battle for self-confidence, that’s a very, very slippery slope.

When I was at my darkest, I clung to just a few words and verses that I taped to my bathroom mirror, and read to myself every morning. I still have some of those words taped on my mirror. Strong, beautiful, loved, adored, desired… Words I constantly repeat to myself when I’m battling that girl in the mirror or the number on the scale.

So instead of pointing out failures and resolutions I never kept, or telling you how I plan to change myself or my life this year (because chances are, you’re reading all that stuff and already feeling inadequate, like me), I thought I’d share some of the things REAL women—women you know and love—wish they told themselves while looking in the mirror every morning. Not things they wish to change about themselves, just simple reminders of truth and grace and love that often get lost in a whirlwind of promises to lose weight and make more money and, and, and.

Your life is a beautiful, imperfect, but perfect mess.

Believe in butterflies. If they can fly a thousand miles, think what you can do.

Don’t be afraid to laugh so hard today that your double chin shows.

Don’t apologize for being yourself today. Never apologize for being yourself. Own it!

The world needs more big ideas. The world needs YOUR big ideas.

Discover what the world needs that you believe in with all your heart. Do that.

Be intentional, be present. Just be. {James 1:22}

Cherish good people, including yourself.

Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

You are everything that you need to be today.

You are naturally beautiful, just like your momma. You don’t need makeup, a curling iron, or a straightener.

You overcame what you thought was the hardest year of your life, so you know that success and happiness is in your future. Things happen when you least expect it, so life can only get better.

Nobody is going to hold your hand and make sure you’re doing what makes you happy. Only you can decide that for yourself.

To do lists don’t define accomplishments. {Jonah 2:8}

You don’t have to know all the answers. In fact, it’s more fun when you don’t.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I’ve surrounded myself with confident, passionate, inspiring women (and men!). I have so many friends that I look up to because of how confident they are in themselves. How much they love their bodies and their curves and their intelligence and their drive and their sense of humor. For the first time ever, I met a guy this year who was confident enough to ask me point blank about my feelings for him. (If there are any guys reading—I hope there are!—this pretty much blew me away. I still look up to him so much and love this about him and who he is.)

I’ve always said that I look up to both of my sisters because of how confident they are in themselves. We’re all so different, and it’s hard as an older sister to admit there are things about your younger sisters you wish you were better at yourself, but that has pretty much always been true. For as long as I can remember. I admire their confidence more than almost anything. They’re not perfect (no one is), but they don’t care what anyone else thinks of them. They walk with a special air about them. They’re not afraid to fall on the floor laughing. The dance without any underwear on. Sing at the top of their lungs and convince you that they are meant to be on center stage. Because they believe in who they are and how beautiful and desired and talented they are. And always have.

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And so instead of focusing on what needs to be fixed this year, I’m taping one word to my mirror and making it my mantra.

CONFIDENCE.

Confidence in my body. Confidence in my career. Confidence in what I believe about myself. Confidence in what men think about me. Confidence in relationships and friendships. Confidence in dating. Remembering, however, in every thought and every decision and every new “goal” I set to be less expectant of myself and more expectant of God (thanks, HB). Trusting that He will fill me with all the confidence I need, and more. Hoping that He’ll make his voice clear when I start to believe lies about my body. Knowing that He’ll teach me to be confident in who He created me to be. Confident in the dreams and talents He laid the groundwork for.

What’s your word for 2016? (Write me an email or a letter, I want to know!) Whatever it is, know that there is nothing about you that needs to be changed. Approach the throne of God’s loving grace with all the confidence in the world this year, and He will change you. Open up your eyes, show you how beautiful and loved and appreciated and adored you are.

Wishing you so much love and confidence this year. You’re going to own it. Let’s be pen pals so you can tell me all about it. I love exchanging love letters more than anything else in the world.

XOXO

Meg

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