You can, and should, love your body as it is. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask it for more.
You can love how you look, and still want to look better (whatever that means to you).
You can love how fast you can run and still want to run faster.
You can love how strong you are and still want to be stronger.
You can tell God “thank you” for your body, and prove your gratitude by caring for it, therefore improving it, in one way or another. But don’t wait until you think you look better or until you can run faster or until you’re stronger to love your body.
The shame that results from not loving your body as it is is so crazy to me. And I don’t mean that I’ve never felt it. I mean that whenever I have felt that way, I feel like I’m Cady in that part of Mean Girls where she goes to the Halloween party dressed for, oh I don’t know, a Halloween party, and finds out she was supposed to dress like she’d just sprung from the pages of a Victoria’s Secret catalogue. When that shame hits, I feel like I don’t look how I’m supposed to look.
But that’s crazy right?! The idea that the way your body looks can make you feel that “I shouldn’t have worn/brought/said/done this” feeling. That embarrassment, self-doubt, insecurity. Whenever you feel that, remember, that’s God’s daughter you’re talking about. Show her some respect. Give her some grace. She is fearfully and wonderfully made.
Girl, you will be a work in progress your whole life. You can’t wait to be happy with yourself until you’re “done.” You’ll never be done. You need to love yourself now. As you are. And the changes that you make on yourself, inside and out, have to come from that place of love. If you try to shame yourself into changing something, it actually might motivate you (for all the wrong reasons), but here’s the thing. When you’ve made that change, you won’t be happy. You won’t be at peace. You won’t love yourself then if you don’t love yourself now.
When you do try to change yourself, whether it’s your thought patterns, or diet, or workout habits, do it because you love yourself enough to know you can do better. If your motivation comes from anywhere else, you’re not improving yourself.
You’re punishing yourself.
And if you know that God has forgiven you and isn’t going to punish you for lying or gossiping or mouthing off to your parents in your teenage years (sorry, Mom and Dad) or whatever else you might have done, then girl, why do you think you need to punish yourself for eating a dang cupcake?!
If you set yourself back on a goal, forgive yourself, and do better next time. Have reasonable expectations for yourself. This is my biggest struggle. But feeling guilty about a bad choice has only ever made me feel shame, and that’s not the right mindset for lasting change. Know yourself as God made you to be, and love yourself enough to be the best version of yourself possible.