A piece of cake changed the way I view myself.
And I should probably preface this by stating the purpose of this post is not about body image, but rather, self image in general.
I feel that as women there is this constant pressure to be better. My husband once asked me if I ever checked out other guys and my answer was no. However, the truth is that when I am out in public, I am usually checking out other women.
And before that comes off weird, stop and think about it for a minute. I guarantee that as a human, you have insecurities, and you look to others as an example of what you should be. That goes for both men and women.
I am constantly sizing myself up in comparison to other women I see. Trying to find ways in which I am inferior. Trying to measure my worth by what they bring to the table that I do not.
I put those other women on a pedal stool as an example of what I should be. I try and make their strengths my own strengths. I try to imitate what they are doing even though that was never meant to be my purpose. And the more I try to take upon myself the strengths of others, the weaker my own strengths become. I am dimming my light rather than fueling it.
And this comparison only enhances if that other person shares similar talents and strengths as my own. I instantly feel worthless, as if what I am bring to the table is pointless. I convince myself that they are doing it better so why even bother trying.
I don’t know how to get my head out of this mindset. Why is it so easy to believe your existence is based upon what you achieve on the outside and not the person you are on the inside?
There are some days I wish so badly I could get out of my own head. That just for once I could see myself how others see me.
But that is the sad thing. You can never truly know how others see you or what impact you have in the lives of those around you.
That is why it is so important to understand your worth. To know that no matter what you do, what you do achieve or what you don’t achieve, you have infinite worth. No one can ever take that away from you. You are deserving of “glorious opportunities” as Arielle Estoria would say. And you belong to a God who loves you more deeply than you can comprehend.
Now back to the cake. As I sat at the front desk of the nursing home, charting from a morning with patients, a family member of one of the residents brought in cake and sat it right in front of me. I could feel that rich, chocolate Bundt cake staring me down and taunting me. As an intern, I felt I didn’t deserve a piece of cake. Surely there were plenty of other employees there who were more deserving.
Despite the fact I put so much of myself into that internship, I was quick to put myself down for even thinking I deserved a simple slice of cake.
To be honest, it was almost scary how quick I was to criticize myself. And as I sat there, I began to think about how often do I do this same thing in different aspects of my life. A pretty deep question to stem from a circular dessert, I know. But truly, how often do I tell myself I am undeserving? Why do I feel this innate voice telling me I am not enough? How do I get rid of this voice?
I am still working on finding the answers to all these questions. As I have said countless times before, improving self-image is a personal journey. It is a journey that must begin with you understanding you were born with worth that nothing in this world can diminish. You are meant to do wonderful things. You were meant to meet and find beauty in all those around you. You are deserving of all the opportunities in front of you and all the blessings around you.
It is easier said than done, though. Words are always easier than action. And doing something one time is easier than making a routine of it. But know this, you have the strength within you to overcome your own demons. So anytime you feel yourself slipping down the rabbit hole of self-criticism, try to stop and take three deep breaths. Then repeat to yourself: “I love who I am and who I am becoming.” Love who you are now and realize you are not stagnant, you are blossoming into who you want to be.