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I am Pretty! I am Beautiful!

We are constantly bombarded about the way we should look and dress. Many people feel so much pressure about these things that they decide to take drastic measures in order to fit in. It is amazing at what people are willing to do, such as starving themselves, getting plastic surgery, changing the things that they like in order to fit in with other people… I’ve even fallen into this trap of trying to fit in.

When I was a freshman in high school I decided that I wanted to tryout for the High School Soccer Team. I had always been a little chubbier (is that a word?) and a little slower than the other girls and I knew it. One day at practice my coach told me that if I could lose some weight I would become faster and better. Well, in a teenage girl’s mind that means lose weight immediately, so instead of doing it the right way, I fell into the world of anorexia. It wasn’t so extreme that you could see my bones or that I had to be sent to rehab or something. My mind took control over my body and it was a whirlwind. I never wanted to eat anything and if I did I felt so guilty that it wasn’t enjoyable at all. I felt like after eating a meal I had to go exercise immediately or else I would gain weight. I started to see the pounds slip away, but my light and personality started to slip away as well. My dad approached me one day and said, “I miss the sparkle in your eyes, my Jess isn’t in there.”

I wanted to stop! I knew I needed to stop! But I couldn’t! Your mind is a very powerful thing. Your body can be beyond the point of exhaustion, but your mind can take over and tell you to go for a run and before you know it, you have completed a 5 mile run, but before that you couldn’t even walk up the stairs without feeling exhausted.

After I graduated high school I still struggled with this problem. It consumed my life. I couldn’t seem to get out the iron grip of this addiction. It wasn’t until I met and married my husband that I started to change and improve. He made me feel beautiful, of worth, and special. He would always (and still continues) to tell me every day how beautiful and capable I am. He loves me because of me and the way that I am. For a few years now I have tried very hard to love myself and it has changed my life.

If we start to love ourselves, everything seems to fall into place. If we don’t find something good about ourselves everyday then we will focus on the negative, not the positive. If there are negative things in our world then it is very hard to find the good.

I hated my life while I struggled with this problem, I do not want my kids to ever have to deal with this. In order to help them I make them get up in front of the mirror every morning (after they have gotten all dressed, hair combed) and tell themselves “I am pretty! I am beautiful!” If they say it with a frown, I make them say it until they smile at themselves. We always hear that repetition is good for us. If my kids repeat this enough to themselves then hopefully one day they will truly believe that every single day.

Love yourself! Find those little things every single day that you truly love about yourself and if there isn’t anything that you love then look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that “You are pretty!! You are beautiful!” until you can smile at yourself. We are all beautiful the way that we are! God made us this way for a reason! Love yourself so that you can love others around you!