After reading all these wonderful articles about beauty and learning to love yourself, I felt inspired to write down what I have learned about "being beautiful."
Society has turned the idea of beauty into something so shallow and superficial, something that can be only seen from the surface. The media rarely labels someone as beautiful for being strong, being kind, being selfless, healthy and inspirational. Even though these types of beauties in women are not always placed at the forefront of a magazine or a television show, these are the types of beauties that I have learned are eternal and are of the utmost importance.
Growing up I was never considered the "hot" one or the best looking one. I never really had real boyfriends and I never got asked to prom, or other events like that. I was tall and struggled badly with weight fluctuation. Try being 12 years old and 5 foot 7 1/2, maybe even 5 foot 8 and weighing 150 lbs. I hated myself. Junior high school I developed a habit of binge eating and then starving myself, and I dropped my 150lbs to 120lbs, but it would go just up and down as I would continue to binge then starve. I would stand in front of the mirror and punch myself in the stomach at night, because I hated my body and myself that much. It wasn't until high school I realized that I needed to stop treating myself this way, and learn to just love me for me. After I decided to focus on my inner beauty, I found myself much happier and threw myself into discovering my other talents, and even though the boys still weren't calling I realized that that didn't matter so much. I had come to know that I was smart, kind, a self starter and determined, many qualities I wanted to have to feel confident. I also discovered that staying active helped me feel better. I still struggled with weight but I knew it was making me feel better about me and my body.
This mentality stayed with me through my first year of marriage but unfortunately I had lost my fervor for exercise. Then after my first son was born, my confidence in beauty, my body and loving myself was shattered. It is amazing how much having a child can wear on your body. Not only did I have ugly stretch marks but I had a scar from my emergency c-section, and had so much leftover weight. I felt so unattractive from the very visible markings, and I also felt like a failure. I felt my body had failed my son. He was born 2 and 1/2 months premature and I felt responsible. I suffered from severe pre-eclampsia and came close to a stroke and my son had to be resuscitated at birth and spent the first two months of his life in the NICU. I hated my body for what it could not do for him, and every time I saw those scars I was reminded.
When he came home, he was in isolation and the only place we could take him in public was outside. So I joined an outdoor baby bootcamp. I begin to lose weight and feel healthy again, and I thought ' if I can keep this up, staying healthy then what happened to my first son will never happen again.' Unfortunately, my second son was also born via emergency C-section, not as early but still due to high blood pressure. This threw me into my hating my body cycle. I was angry and disappointed. Six months later, I decided to get into fitness again. This process was started up once again to try and make sure I could get healthier so I could have more children. Since that journey started my reasons to stay healthy have changed a little bit.I am now trying to stay healthy not only for myself, but for my two children I am blessed to have and raise. I still have a chronic problem with high blood pressure, and have been told I will for the rest of my life, and even though this has saddened me it has made me realize that while I was trying to fix what I thought was my body being weak and frail, was really just making the strength I had already been given from these experiences stronger. I couldn't " fix" my problem , but I am building strength with the body I have been given and strength, not only physical strength but the whole human condition is what is truly beautiful.
So even when you look in the mirror and what you see physically isn't quite what you are looking for, just remember that those bumps and bruises that made you stronger are what truly make each and everyone of us beautiful.