In previous posts, you were introduced to my friend Karen. Through her story of her abuse and divorce, we saw inside her heart and mind. Today Karen shares with us some growth she has recently not just gone through, but acknowledged for and in herself. Karen is a beautiful person both inside and out, but what she talks about in her latest writing hits home not just for me ,but many others out there. Karen, thank you for sharing. I am so proud of your “steps!”
Today it is about insecurities. Are they something that we have because others have imposed them on us, or are we born with them?
I look at these two photos and I wonder, what is different between these two? Yes, that is me 34 years ago at 15, and last year at 49. That is one difference. The major difference is the body. I bring this up for two reasons. I remember thinking at 15 about everything that was “wrong” with me. I hated my smile, the way I leaned to one side whenever someone took my picture, didn’t like my hair, and believe it or not, I thought I was fat! 34 years later, I still battle the same insecurities. And they are just as ridiculous today as they were then!
Today, I began to think about them differently. The media has told us that we need to look a certain way to be acceptable. That isn’t fair. The difference between 15 year old me and now 50 year old me is simple…LIFE! At 15, I thought I knew everything. My parents were the dumbest people on the planet. Seriously, anytime they tried to tell me anything I would just roll my eyes and huff. 50 year old me is still learning, and I don’t even pretend to know half of what I thought I knew.
In the 34 years since the photo was taken, life has happened. I married, had 2 children, focused on what needed to be done to care for and raise my family, a car accident, a few surgeries, divorce, and stress. All of these things take a toll on the body. Yes, I know I am not the only person who has had any of these issues, I’m just trying to make a point. Sometimes people are treated differently just because of body size. I personally have experienced this. Ten years ago when I DECIDED and CHOSE to take the time to care about what I ate and exercised, I weighed much less than I do now. I was treated differently. By my employer, by people in my community, and even some friends. Men and women both felt they could comment on how I looked. While I enjoyed the praise and encouragement, I would often think to myself, I am still the same person on the inside as I was when I was heavier.
We need to look at people for what they have on the inside of them. What is the attitude of their heart? Are they kind, compassionate, giving, gracious, merciful? It is the character of a person we should be focusing on, not what magazines or media says we are to focus on. I know some people who are absolutely stunning on the outside, but their heart and attitude is ugly.
We are all a work in progress. Let’s begin to focus on what we can change on the inside of us, and worry less about our outward appearances. Love one another. Encourage one another. Be happy when someone you love has great things happening in their lives. Life is too short to judge others by their cover instead of their content.
Karen, Originally Published August 2014