Last month when I was in Redding I was perusing facebook and came across this article on "bikini bridges". My first thoughts were ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?!?!?
If you're wondering what a bikini bridge is, it's having a gap between your bikini bottoms and your body when you're lying down. The bottoms are supposed to just cling to your hip bones and not touch any part of your pelvic area creating a bridge…aka people are wanting a skinny pelvic area? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME!!??? Back when I was a teen the goal was having a flat stomach with maybe a line down the middle. Now it's about thigh gaps and bikini bridges. And the thing about bikini bridges that makes me so LIVID is, they are only attainable by starving yourself. You can't just lift some weights for a few months and see results. You have to starve yourself. How is this even a trend?
To be honest, I wanted to find the person who coined the term bikini bridge and give them a real good shake…but then it occurred to me that what they really need is a big hug.
A hug that says you are loved, you are valuable, you are beautiful.
Now I'm going to get a bit real talk up on my corner of the internet…I have faced off with my body for far too many years. Growing up, I was blessed to have a dad who told me I was beautiful and I believed it to be true until I was 11. Some guys called me fat and from there on, that's what I viewed myself as. There were other negative voices too, I just would rather not get into them.
For years and years I was cruel to my body. I spoke harsh, awful words over myself. No matter how hard I tried, I could never be that warped version of beautiful that I so longed to be. For years I was able to hide this self loathing, this unhealthy obsession very well....until I got married.
After our first year of marriage, James began confronting me about the way I spoke about my body. He started calling me out on the way I was viewing myself and he began speaking truth instead of lies. Although, I knew he loved me and I knew he thought I was beautiful, it still took time for me to shake those nasty shame-filled thoughts.
Slowly but surely I started taking ownership of my mind. Last May I went to She Loves Conference and at the end of the conference we were given a gift. The gift was this beautiful book called She. (If you are a woman, you need this book. If you are guy, you need to go to that link and purchase this book immediately for a woman in your life. Your momma needs this, your wife needs this, your sister needs this!)
I opened it up when I got home and started to soak in the truth-filled words. As I read the statements, my eyes started welling up with tears. I so needed those words. In that moment, I asked God to transform my thinking and He asked me to start speaking truth over myself. So I did.
I made the decision that I was going to refuse to speak negatively about my body. That's right, I decided I wasn't ever going to speak a harsh or negative word about my body.
I started to counter act every lie that came at me with a truth from God and you know what? My whole mindset started shifting. I looked in the mirror and I was actually happy with what I saw. I actually started praising God for what I saw in the mirror. I started to love my body, the way I was created. My mindset on exercising even started to change! Instead of running to be skinny, I ran to be healthy. If I had a crummy day and ate a lot of sweets, I would plan to eat healthy the next day.
I refused to let shame be my motivation. And to this day, I'm still refusing. P.S. shame is THE WORST motivator.
My motivation is love. Because I love myself and love my creator, I will love my body and inspire others to love theirs too.
Even though, it's gotten easier, I still have days when I want to let that comfy blanket of self loathing wrap its arms around me. I still have days where I'm tempted to get mad at that girl in the mirror.
But I refuse. As new lies try to creep in, I bring out the old weapons, those old truths with so much power. I refuse to conform to what the media says I should be. Instead I'll believe...
I am loved. I am valued. I am beautiful.
So friends, can we just vow to not even consider thigh gaps and bikini bridges?
Can we stop giving our bodies a beating and instead be kind, patient and loving with ourselves?
This Summer, I challenge you:
...to wear that two piece proudly...no matter what shape you are.
...to look in the mirror and smile at what you see.
...to stop using shame as your motivation.
...to kick self loathing to the curb.
And to know with all your heart that you are so loved, you are so valued, you are so beautiful.