Body Shame

I know by now most of us have heard that our bodies are our temples, treat them with respect, love yourself unconditionally, your body is a vessel to life, be thankful as it has done so much for you, and so much more. You may have even told yourself these things and yet you still have a tinge of doubt. Maybe you have these thoughts and think “yeah, yeah I know but…”

If you genuinely believe all these things about yourself, have a wonderful relationship with your body and food without tying your worth to what you do, what you look like, or what you eat, then I am so thankful you have that freedom. For others, including myself, I am not there and probably won’t ever be.

Going through school, I have had an unhealthy healthy relationship with my body and food. To expand, I have the knowledge and even the graduate level training of what it is to be healthful, what a normal relationship with food looks like, and how to treat my body. Most of the time I am able to mirror it, but other times, I don’t believe anything I know to be true. The beliefs that are along the lines of “no matter my size, I am worthy” start to become harder to believe. You start to tell yourself that’s what you should believe, but yet you don’t. Then comes the guilt and shame. The guilt that you should love your body because it is functioning normally, and you were able to call your mom today (me). The shame that you don’t believe others when they call you beautiful and loved (me). The guilt and shame when you read the word of God, and He says you are loved, worthy, and beautiful, but still get a hint of disbelief (me me me).

Maybe you relate to some, all of it, or none of it. I am here to validate whatever you may feel about your body, and to tell you that even with years of experience and knowledge over health and wellness, I can still have feelings of guilt, shame and insecurity. I like to blame our species: the human-being. And, that’s why no matter how much I tell myself I am worthy, no matter what I look like, how I eat, who I hang out with, what I wear, and so on, I know I may always have doubt in my mind. But, that’s okay because I can tell you that your worth does not come from anything you can do because it was already decided before you were born. Spoiler: YOU ARE WORTHY NO MATTER WHAT because you were chosen by the one true God. You don’t have to believe it. That’s the fun part. And what I remind myself is that even if I don’t believe in my body’s worth, my body still has worth because God stamped his approval on it.

I like to read 1 Samuel 16:7 when I find myself full of body shame and guilt. It says “for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” You may read it and still feel the same way. And you’re probably like, “Jenna, how does this help?” And honestly it may not help you. Maybe you read it again and it does help or maybe it doesn’t. Maybe you read it next week and something from the verse creates a glimpse of peace. You never know because our feelings, emotions, and spirit are constantly changing perspectives. You may also start to have the same thought as before, “Yeah yeah yeah I know but…”

No matter what, you aren’t alone. Surrounding yourself in a community that understands that perfection is surely never attained and that we are all beings in progress is the best. I’m letting you know I am walking with you on the same earthly journey waiting for the day I can truly live in freedom (hint hint: not here).

xx Jenna

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