At the beginning of the year, I made all these plans to work on personal progress, self-improvement, and things of that nature. For most of my life, I have struggled with self-esteem issues. My mother just about always gave me negative commentary about my physical appearance growing up. I was never thin enough, my boobs were not big enough, my nose was too flat, my butt was too big, and my hips were too wide. When I see pictures of myself from childhood to young adulthood, and there are not very many because I was extremely self-conscious, I am always startled by how beautiful I was. I was not fat at all, not even a little bit. I was not skinny, but I was an athlete with a strong body. I weighed more than my classmates did, but I was physically fit, lean.
After three pregnancies, my body has changed considerably. Within the last three years now, I have gained a lot of weight. This started probably about halfway through my pregnancy with Matt. After I gave birth, I felt like a blob of fat, and I looked that way, too. Matt will be two years old in less than two months, and though I have lost some of the weight, I am nowhere near where I would like to be. During my struggle to being okay with what I look like, I have really pondered about how to accept my body. I have questioned, at what point will I be happy with my appearance? At what weight will I be comfortable in my own body? Will I never be happy with myself if my dress size is not a size 10? Am I going to go through life always wishing that some part of my body, or my appearance were different?
In my effort to boost my own self-esteem, I have been working really hard on accepting me, myself, as in my personality. Instead of reminding myself of the mistakes I have made, I tell myself I have done a good job getting through my trials. I give myself a pat on the back for pulling myself up from those low times I have experienced throughout the last three years. Instead of telling myself I am a bad person, something I used to do frequently, I remind myself of the many good and decent qualities I possess. By doing these things, I have experienced change in myself, just within the last few weeks. When I look in the mirror, I do not see my imperfect body; I see a strong woman who has courage, who makes sacrifices for her children, who makes other people smile. I see myself as someone who put the broken pieces back together to create a very unique and beautiful masterpiece that embodies strength and inner beauty because, that masterpiece that I am, symbolizes the determination and strength to face life’s challenges, learn from my mistakes, and smile every day.
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