As I was mulling over what I wanted to share today, I heard a small portion of a sermon over the radio that was closely related to my thoughts. The topic was self image. In the few minutes that I heard, the pastor was speaking of three areas that determine how we perceive ourselves – our body image, our intellect (or minds), and how we relate to things emotionally. Somewhere in the middle of where those three things meet lies our own self image.
Many things influence our self image. According to the research this pastor cited, your family of origin is the first and greatest influence on it. Then comes friends and the people you look up to, and then media. As we go through different stages of life, one influencer may have more power than another, but ultimately, we come to view ourselves through the lens of the world around us.
The trouble with that is the image the world projects to us is a false one. Whether or not we’re successful is not determined by the number of zeros in our paycheck. We don’t have to be the smartest person in the room for our opinion to count. And a sculpted body is not what makes us worthy of love.
Facing ourselves in the mirror
Thankfully, we have a true mirror – the Bible – in which we can view ourselves. Bathing in its truth every day is the only way to have an accurate self image. While we don’t become numb to the influences around us, we can learn how to avoid holding ourselves to false standards. We don’t have to rely on the praise of other people in order to have self worth. Neither do we have to withdraw and give up because we can’t meet the impossible standards set by our culture.
I’ve wrestled with the idea of a positive self image as a teenager, a young woman, a wife, and now a mother. I have three little girls. I want to protect their hearts, minds, and bodies. I want them to always know that they’re precious. That they’re worthy because God made them worthy. I want my little girls to grow up with healthy hearts, healthy minds, and healthy bodies.
Since so much is caught by and not necessarily taught to kids, I believe that the way I treat my body will be the way they initially learn to treat theirs. I am not perfect at this; I take care of myself in some ways better than others, but my desire to be a good role model for my kids keeps me searching for that right balance.
But, you know what else? I do it for me too. I can’t project a healthy image onto my kids if I don’t own it for myself. I need to do it for me first. And I truly do want it. I want a long, abundant life. I want to feel good from the inside out for decades to come.
Carrying on… gracefully
There are so many ways I could go with this, but I really want to simplify it by narrowing it down to the way you carry yourself. The way you carry yourself says a lot about the way you care for yourself, and I personally believe that caring for yourself isn’t optional.
I’ve been a fitness enthusiast for a long time and I am passionate about eating nourishing food, but I recently had a mental shift in what it means to have a strong body. I used to think of good posture as a reward for exercising, not the foundation of every single movement you make during the day. When I discovered my diastasis and started healing my core through physical therapy, I felt like I really understood what my body needed for the first time.
Have you ever heard fitness gurus talk about the kinetic chain? Basically, it’s a term used to describe human movement with the implication that moving one part of the body affects other parts because each segment of the body is connected by joints. Proper body alignment allows your muscles to coordinate, giving you strength and eliminating pain. It can actually heal your body. How awesome!
Considering how much health and fitness content I devour, it’s surprising that it took me so long to discover this. That is why I’m sharing it with you. I want you to understand the importance of good posture, what it looks like and how you can start practicing it because, like I said, it is the foundation of every movement you make. It is a very simple and practical way to train your body to work for you and not against you. It may even improve or completely eliminate neck pain, back pain, and hip pain.
Since I’m still learning this myself, I thought I’d share a three-minute video of Dr. Sarah Duvall, the physical therapist who has been working with me, and let her do the explaining.
I’ve been working on this for close to a year now and, well, I’m still working on it. It is really hard to retrain your body. Still, I encourage you to try it out and stick with it. I have and I’ve seen a lot of healing in my body. It’s SO worth it!
Why not give it a try? You’ve got nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain.