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Allison Althoff
Allison Althoff
Natalie Lederhouse
Natalie Lederhouse

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January 29, 2013

Breaking Free from Physical Expectations

A new mantra for women: break free from the one-size-fits-all mentality

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In a day when diversity is celebrated, the cultural prescription for beauty is a narrow, one-size-fits-all mentality. And that one size is a skinny size few women ever achieve.

We're repeatedly exposed to unrealistic cultural images that affect our thinking, so many of us give up and overeat, feeling we can't measure up no matter what we do.

[We compare ourselves] because we're uncertain of our identities. Comparisons are our attempt to feel better about ourselves and bolster our esteem. The real issue is, where do you find your esteem?

Take the self out of self-esteem and replace it with God-esteem and you have a different picture. If you try to love yourself apart from God, you'll fail. Esteem doesn't come from your appearance, your work, your family, or other people. You're highly esteemed simply because God created and chose you. God doesn't say, "If only she'd lose five pounds, I could love her more."

[Yet] “Just five more pounds” is most women's mantra.

Focusing on what we think we can control—eating and dieting—can be easier than dealing with issues we feel are out of our control. But working on the outside without addressing the inside doesn't work long term.

Too many of us allow the physical to distract us from the emotional, relational, and spiritual aspects of our lives. We can easily assess and correct our appearance in the mirror. But we tend to avoid working on invisible emotional pain because we fear we won't be able to resolve it. So we let our outer beauty cover up inner struggles.

You might change your hairstyle rather than work through a difficult parent relationship. Or you might diet to get a false sense of control over your life when your marriage is falling apart.

When we read God's Word, listen to his voice, and pray, he changes us. Altering the physical doesn't fix the internal. Only Jesus can set us free from our insecurities.

Adapted from TCW article “Breaking Free” by Dr. Linda Mintle.

Related Tags: Acceptance and Identity; Beauty; Body Image

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