I’ve taken a pledge to love my body.
And it was my un-born daughter who was my spark of inspiration.
Halfway through picking a photo filter for a recent Instagram post, I stopped dead.
It was like someone had finally turned up the volume in my head on all of the negative self-talk I had been forcing my soul to listen to whenever the body hate started.
“Oh, look at how stupid my hair looks,” I said.
“Look at how fat my face has gotten! I look so puffy!” I complained.
“I look so… bad,” I thought dejectedly.
This stream of self-hate started as I looked at a picture of myself on Mother’s Day, taken at 31 weeks pregnant.
And well, it was a wake up call to how toxic social media, coupled with my own insecurities, can be.
A few days later I decided to share the picture.
But as I tried to find a filter that made my face look thinner, that stream of negativity returned. But one solitary thought cut off the gush of self-hate like a jerky turn of a faucet.
“What if your daughter heard you say these things about yourself?”
I suddenly felt sick.
For months, I have been thinking of how I wanted to raise this sweet, precious spirit growing inside of me. I have prayed every night for her body — that it would be healthy, strong, beautiful and perfect.
But more than I want her to have a “perfect” body — a perfection that is twisted, contorted and altered by the voices of our materialistic society — I want her to love herself. Especially her body.
And I have to be the one to teach her how. That means I have some changing to do.
If I could be bold enough; if I could be brave enough; if I could put aside my own inadequacies fueled by years of listening to the mendacious media, I could teach her this one, invaluable truth: You are enough.
If I could do this brave thing — learning to love my own body — then maybe, just maybe, my daughter will learn what I still am. That beauty can’t be measured.
Beauty is a lifelong cultivation of goodness.
Because if I don’t, if I’m not a good example of positive body image and healthy self-talk, she’ll surely turn to other resources.
And I know what she’ll find there.
Pinterest will teach her through sayings like “I want to know what it feels like when I DON’T give up,” plastered over visually appealing photos of women with chiseled abs.
Instagram will teach her that the more likes you get the more loved you are — and worth loving.
Facebook will teach her that being “hot” is more important that being kind.
She will learn the false idea that anything less than a photoshopped, flawless figure is the result of “giving up.”
She will learn that loving herself is the product of meeting a standard — one not set by herself, but by the merciless, unforgiving meter called society.
In short, she will learn lies.
And so it has to start with me.
I pledge to be kind to my body. I pledge to not hang my worth on the number I see on the scale. I pledge to work out not because I hate what I see in the mirror, but because I love it. I pledge to fuel my body well — no more cookies and peach candies for lunch.
And perhaps most importantly, I pledge to speak kindly about my body, turning off that stream of negativity for good.
So I challenge each of you to take the #pinterestpledge in your own home to cultivate an atmosphere of positive body image. Encourage your family, your friends, your roommates to speak kindly toward their bodies. Start by sharing an unfiltered, unphotoshopped photo of yourself on social media with the hashtag #pinterestpledge, declaring your own personal pledge to love yourself.
Because you and I? We are enough.