Thursday, January 24, 2013

Do You Feel Pretty? {Sit Down and Join Me}

This may sound like a silly question but... 
...In general, do you feel pretty?
{Yes, this is my lovely 3rd grade yearbook photo. 
It's amazing what contacts and hair dye can do.}

Would I be WAY out in left field to say that, too often, women feel UN-pretty?
And that a "Pretty When" Syndrome exists? {We'll call it PWS, mmm-kay?}

"I'll be pretty when I lose 25 pounds."
"I'll be pretty when I have better teeth."
"I'll be pretty when I kick this bad habit."

The list continues.

I know that God didn't intend it to be this way. After all, we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), and we were created in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26).
So why? 

Why do we constantly beat ourselves up...identify our every ourselves to others and {usually} come up short?

I suppose aging has a lot to do with it. As our bodies change over time, we develop new beauty nightmares dilemmas that leave us puzzled, mystified and even disgruntled. ;)

Don't even get me started on how your body is different after having kids. There are stretch marks that render a road map. There are wider hips, hormonal changes, and differences in your breasts if you've nursed over the course of time. (I didn't for a few specific reasons. Hats off to you breast-feeding warriors!)

With kids comes the lack of sleep. {I'm dozing off just typing this.} It's medically proven that sleep is vital to one's overall health, and a lack thereof contributes to weight-gain and depression. {It's hard to feel cute when you catch yourself half asleep and shame spiraling in the McDonald's drive-thru. No?}

As I skillfully apply my Mary Kay eye cream each night (and every morning??), I wonder if Joey notices I'm not so young anymore.
{Here I am at 25, pre-kiddos and apparently auditioning to be a news anchor??}

As I get ready for the day, I wonder what my kids think of their mama.
{Here I am in 2011 at 36 weeks with Sutton.}

As I open the pantry, I wonder if I'll ever stop craving Doritoes long enough to get into my old fabulous jeans. (What? Am I the ONLY one holding on to those jeans? You know the ones I'm talking about.)

And what if I don't? 

Listen, if you think this post is about vanity, then you've missed my point. 

The point is, pretty isn't a's a FEELING.

Sometimes we achieve that feeling by pampering ourselves, by getting attention from our man, by buying cute clothes... But, when we feel we've come up short, the results are typically unhealthy {i.e. emotional eating, compulsive shopping, distancing ourselves in relationships}. 

It's an awful thing to dwell on our flaws.

So...I want to say this:

We've got to be kinder to ourselves, ladies. 
We've got to be more accepting of the flaws of other women, too.
Most importantly, we've got to focus more on our inner beauty and the strengths we demonstrate within.

I may not have the most fit arms, but I'm thankful my arms are strong enough to lift my precious children. 

I may not have the thickest eyelashes, but I have eyes to see the beauty in my life. 

I may not be one of those girls who can run out of the house and look good without makeup, but I am  thankful I am worth running to. 

Love always, 

P.S. I should add that I didn't write this for lack of confidence, rather to promote the understanding that we're ALL pretty in our own way.


Karen A said...

Great post! That childhood pic of you looks SO much like my little sister when she was a kid. It's unbelievable. I would've never guessed you were a redhead. Thanks for letting me know that I'm a "no-reply" blogger. I'm trying to figure it out. :)

- Karen

Daphne Bryson said...

Good Morning Meredith, You are right, as women we really do need to be kinder to ourselves. I see your photo and you have nothing to worry about as you are an attractive young woman. Photos taken when we were at school are photos that most of us are not happy with, and it is due to the fashion of the time!
I was talking to my mother about age, and she said, "Where I am sitting at the moment at the age of 82, your young 60 years of age is looking very attractive I know which age I would rather be."
So enjoy the moment, enjoy who you are.
Thank you for letting me know I am a "no reply" blogger. I don't understand this, as I have checked my settings are they are set at public. I will have to investigate further.
Take care,
Best Wishes

Irfan Butt said...

can we follow each other.

Diana Chastain said...

Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your blog over at Thumping Thursdays Blog Hop. I really needed your story this morning. I am on a weightloss journey and I havd come to realize, pretty truly is a feeling and my hips are bigger since I had a kiddo. My breasts (although I breastfed for over a year, are only different since I lost weight. Breastfeeding actually doesn't change your boobs. Thanks again for linking up!

Diana @ Nanny2Mommy

Wendy said...

Oh girl!!! Lol- First, you are gorgeous!!! Second, I can relate to all of it -the part about Doritos and jeans, I live it everyday.... And aging -ugh-. I look back at photos of myself in my 20's (and 30's even) at a size 5 with no wrinkles (or jowls) and end up feeling really depressed.

I guess it comes down to trying our best to take care of ourselves and tweaking our attitude (which is easier said than done especially when we are pms-ing).

I loved this post! :)

Rea T said...

this an awesome post meredith :) after kids we are NEVER the same again! we are PRETTIER! it is not always how we look outside - it is how we ARE as a human being...


EmmaK said...

Popping over from Thumping Thursdays. What wonderful thoughts!! We have to be nicer to ourselves and to other women too. My hubby doesn't seem to notice my lines and all that so that's one good thing!

Stephanie said...

Beautiful post and I loved the honesty :) Thank you for taking the time to write these words.

I found you through Thumping Thursdays Blog Hop and I am now following your blog. I look forward to future visits.

Have a lovely weekend!


Karen Mary Butterfly said...

Awwww, Meredith, this is wonderful! So well written and such a good point/post. We can be so hard on ourselves. I have my down days, but I think overall confidence, in who I am, does help a lot. I know that when I do feel pretty and worthy I am so much more attractive. Thanks for the reminder. I loved this!

Michell Pulliam said...

Hi Meredith! Thanks so much for dropping by and following...following you back! I can so relate to this post. As a pastor's wife(starting when I was 28 with three small kids)I was overwhelmed with trying to fit in with all the other pastor's wives...let's just say it was futile, lol! Anyway, with the help of the Holy Spirit I learned to accept who I was in Christ. I don't know what it is about turning 40, but five years ago when I did, let's just say a metamorphosis took place in my life. All the things that I hated about myself, I learned to love and now life is absolutely amazing. I think it all starts with what I like to call...doing YOU WELL! When you do that, there's no one who can outshine or out do you at being you! Thanks for sharing...have a blessed weekend!

Michell @Prowess and Pearls

Kendra Pahukoa said...

hey meredith, i found you and am following through he aloha friday blog hop.
i love your school pic, i dug up a family photo of me when i was maybe 7 years old, oh my, i am still laughing. yes, contact and hair dye and beautiful gifts in life!
the 25 year old pic of you looks so much like a friend of mine in seattle-i had to look 3 times!
hope you come by and visit and have a wonderful week-end!

ChatterBlossom said...

Well said! I agree, being kinder to ourselves is good. And realistic. We look at others and don't see all their flaws. We see "them". As people. Great post! ;-)

Leslie Germain said...

Hello. Love the title of your blog and the post. Isn't it amazing how life changes us! Following you from Thumping Thursdays. Would love for you to check out my site and follow back (especially if you are a scrapbook or card creator).

Leslie Germain said...

Thanks Meredith for your kind comments and following back. Looking forward to reading your blog and sharing mine with you!

Ugochi said...

Great post Meredith. We are fearfully and wonderfully made in the nature of the finest creator ever. We only need to stay conscious of it. Thanks a lot for reminding us all that pretty is not a look but a feeling from knowing whose we are...

Mom In The USA said...

Hi Meredith,
I think you are absolutely beautiful! You made me laugh at the Doritos and jeans. I actually did a post about my favorite potato chips - Cape Cod. Here's a character flaw that I embrace: A.D.D. I have the clinical kind and I always joke that I don't have the attention span for stuff like. I think about them and then the thought gets interrupted with something else. Funny but true. If we loved ourselves as much as we loved chocolate and chips, this post would never exist.

Thank you for linking up with us at the Thumping Thursdays Blog Hop and for the mention in your post.


must love junk said...

LOVE this!! Such an inspiring post. (And you're gorgeous inside and out :)

Tami Michel said...

Thank you so much for this. Yes, I am guilty of all of the above mentioned as I CHERISH my Mary Kay eye cream and concealer! It's so refreshing to have reminders like these now and then!
Have a great weekend.
Tami @ Curb Alert!

Sandy said...

Meredith sorry but I had to laugh
at myself when I saw your school
photo... could have been me! Today my hair is straight and blond, the glasses gone. My looks have evolved
into someone new...
Thanks so much for your visit to my
blog and your kind words.
OKC, nice! My kids just moved there
from Guam with the CG and I flew there
just 4 months ago to visit with my
three grandboys....They will all be moving on in a few months to who knows where but they do love living
in that very family friendly town.

ShaunaQ said...

Doritos are so evil! And so delicious!

I love this post. I think it's the getting old part, seeing things change, I'm in constant comparison. I'm a huge, "I'll be pretty when..." person.

Anyway, love your message and your blog.

Following from the Aloha Friday Bloghop!

~Kristi~ said...

I really appreciate this post, Meredith. It is still so hard not to compare ourselves to others, but we have to remember that God does not make mistakes. Although I wish I could fit into 'those jeans' again too. You are beautiful ... And happy belated birthday!! :-)

Design_Fluff said...

You look beautiful in all of your photos. And again, you look like Jennifer Aniston!

We berate ourselves because society judges us harshly. We become hard on ourselves because society is.

Unfortunate, but true.

Design Fluff aka "Lucy"

Lena said...

Wonderful post! Just yesterday I stumbled upon a quote by Sam Levenson that seems perfect here:

"The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode, but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives and the passion that she shows.The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years"

I do hope, we all grow in beauty as we age :)

Debra @ Common Ground said...

Beautiful post, Meredith. thanks for the precious godly reminder, of how God really sees each of us!