Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

Have you ever heard the advice that a healthy marriage entails choosing to love your partner every single day? You’re supposed to love them through life’s ups and downs. You’re supposed to choose them when you feel like giving up. You’re supposed to be their safe haven. Nobody just meets their partner and magically lives happily ever after. No. Happily ever after is hard work. It is a choice you have to make every day.

I think this advice is wonderful. However, I can’t help but wonder why we haven’t been told that it could be great for our relationship with ourselves too. As a matter of fact, I seem to remember society being quick to “humble” those who chose to love themselvesat least when I was growing up.

Choosing self-love was never taught to be a priority for many of us. It sometimes felt like we were encouraged to choose the exact opposite. We seemed to have been taught to pick ourselves apart and not love ourselves too much. If you accomplish something great, you could celebrate but never too hard. If you failed, you were to analyze every little mistake. When you looked in the mirror, you were to figure out something wrong with what you saw. Sure, self-love wasn’t something we were taught to choose. But I think it should be.

The other day, I was looking through some old photos, riding the wave of nostalgia that hits every few years. My younger years were full of beautiful memories I love looking back on. However, I can’t help but remember the insecure thoughts that sometimes plagued them.

RELATED: Self-Love Is Not A Destination

I found a selfie from college and remembered the inner debate I faced about deleting it, even though it had been the only one out of many I actually liked, because my nose felt too big and my eyebrows were too light. I found my wedding pictures and remembered feeling self-conscious about the size of my arms. I found my pregnancy photos and remembered the fear I felt as my body grew softer and larger than I had ever seen it before.

These moments were beautiful, and most of the time when I look back on them, I remember the joy and happiness they filled my heart with. However, every once in a while, I take the time to feel for that girl who struggled to love herself. I remember the insecurities I kept buried beneath the surface and the racing of my heart as I swallowed them down.

We really are our own worst critics, and I can’t help but blame society for this just a bit. Why is it that, for so long, society has pushed us to pick apart our bodies and our minds? Why are confident people so quickly labeled as “cocky”? Why must those who pick themselves apart be more celebrated than those who love who they are?

When I see those pictures of my past, I see a beauty that I struggled to find at the time. I see my youth. I see the joy I radiated. And I see the uniqueness I brought into the world.

The woman I was at 18 struggled with what she saw in the mirror. The woman I was at 23 still struggled with the mirror but also found herself missing the body she had at 18. The woman I was at 25 missed the body she had at 23. And, now, at 28, I realize that every single one of those versions of me was beautiful in its own way. Every single one of those versions of me deserved to love herself but had an inner critic with a megaphone shouting in her ear.

RELATED: Loving My Body is a Struggle

When I look at those old pictures, I can’t help but feel saddened by the insecurities that plagued me in my younger years, and sometimes, I just can’t help but miss that body I once had. I can’t help but miss my 18-year-old body. I can’t help but miss the strength I possessed at my wedding. I can’t help but miss that pregnant belly that held my unborn baby.

I don’t have those bodies anymore, and I never will, but that is okay with me. Those versions of my body supplied me with what I needed when I needed them. I can miss them, but I will no longer long for them. Because if looking back at those pictures taught me one thing, it is that one day, I will miss this body, too.

One day, I will miss the softness of my tummy marked by creating two beautiful lives. One day, I will miss the strength of my arms that have carried and comforted my loved ones. One day, I will miss the woman I see in the mirror today.

I don’t want to look back at these days and remember being plagued with insecurity. I want to look back and remember just how joyful and grateful I felt for the body that carried me through my years and gave me two beautiful children. That is why I have decided to choose self-love for the rest of my days.

I will choose to feel gratitude for this body and show it the love it deserves. I will choose to show myself compassion on my weakest days. I will choose to celebrate my own wins. I will choose to speak love and kindness into my own ears. And I will choose to show my daughters that loving yourself is a feat worthy of being celebrated. Sure, some days will be harder than others, but I deserve it. I hope you realize that you deserve it too.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Emily Stevens

Emily Stevens is a writer, blogger, and mother to two beautiful girls. As she journeys her way through motherhood, she has developed a passion for finding the magic in everyday life. Blog: https://mamachasingmagic.com/

My Body Reminds Me of All It’s Been Through

In: Living
Woman smiling leaning against a wall

I was looking in the mirror at my shape and size and was thoroughly disgusted by what I saw. Initially, I saw a body that didn’t look like it did in my 20s. And it had to be true that I was overweight because not only did I look overweight to myself, my doctor had told me I was overweight and needed to lose a few pounds.  A moment of grace, which is so unlike my brain and body to give, overwhelmed me and reminded me of the whole story of what my body has been through.  Sure in my...

Keep Reading

I Want a Body That Tells the Truth

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman on the beach

I’ve decided I don’t want a body that lies. I’m going to embrace a body that tells the truth.  I want a body that tells the truth about what it looks like to be a woman. I want a body that shows what it really looks like to be a mother, an athlete, a wife, a person with some wisdom and perspective. I carry extra weight around my hips and have stretch marks from carrying two baby girls. My left bicep is more defined than my right bicep. That’s from packing an infant on my hip, allowing my dominant hand...

Keep Reading

Dear Body, I’m Sorry I Haven’t Treated You Well

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman in hot tub looking out window

Dear body, I’m sorry I haven’t treated you well. After everything you’ve done for me, you would think I’d be a bit more grateful. From running and playing as a child to being on the track team in high school, to carrying three babies, conquering cancer, and more—I should be thanking you. But instead, I’m mostly ashamed of you. I’m embarrassed to try on new clothes in a fitting room because I honestly don’t know what size I am anymore. Having to ask for a larger size of something is a kind of torture I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Trying...

Keep Reading