If you follow me on Facebook, then you know I went on vacation two weeks ago. It has been quite some time since I took off that many days in a row. This is certainly a week my family needed off together.
While we were in Gatlinburg, we had the chance to do a lot of great things with the friends we were with. Everything we did together was a ton of fun and I was very happy to be there with people that I love.
Seeing as how I was with my dearest friends and my amazing husband, I was really blind sided by the feelings of insecurity I experienced during the week. These are the people I feel the safest and securest with, but then this happened….
We Went to the Water Park
The last thing I ever want to do is wear a bathing suit. Who else is with me on this one? Most summers, I get to avoid putting on my bathing suit. Some summers, I only have to endure it a few times.
Typically, when I get in a bathing suit, it is to go over to a friend’s house or somewhere with few people…not a million…like at the water park.
I decided that the people I was with would not care at all about what I looked like in my suit. (btw, I never ever wear bikini’s, but any bathing suit at all gives me pause). So, I headed out in all the confidence I can possess in a situation like this.
Where it All Fell Apart
Since I was not worried about the way I looked in my bathing suit, I did not expect to walk away feeling insecure. As long as the important people in my life are ok with what I’m doing, I can feel confident.
I can’t remember the last time I was in a position where I’ve seen so much skin; it was overwhelming to me. Even though I tried not to pay much attention to the people around me, it was impossible.
There were a lot of beautiful women there in their bikini’s. I have a lot of reasons for not wearing this type of bathing suit. These days, the biggest reason is my stomach.
While I’ve never been a thin girl, I had a super skinny waist back in the day…and now I don’t. How can I after 3 c-sections? Maybe there is a way to get it back to 29 inches…but I doubt it.
Not only has my stomach grown by several inches, I have tons of deep stretch marks that still have a tint of purple. These days, there seems to be nothing beautiful about that part of my body.
Comparing Myself to Other’s Made Me Feel Dissatisfied
When I look at super models in their bikini’s, I do not feel jealous at all. There is no telling the amount of photoshopping that was done to get them to look that way. However, I wasn’t looking at the cover of a magazine, I was looking at real women.
There were so many beautiful women walking around the park. Again, I wasn’t looking at the ladies at the park that had never birthed a child. That would be unrealistic to compare myself to, and I knew that.
The problem came when I saw many women walking around with multiple young children. Even though they had a couple kids in tow, they were still rocking their bikini’s…and doing it well. None of those beautiful ladies looked like they had gotten in a fight with a sharp clawed lion.
Comparing myself to other women that were around my age with a couple of kids, really got me down. It brought up a lot of insecurities in me that I work really hard to beat.
I’ve lost 30 pounds over the last few years. In fact, I’m smaller now than I was when I was in high school. I’ve come a long long way, but one day at the water park undid all of that.
Why I Wrote the How to Feel Beautiful Series
I wrote a 7 part series on How to Feel Beautiful. If you followed along, you will know that every post had a beauty challenge. The focus of the series was not to help you look beautiful, but to see the beauty you already posses.
The first challenge in the series, I encouraged you to stay away from situations that cause you to feel insecure. That is my biggest defense against feeling dissatisfied with who I am. Clearly, I can’t live in a bubble and I have to put myself in positions that cause me to walk away feeling insecure.
What to Do When You Feel Insecure
I will not lie, going to the water park wrecked me for a solid week and a half. Even now, I am still struggling with the residual effects of what I walked away with from the water park.
Since then, I’ve been fighting a huge battle in my mind. It is no one else’s fault that I walked away from a fun day at a theme park with a crap view of who I am. When I feel insecure, it is on me to resolve that within myself.
There are several things I do to combat the insecurities in my mind. Here are some practical things I do:
Remove myself from situations that make me feel insecure– once I have encountered a situation that wrecks me like the water park, I try to give myself time to recover. For a few days, I put blinders on.
I share my feelings with someone- depending on what I feel insecure about, I share my feelings with someone that cares about me. In order to deal with an issue, you have to talk through it.
Remember who I am in Christ- I draw my security in Christ. He loved me when I was unlovable and has always been faithful to me. I remember His love for me and how He died for me. I’m special because of Christ.
Re-focus myself- whatever has caused me to feel insecure, I talk it through with a friend, and then I re-focus my attention. There is a difference between dealing with something and obsessing over it. If I allow my thoughts to stay consumed with the way those women’s stomachs looked, there is no way I’ll ever get over the insecurity. I take my focus off of myself, and put it on others.
Give it time- I try to stay patient and know that my feelings will eventually pass. It takes time to work through issues in your mind.
No matter who you are, you will deal with insecurities at one time or another. It is important that you recognize that you are in control of your thoughts. No one else is capable of making you believe in yourself.
When you have a low self-esteem, it will affect your marriage. It affects all of your relationships. This is an area of your life that is important to keep in check.
Keelie is a mother of three amazing boys and married to her high school sweetheart, Austin. She spends her days running R5 Website Management, taking care of the home, and investing in her children. In her spare time, she loves to encourage married couples to grow deeper in their relationship and find joy in their marriage.