The perfect body
It’s all over the internet, films show it, bloggers write about it, and everyone wants it … the perfect body.
For us girls that means a flat stomach, tight thighs, a nice bottom and large breasts. For boys, of course, muscles are a large part of their ideal body. We can all see fabulous photos of celebrities, showing just how perfect they are – no blemishes there! The media also claims that you have to look like this or that, you have to wear the right clothes, and put on makeup in order to be popular, get a boyfriend and to have a ‘good life’. So here I am, sitting in front of the screen, sighing and thinking, ‘If only I looked like that!’
This weekend I was at a Christian youth festival called ‘Get Focused’, and overheard a conversation the girls in my room were having, before going to sleep. One girl said, ‘I wish I was a boy, it’s so stressful being a girl!’ I don’t know how serious the girl who said this was, but still, it was a very sad statement. We should be proud of who we are and what we look like! ‘Well, that’s easy for you to say,’ you might say. So I’ll be perfectly honest with you:
Since I was very young I’ve been thin. My grandmothers scolded me, telling me to eat more to put some flesh on my bones. At school, my classmates always wanted to lift ‘light as a feather Maria’, and slid their fingers round my wrists to see just how thin I was. People said ‘You should be a model!’ I would smile nervously, laugh a little and then think to myself that that was something I would never be! The lifting and the comments went on for several years, and maybe people didn’t think it bothered me. I was already thin, and everyone else wanted to be thin! But even though I was aware of this, there was still something wrong with me, I thought. I thought that I was too thin, I just wanted to be like all the others, someone who didn’t stand out from the crowd.
I haven’t struggled much with my self-image due to my appearance, thanks to good friends, a secure family and an awareness that I’m good enough as I am. But in common with most people, I have had the sense that my body isn’t as nice as it could be. Whether you’re a guy or a girl, I’m almost sure that you will agree with me to some extent.
Who do you compare yourself to? I’ll speak from the heart again: I’ve been thinking of my stomach. I don’t like it that much, to many people’s astonishment: ‘What? But you’ve got a flat stomach!’ ‘No, it’s not!’ I’ve answered, gritting my teeth. No matter what people tried to convince me of, I wasn’t able to believe them. Well, maybe I believed them a little. But this weekend I realised something: I understood who I was comparing myself to! It’s only the super-fit girls who train at a high level who have the appealing, flat stomach I’ve always wanted to have! I can’t compare myself to them when I don’t train as actively as they do – what am I thinking about? Now, this is perhaps a bit girl-focused, but I’m sure that if you are a guy reading this you will be able to see some similarities in the way you perceive your body.
Be happy with the body you have. Don’t compare yourself with others. You are a totally unique individual with all the characteristics and delights that that embodies. The ideal bodies that the celebrities showcase aren’t so trustworthy, the photos are often manipulated, they have a lot of intense training and a rigid diet – I wouldn’t call that lifestyle comfortable. Just be yourself!
And finally, let’s have a quick look at what the Bible says:
God has created us, body, soul and spirit. We read in Genesis about how we are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27), and how God viewed what He had made: not just good, but very good (verse 31)! When God is satisfied with our appearance, how can we go around being dissatisfied?