“It is time for you to come out of the shadow.” That is what I sensed God saying to me during a retreat back in June. When I heard it in my spirit, I began to cry because being in the shadow is so foreign to me. My nature is much more comfortable standing in the spotlight than behind the scenes.
So much so that the overachiever in me used to tell co-workers that “we could shine together or I would shine by myself, but either way I would shine.” Bold words, I know—maybe even a little arrogant. What can I say? I was young. Thankfully, God didn’t fail me.
“How do perceptions of beauty vary across the globe?” That is the question posed by Superdrug Online Doctors, an online pharmacy in the UK, when they commissioned the Perceptions of Perfection project. What they found supports what I said in an earlier post about beauty being in the eye of the beholder.
The purpose of the study is: “Widely held perceptions of beauty and perfection can have a deep and lasting cultural impact on both women and men. The goal of this project is to better understand potentially unrealistic standards of beauty and to see how such pressures vary around the world.”
When I moved into my home almost 25 years ago, I wanted to create a beautiful space in which I loved to live. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the resources or know enough about myself to do it. Instead, I created a space in which I could live, rather than one in which I loved to live.
- Courtesy of iStock/lookslike
In fact, most of what I had, which wasn’t much, had been given to me. I had a full size bed, end tables, a dining room table with two chairs, a sofette, some dishes, a stereo, a VCR, television, a television stand, and a bookcase with a few textbooks from college—the basics. The only things not given to me were the electronics and the books.
I had enough to eat, sleep, watch television, listen to music, and read. My life consists of basically the same things, but I am in the process of creating a much more enjoyable space in which to do it.
“Only keep what brings you joy,” said a specialist in organization on the Today show recently. This caught my attention because I am in the process of going through the contents of my closet due to a leak coming from one of my upstairs neighbor’s condominiums. The leak forced me to empty my closet, which had not been done since I moved in almost 25 years ago, so the contractors could fix it.
Courtesy of iStock/KellyJHall
The first thing I realized was that I have a lot of stuff, especially clothes. Emptying my closet made me face the fact that I have more clothes than any one woman needs. So, the question becomes what to keep? What I usually hear is keep what fits, and give or throw away the rest.
Like many people, my closet contains clothes that I once wore, but that are too small for me to wear now. Our hope is that we will get back into them one day. There are many problems with this logic.
“I am not ______ enough.” In last week’s post, I shared about a conversation that I had with a mentee about negative self-talk. Specifically, we discussed the ways my mentee did not feel “good enough”. In her TED Talk, Dr. Brené Brown calls this shame and says we all have experienced it in some way. I know I have.
We all have an “I am not ______ enough.” We just have to fill in the blank: “I am not tall enough”, “short enough”, “thin enough”, “smart enough”, “beautiful enough”, etc. For me, it was I am not thin enough.
For as long as I remember, my size was a source of conversation. As a child, my family affectionately called me a “butterball” because I weighed over 9 pounds at birth. When playing basketball, my teacher selected me to play center in junior high because I grew sooner than my classmates. Over and over, people said I was “big” for my age, but I wasn’t overweight yet.
Once, when shopping for bathing suits, my mother tried to get me to try on a bikini. Out of obedience, I did it, but I was uncomfortable the whole time. My mother didn’t understand. According to her, I was “big boned,” not “fat.” There was no difference to me.