Embrace YOUR Body!

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I have had a stirring in my heart to write about body positivity yet again. Surprise, surprise!

Earlier last week I was scrolling through my Instagram and I became quite irritated. The more I scrolled the fire bubbling up in my belly became stronger and stronger. I sat shaking my head, thinking how truly disgusting society can be.

These days, Instagram is full of Women in bikinis, diets, workout routines. You know how it goes… and for what?

Why are we so desperate to keep up with the next “in” trend of a body type. Do you understand how much that irks me? And how sad it is that A Woman’s body type has become a trend!!!!!

Think back a few years ago… What “body goals” were women trying to achieve? Petite bodies with a thigh gap.

What is it now? Small boobs to prance around in a little bralette, a tiny waste and a big butt.

I have been watching women work them selves to the ground just to achieve these results. What are they really going to gain from it though? Validation and acceptance of themselves because in societies standards they are “Beautiful”.

As women we should be spending more time in community, empowering each other to embrace OUR own individual body type.

As you know I am a Christian and I have grown up in church. I often come back to this bible verse. Psalm 139:14 – I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

In the Christian world it is such a well known/ used verse that it can become repetitive and easily overlooked. I am here to drill this verse into your being like there is no tomorrow. When you actually sit down and take this verse in, it’s life changing. YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made by the creator of the universe. He made you as an individual. You are your own person and you are the only person in the world with your exact body type. How do we not see that as the coolest thing ever and why the heck are we not embracing that more?

Recently, I have had an incredible awakening in my personal journey of body image and after a lot of prayer, seeking, crying and self hate I have experienced healing in a way that I never have before.

I am able to write of the body trends above because that was me not too long ago, trying to seek acceptance in all the wrong places from all the wrong people.

I was ashamed of my body, the way I looked and who I was as an individual. My journey has been very up and down. I have battled through issues and habits in regard to obsessive eating, exercising and fixating on numbers that I didn’t even realise was happening because it was so normal to me. I speak a lot more in depth about this in the book I am writing.

When I was in my mid teens I killed for “the dream body”. I wanted to be skinny, I wanted a thigh gap. I wish my 21 year old self was there to tell me that would never be achievable for me. Not in a harsh way but in a place of love. You see, that would never be achievable for me because that’s not my individual body type, that’s not how God created me. I am a curvy girl with thick thighs. I get that now, I accept that and FINALLY, I am embracing that.

Just the other week I was sitting down eating some food and my last bit of the meal fell into my lap because my thighs were touching. If I looked down and saw that about 6 months ago I would have been so ashamed of my body but you best believe I was praising the Lord for my thick thighs! I picked my food up and I finished that last bite with complete satisfaction.

Every body type IS beautiful.

If you have freckles, You’re beautiful.

If you have a thigh gap, You’re beautiful.

If you don’t have a thigh gap, you’re beautiful.

If you have a bit of a chubby belly, You’re beautiful. (I love choccy too much and I’m rocking it)

If you have a flat stomach, you’re beautiful.

If you are tall, you’re beautiful.

If you are short, you’re beautiful.

Self acceptance comes when you beat the mental battle the enemy is forever trying to win against you!

Wearing a skimpy little bikini that covers next to nothing just for you to gain a little bit of attention isn’t going to make you happy. The boy that just “liked” your last Insta picture isn’t going to make you happy. Posting a body photo when your sucking in your stomach to the point of struggling to breathe and sticking your butt out to make yourself look smaller isn’t going to make you happy. Can most of us just admit that we’ve been there at some stage?

I encourage you to try your very best to honour your body. It is so so precious. Looking back I wish I cared for and valued my self and my body as much as I do now. Embrace who you are and do things to nourish yourself the right and healthy way. Stop trying to seek the approval of others to validate your self acceptance and stop playing the comparison game. As soon as you start to compare yourself to others you are allowing complete negative thoughts to grow and that in itself is a really dangerous place to be in.

Your worth isn’t found in a number on the scales, it’s not defined by toxic words people say to you, it’s not placed by how many followers you have or how revealing your posts are, it’s not shaped by a false image we have been led to believe by societies standards. It is found in the very essence of your being – Your heart!

I know that I am no where near where I want to be but because I am finally starting to see myself the way Jesus see’s me and I am spending time filling myself with his truths about me, I have found contentment. It’s crazy, amazing and all things wonderful!

There is only one place you are going to find complete contentment and real self acceptance. Go search, I dare you!

Beth xx

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I am Delighted in…

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Keep the word ‘delighted’ in your head and let me try my best to give you some insight of the value of this word in my life right now.

I have been a girl that has struggled with self worth and body image for most of my teen years and now into my early 20’s.. I thought this cycle of insecurity and discontentment in myself would have ended by now. I’ve written a bit about a few of my own personal stories in my self love journey in a place of coming out of negative thoughts about myself.

About 2 months ago I found my mind playing tricks on me again, I found myself listening to what the enemy thought of me and I believed it, more than ever this time.

I can honestly say, hand on heart I have never experienced self doubt like I have these last few months.

I know other women can relate when I say that I stood in the mirror and picked at every little thing on my body, I could see nothing good about me. The more I looked the more the enemy filled my mind with lies. There is no worse feeling than looking at yourself and just crying because you are so damn insecure of the person you are and feel nothing but worthless. I was caught in the trap of comparison. I just seemed to be in this rut and I didn’t know how to get out.

I had been back in Australia for a few weeks now from a 4 month trip to the states and I was still in this negative mind frame. I decided to take myself down to one of my favourite beaches and spend some solitude time with the Lord. I opened up to Psalm 139 – A beautiful chapter of poetry from the bible that speaks of all the goodness God sees in us. Normally, this would help me and ease my mind straight away but this time it didn’t.

I love that God knows me better than I know me because when I went to close my bible a highlighted verse popped up.

Zephaniah 3:17 – For the Lord your God is living among you.

He is a mighty saviour.

He will take DELIGHT in you with gladness.

With his love, he will calm your fears.

He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

I was instantly taken back to week 5 at camp – Reboot.

One of the workshops we sat through was all about how the Lord delights in us.

I’m just going to re write that sentence because a lot of you would have just grazed over it… The KING of the universe, maker of EVERYTHING and EVERYONE takes DELIGHT IN US!

Some synonyms for the word delighted are:

  • Joyful.
  • Very pleased.
  • Ecstatic.
  • Happy.
  • Cloud 9.
  • Excited.

If that wasn’t the biggest slap in the face by God at the beach I don’t know what was. I was still in this proud state of mind while reading that verse because I knew it was God speaking to me but my brain was still believing the negative thoughts that were being fed to me.

I remember thinking why can’t I feel the way I did when I was sitting in that workshop almost 3 months ago now?

On the 3/7/17 I wrote in my journal.

I AM LOVED BY A KING WHO DIED TO KNOW ME.

You are my delight..

Every time I feel ashamed or down on myself I need to stop and ask God what he thinks of me. What is God proud of me for?

We were then given time to sit and listen to God and why he delights in us.

He spoke to me and said:

“I delight in you because…

You are courageous and you take risks.

Because you accept who you are.

Because you are loud and quirky.”

I then told my Saviour why I delighted in him.

I delight in God because..

He is my father.

He forgives.

His love is perfect.

He knows.

He is gentle.

He loves without question.

I am on a journey of self love and re learning to see myself the way Jesus sees me and I am determined to get back to the mind frame of where I was in week 5 of camp, except better.

I am not writing this blog for self pity, I’m writing it because I am the biggest advocate of self love and believing in who you are as a person but know that in different seasons of life come different challenges. Right now this is mine and it might be someone else’s too.

I want to encourage who ever is reading this blog that YOU are DELIGHTED in by a King. Who made you fearfully and wonderfully. He doesn’t make mistakes. He rejoices over you!!! God is Joyful for YOU, He is ecstatic for YOU, he is on cloud 9 for YOU and he is pleased with YOU.

I challenge you right now, Go and sit in a quiet place and write down 3 positive things about yourself. Embrace them and Embrace you!!!!!

By Bethany Calverley.

Brittany Eliza.

This is Beautiful Brittany! I met her at Hope UC a few years ago when I was serving in youth ministry. Brit was so easy to photograph because she is so naturally beautiful and her confidence absolutely shines! I love her honesty and realness in all her answers, It’s super admirable!

Written at age 17.

Brittany Eliza:

1. What is your idea of Beauty? My idea of beauty is when you see someone feeling comfortable and happy in their skin and truly smiling.

2. Where do you place your worth? My worth is a priority in my life, I always try do things that will make me feel good.

3.  What has been your biggest ossicle in your self worth Journey? Many people will make me feel like my self-worth isn’t as important as theirs, so I would often forget that my worth is important and make sure that they are always happy. After this I feel down and hopeless so I reassure myself that I am unique and one of a kind.

4.  What has been your greatest achievement in your self worth Journey? My greatest achievement is realising that all I need is to care for myself and set goals so that after I achieve them I feel so good. I eat healthy as much as I can and sometimes cheat a little because I deserve it.

5. How do you view yourself today? I view myself as a super strong independent beautiful woman and am proud of everything I do.

6.  What are 3 things you do to practice self love? I sit down and say all the things that I think are beautiful about myself.

I try be my own inspiration if that fails I listen to some of my favourite artists and dance.

I let myself be free and always remember I’m okay and loved.

7.  If you could give advice to your younger self in regard to self worth and body image, what would it be? Don’t look at those magazines and other girls and compare it to yourself, you are your own art piece.

Your worth is what you make it, not what others think your worth is.

You are beautiful for who you are and what you do, not just what is on the outside.

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Courtney Watson!

My Beautiful Courtney! I met Court about a year and a half ago studying the same course at Tafe. I didn’t ever think that we would be as close as we are and I am beyond thankful that we share the friendship we do today. Courtney is a forever friend and a soul sister. She has done nothing but blossom into this beautiful, wonderful and crazy confident woman! Her beauty Journey is amazing. Thank you for letting me capture you and thank you for your honest words my incredible, fearless, courageous friend xxx

Written by Courtney Watson.

Age 21.

1. What is your idea of beauty? Beauty is you. Beauty is all of us. Beauty is the world that we live in and what and who we surround ourselves with each and every day. Our minds. How different each of us are and how we all look and experience all things so differently. Our minds, our bodies and our spirit. Beauty truly is endless. Beauty is feeling, feeling joy, feeling pain, feeling sadness, giving love and being loved. Our mental capabilities are incredible and it is these things that make us who we are and individual with our own spark of magic to share in this world.

2. Where do you place your worth?My worth is up to me, it sits in my hands and my heart. I struggled when I was younger with my self worth but I think that all just comes with time and truly understanding and learning about who you are and once I came to peace with who I am and had the ability to love me, I was proud. Proud of who I am and all that I’ve been through to become me. Just like we all have and will.

3. What has been your biggest obstacle in your self worth journey? If you asked me this a few years ago I would have said how I saw myself. But ask me this today, and that would not even enter my mind. Through all experiences there was always a struggle but each obstacle made me who I am and gave me the outlook I have on life and everything that is thrown in my direction. As much as I sometimes wish that I didn’t have the body image struggles that I did in my school years I am also grateful because it gave me the strength and love that I do today! There is always a positive in every negative.”Change your thoughts and you change your world”

4. What has been your greatest achievement in your self worth journey? My mental and physical abilities and strength. A lot has stemmed from finding what I love to do and what/who makes me happiest. I would always push my own feelings and needs to the side and always take care of others before me. I have finally found my balance between loving others and myself all in one and eliminating all negativity from my world. I have never been more content with all of the people that play such a big part in my life today. So yes, my biggest achievement is me.

5. How do you view yourself today? Strong, loved, empathetic, positive, healthy, wise and incredibly blessed.

6. What are the three things you do to practice self love? My exercise time is me time. I forget everything and focus on me with my headphones in and music playing as loud as I want it too. I’m constantly surprised of what my body is capable of and is definitely a self-love favourite of mine that I am able to do for me. It is something that I have learnt to push myself mentally and physically more and more and has certainly helped mould me into who I am today and how I see myself.

Writing and reading is an important part of self love for me. Writing especially gives me the outlet to write down whatever it is that is in my head in that moment is such a beautiful outlet that can also give me the opportunity to reflect back on later but to also know that there is never any judgment. My words are for me.

 I also find self love when I am around people. The ones who know me best and that I appreciate more then words could ever describe. I constantly feel loved and beyond lucky when I am around my closest friends and family that always make me feel supported and over all happy and loved. When you are blessed to meet someone who makes your life flow easier and makes you laugh a lot, keep them, thats all you need.
7. If you could give advice to your younger self in regard to self worth and body image, what would it be? You are beautiful, even if you don’t see it. Your going to go through lots and lots of great times and your going to have to conquer hard times that will test you and how you see yourself but your going to make it, make it all on your own and when you truly know you and the women you become your going to appreciate all these things that now seem like big deals but will later be looked at as little pebbles in your road to finding you. Love you baby and who you are today, your one of a kind and keep on doing you! Embrace everything and everyone in your journey and love, you wear your heart on your sleeve and don’t let anyone or anything take that away from you.

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Jessica McDermott!

My Cousin, my Best friend and my soul sister. This is my Jessie, my forever friend. I’ve known her my whole life and absolutely adore her more than anything. I am beyond proud of her and am so thankful for her honesty with this project. Photographing her wasn’t hard at all, her beauty shines, you’ll be able to see it in her photos. She’s natural, wonderful and completely captivating.  I hope you can see that Jessie.
Written at age 22.
Jessica McDermott:
1. What is your idea of beauty?
My idea of beauty is probably totally warped and influenced by what I’m sold by the media but I am on a journey to fix my view of true beauty. In my head I know beauty as ones strength, kindness and courage! Beauty is more a personality trait rather than appearance. Although this information is yet to drop inches from my brain to my heart!
 2. Where do you place your worth?
Every day is a battle for me to place my worth in God rather than in my insecurities.
Unfortunately I haven’t yet got this concept and I find myself placing my worth in what others think and in other peoples success. I’m slowly learning that other peoples success is not my failure.
 3. What has been the biggest obstacle in your self worth journey? 
The biggest obstacle for me on this very long self worth journey is probably how others look.
As a mum I expected to ‘bounce back’ {as I was told I would hundreds of times}  but when I didn’t after 6 months I found myself hating myself and the way I looked, then I fell pregnant again! After the birth of my second I was even more harsh on myself and still am now. I find myself looking at other mums who did ‘bounce back’ and wanting to cry because I didn’t. It almost sounds stupid as I type it but for me it is a real obstacle that stops me from being happy and feeling beautiful or of any worth. How sad that so many of us feel this way? is our worth really measured by size?
 4. What has been your biggest achievement in your self worth journey? 
Not a huge achievement nor does it happen regularly but sometimes I get up put clothes on that aren’t PJ’s, do my hair and makeup and I feel good! To me that is an achievement! My goal is for that to be more common 🙂
 5. How do you view yourself today?
Today in this very moment I feel powerful! I am proud of myself and how far I have come. I am on my way to the woman I want to be! I feel beautiful as I sit here typing eating a cookies and cream magnum {YUM!!} at this very moment I couldn’t care what anyone thought of me! This is not always though….. some days I struggle to look in the mirror.
 6. What are 3 things you do to practise self love?
1. I do a facial! I always feel great after I pamper myself!! Y’all should try it 😉
 2. I sit and stare at the ocean! It makes me think and it calms me, when I’m calm I put things into perspective and I become empowered! I am inspired by the strength and beauty of the ocean.
 3. I write down all negative thoughts I’m having or anything I’m worrying about and put it in a box. To me writing it down is a release and putting it away is like putting it out of my mind. I then think of something I like about myself for every bad thing I put in the box.
 7. If you could give advice to your younger self in regards to self worth and body image, what would it be?
It doesn’t matter! At the end of the day no matter what number is on the back of your dress, YOU ARE BEAUTUFUL!!!! Happiness and health is what counts. Be happy, nourish your body and live for yourself!

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STOP COMPARING GIRL!

The last few days I have felt a strong pull on my heart to talk about the word Comparison and the completely toxic and negative things it does to our minds.

The definition of the word compare is: To estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between.

In some circumstances it’s okay to compare normal and practical things in life but when it comes to a females body I’m going to slap a big fat NO on that!

I will happily put my hand up and say I have been the first person to compare myself to others. Looking back I can clearly see that it is not a healthy nor is it a full way of living. So often I would reach this place of happiness and contentment within myself only to be crumbled by comparison because of the insecurities in my own mind. A perfect example of this really wasn’t that long ago. I was super happy, eating clean and exercising everyday for all the right reasons. I wanted to nourish my body and help it become strong and fit but somewhere along the way it became unhealthy and my motive changed. It turned into I NEED to go to the gym so I don’t get fat and I limited myself to the foods I would eat because I didn’t want to get fat. Anyone that knows me well knows how much I love sushi but I stopped eating it because of the rice, because I was scared that if I consumed too many carbs I would gain weight! My goodness, I am silly. It’s not okay that I made a conscious effort to stop eating something I loved, my treat, because of this stupid fear. This stemmed from a few years ago, I tried to go vegetarian and ended up gaining 8kg in 6 months. It wasn’t my smartest choice but it didn’t change who I was as a person. I was still the same Bethany. I realise that now. I haven’t been to the gym in a while and I’m sitting here with a completely thankful heart because my body has been lazy (who would have thought i’d ever be happy about that?) I’m thankful because I have now had time to reflect and sort things out in my mind so I can go back with the right attitude, mind frame and the right goals.

That brings me to the lessons I have learnt. A self love journey should start from the inside which then will naturally reflect on the outside. I still like to nourish my body with the right foods and the foods that work for me as an individual. Lately I have been asking myself “Will my body thank me for eating this?” A perfect example of this would be ice-cream. I flipping LOVE it but my body doesn’t, hands down every time I eat it I will feel sick and have a belly ache afterwards. That doesn’t mean I limit myself though. Once a month my best friend and I go to cold rock and share a massive chocolate filed cup. It’s all about finding your right balance.

Every woman has been sculpted differently, no one is the same, yet we are all equally fearfully and wonderfully made. The sooner you embrace the woman you are with all of YOUR strengths the happier life is going to be for you. Don’t scroll through social media wishing you looked like her or you had her hair or her abs because you never going to because thats not YOU! I’m all for empowering other woman, If you like something compliment her but don’t forget that there are amazing things about you too.

I’ve started a project for unveiling beauty and my beautiful, beautiful cousin has decided to be a part of it. Her answers are honest, raw and real, I really admire her for it, more than she will ever know. She talks a lot about “bouncing back” after pregnancy and in my opinion she is quite hard on herself but what she doesn’t realise is she is in her “bounce back”,  she’s tackling it head on every single day. She compares herself to others yet she doesn’t ever take time to sit and feel empowered by her own strengths or how far she’s come. She has had two babies in two years.. THAT IS INCREDIBLE. HER body has grown not one but two lives. She has bounced back, she is fierce and she is courageous.

If you are a woman reading this I urge you to start a journal or look at yourself in the mirror and write or speak out 3 positive things about yourself daily. The power of words are so strong. Speaking life into a negative situation is only going to bring positivity and happiness the more you do it. Take time to do the things you love, that might be getting your nails done, getting a facial, doing a hair mask or reading a book. What ever it is, do it, take half an hour out of your day to practice your idea of self love. Embrace your heart moment and be bold with your body, respect it, love it and nurture it. I promise you, your world will change once that switch in your mind is flicked.

By Bethany Calverley.