by Kelsey Klepper
We all know how our culture defines beauty. We will never measure up to those standards. It is the diet culture’s way of keeping us coming back for more “solutions” to our “problems.” But how did we let culture’s standards become our truth about beauty? Why have we let it skew our perception of real beauty?
I remember being praised when I lost weight in junior high and high school, which only gave me the perception that my smaller body was the better body. I didn’t receive compliments when my body was on the higher end of my constant teeter tottering weight from yo-yo dieting.
I remember looking through magazines and reading about women being shamed for not getting their bodies back after having a baby or for having rolls on their bellies. I did read about women being praised for their weight loss “success” and how I could easily do it “in these four simple steps” too. Again, my perception of beauty was being twisted.
In the age of social media, we are consuming images much more quickly than before. The vast majority of these images tell them same lie, that there is an ideal body we must be striving for to be beautiful, loved, accepted, and worthy of existence.
The thing I don’t remember believing as truth is that all bodies are beautiful and worthy. I’m not proud to say that, but my perception of beauty had been distorted for decades. This may likely be your truth too. When we are steeped in a toxic environment more than God’s truth about beauty, why wouldn’t we believe what the world says? We need to know the truth and believe the truth to our core.
God is not the one putting on our hearts that we need to fit in a cookie cutter mold to be beautiful; that’s the enemy and the worldly view of beauty. Lord, my outward appearance is not what is important. For You, O Lord, look at my heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
I’ve been really fighting against diet culture and its lies for over a year now, and I’ve started seeing beauty in women of all shapes, sizes, colors, and abilities. Believe me, it doesn’t happen overnight because we are constantly being fed the lie of what is an acceptable body. But here are some tangible steps that have helped change my perception and definition of beauty.
- Know God’s truth
- Challenge my existing thoughts about bodies and why I believe what I do, whether that be about my own body or someone else’s
- Diversify my social media accounts (ahem Instagram) so that my eyes are regularly seeing diverse people with diverse bodies doing rad things. (I personally don’t see many people aside from my toddler since I’m a stay at home mom, so this has been a game changer for me. Seeing diverse bodies has changed my perception of beauty and my inner dialogue immensely.)