Truth #1 – I was created to be me and no one else.
Read Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV) and ponder your Creator and His creation:
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful.
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
We’ll never achieve someone else because we weren’t made to. We were made to achieve us.
This is the most pivotal truth we must accept in this venture, particularly in this culture. With manipulative and opportunistic mass media looking to always make a buck off whatever discontentment they can breed in me, I must remind myself that God created me to be me— admittedly the best me I can be, but never someone else.
Comparisons are lethal to my self-image because they ask me to become something I’m not, which means what I am (the “wonderful” work God made, per His word) must die. There’s a thousand celebrity spokespersons and models that can show me everything I’m not, but I must remember that God created me how I am, and He didn’t do it by mistake. If I fail to remember, if I’m perpetually comparing myself to others, there’s a whole lot of falling short that’s bound to happen.
The dangerous part of trying to be like someone else is that it cannot really happen. I recall reading a tabloid story of a woman who went through multiple successive cosmetic surgeries in an attempt to look like Kim Kardashian. After spending a small fortune, getting tucked here and enhanced there, she made a passable lookalike, even in the side-by-side bikini photo comparison in the magazine. So, congratulations, Miss Whatever-Your-Name-Was — you managed to look vaguely like a star for a brief moment — which will only last until you need the next surgery — and all it cost you was an asinine amount of money and the beauty you were given of your very own.
The real shame in this extreme example is evident: a beautiful woman destroys her own beauty to emulate someone else’s. But on a smaller scale, don’t we all tend to do this at times? I wish I had his chest, she wishes she had her arms, they wish they had her backside, and the list goes on. And this envy certainly isn’t limited to famous targets; we do the same thing (probably even more often) with our idealized perceptions of our friends, our siblings, and even random people we encounter at the workplace, church, or gym. We may dress it down a bit (“I’m glad I don’t have her hips…”) but that deception is still there (“…but man, I’d love to have her breasts!”).
We’ll never achieve someone else because we weren’t made to. We were made to achieve us. Look at the psalmist’s words: “My frame was not hidden from you… your eyes saw my unformed body.” God made each of us unique, even down to our very bones (‘esem, translated as “frame”).
There’s a biological truth here. As any good personal trainer will tell you, you can’t sculpt your body. To a degree, you can strengthen, tone, and emphasize, but ultimately your shape is determined by genetics.
The muscular insertion points in our bones are determined in the womb, while our frame is yet hidden from human eyes, and this and other genetic imprints on our musculature determine the shape of our muscles, the leverage (and therefore strength) they possess, and the manner of our very movement.
Our fat storage is also set then, when our body is yet unformed, and this determines where fat is stored and when. Female clients frequently express reservations that losing fat might take away from their breasts or butts instead of their bellies or thighs, and that’s a valid point: that may very well be how their fat storage is wired to process. Yet there’s nothing she can do about that, despite what some television ad may say.
This is one of the must terrifying and insidious aspects of our modern diet culture. In the name of health, we’re trained to buy into the fraud that we have control over our body image (which we do) and the mechanism of that control is our food intake (which it is not). As the crass but on-point Militant Baker wrote in Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living, “Dieting is about forever placing our eyes on a future where our goal is to be someone we are not, and never living now.”
The sooner you embrace the idea that you’re unique and that’s okay, the sooner you can begin to accept the other truths that will equip you for success. But it all begins here: I was created to be me and no one else.
Originally posted 2016-01-01 08:00:31.