This past week has been one of anxiety, trepidation, fear, uncertainty, joy, excitement, peace, love and freedom. I feel like I’ve hit every emotion from one end of the spectrum to the other. The encouragement, though, is at least I’m moving in the right direction! I went FROM negative, stressful emotions TO those filled with enthusiasm and hope.
I want to begin by thanking those of you who are participating in, and sharing, the Love Me Challenge. The response has been tremendous, not only in terms of the number of people partaking, but also in the quality of the feedback we’ve received and the success being attained. We joke that our readers and social media followers are ‘Rule-Breakers’ because you are all FAR more interactive than the norm. You blow away all statistics for what we are told we should expect and you never cease to amaze us. Even with that being said, this time, we were still astonished by what you brought to the table. You guys rock! You care, you share and you love. You desire to better yourselves and are willing to take action to do so. We really do love and admire each of you!
On to the challenge itself…
The thought of leaving yourself exposed and letting the world see your ‘Real Beauty’ can be terrifying. We are so accustomed to covering up, making excuses, feeling burdened, living under judgmental eyes and caving to the pressure that this standard has become the norm. Changing the paradigm is akin to swimming against a tide with an incredibly forceful current, and doing this for a very, very long time. It’s exhausting, frightening, defeating… It’s easy to want to turn back, to give up, to go with the flow.
But not you ladies!
You began posting pictures, sharing your challenges, exposing your fears and baring your souls. I can’t tell you how many times I teared up reading your posts; I’ve been on the verge of crying for days. I have a permanent lump in my throat, but it’s not one of sadness. It’s born of pride and love and joy.
One reader, Brenda, probably would have hugged every lady contributing if she could. Facebook should have a ‘HUG’ button, right??? Others, like Tiffany, didn’t miss too many opportunities to ‘LIKE’ pictures and offer sweet compliments. Mindy, being bold and fearless, may extend keeping her ‘Love Me’ picture on her profile for another week. (that’s just like her to be such an overachiever!) Claire shared her ‘makeup fast’ concept. At the beginning of each of her college years, she would go completely without makeup for a period of time to remind herself not to lose sight of ‘true beauty’. This is only a small sampling of the exceptional ladies we’ve heard from.
Please, please keep your ideas and input coming. Please continue to share the challenge. Delight in your ‘Real Beauty’, today, tomorrow and always!
Some things I’ve gained through this challenge thus far:
- I’ve gotten to know my friends more intimately
- I’ve made so many new, beautiful friends
- I’ve gained a freedom in accepting myself ‘as is’ that I’ve never known
- I’ve found a new level of appreciation for my husband
- I’ve received more love and support through this campaign than I could have ever imagined.
- I have a new awareness and heart for issues that women, in particular, face on a daily basis.
What have you gained?
I think this is just the beginning for me; for us. But, where do we go from here?
Let’s continue to support and love each other ‘as is’. Let’s drop the facades, competitive nature, catty and judgmental attitudes and share the love for others that God blesses us with. We need to declutter negative self-images by reminding ourselves daily that we are made perfect in God’s image. Let’s focus on worthy priorities and remove the grip of self destructive thoughts and behaviors. Perhaps take Claire’s suggestion. Every so often, institute a ‘makeup fast’ and keep your perspective on ‘Real Beauty’. We must refuse to fall back into our old ways!
This challenge is just getting started. If you’ve been on the fence, please consider jumping down on the side of boldness and change. Post your picture, make a statement and find a freedom you may not have known you were even missing. Encourage your friends to do the same.
Before I close, I want to give a special shout out to my husband. The Love Me Challenge has brought an insight to something very meaningful to me. Lindon is respectful, affectionate, complimentary and loving. I’m appreciative and know how blessed I am. The part I didn’t recognize and acknowledge is that he’s this way ALL the time, regardless of circumstances. It doesn’t matter if we are outside, sweaty and dirty pulling weeds, if my unwashed hair is in a messy bun, if my face is marked by day old makeup or if I am made up for a date night out, dressed to the nines in a fancy dress with killer heels. It doesn’t matter. He makes me feel like a million buck regardless. He treats me with the same love and acceptance ALWAYS.
I didn’t necessarily take his attitude and behavior for granted, but since he’s always treated me in this manner, I don’t think I truly valued how very special this is. Unfortunately, many women don’t receive this type of unconditional love and acceptance from their husbands.
So, thank you honey….for loving me ‘as is’ and for reminding me every day of my life that my ‘Real Beauty’ is more than enough for you. Love you WATPOMH!
And once again, thank you ladies. You are the salt of the earth and beautiful beyond all compare. Together, we can continue to make a difference.
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