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Enough is enough: Maintaining a positive female body image in a competitive society

Published: Thursday, Dec. 5 2013 11:50 a.m. MST

A woman explains how she is making peace with her body.  (Shutterstock) A woman explains how she is making peace with her body. (Shutterstock)

Editor's note: This post by Lacey Collinsworth originally appeared on StrivingOnward.com, a digital community where women across the world can support and inspire one another in their roles as friends, wives and mothers. It has been reprinted here with permission.

I’ve been on a journey throughout my life. A long journey of coming to peace with my body. Perhaps you’re on a similar journey?

I remember from a young age being very aware of my body. Being born a healthy baby, I was considered a cute, “chubby” toddler. A term from that young age that stuck with me as a learned that the adjectives fat and chubby were generally not used in a positive light when it came to body images. Although I grew into a slender 5-year-old and evened out even more into my young adulthood, I still wondered whether I was chubby.

We as women are bombarded with messages that scream that we are not enough. Not thin enough. Not tall enough. Breasts not big enough. Hips not small enough. Not sexy enough. Not perfect enough. Not enough. Not enough. Not enough.

My own journey of making peace with my body being “enough” has been a lifelong one, and one that I realize will continue throughout my life. A very pivotal moment on this journey was when my view of my body began to change drastically upon becoming pregnant with my first child. I watched with amazement as my body stretched and grew larger and larger month after month. I watched in awe of the reality of what my body was capable of doing: growing another human being. This body of mine, that was in the world’s view never enough, was doing something extraordinary. And then, when the time came, I experienced how immensely powerful my body really was as it contracted and pushed that baby out with such great force that is absolutely impossible to describe. My body was stronger than I could have ever have imagined.

And then, not long after, my body gradually began to put itself back together again, until one day I found that it could once again move in the ways I had longed for during those long months of pregnancy. I no longer had aches and pains. My body had returned back to itself. My body was transformative.

I’ve learned over the years that our bodies are vessels that experience remarkable things. They can be stretched to the limit, care for those in need, hike to the highest peaks, dance until the early morning hours, feed and play with our children, and feel the sand between our toes. They can take us on adventures to see things that may change our lives. They can run, walk, skip and feel. They can challenge us, bear children and grow old. Our bodies can carry us to wherever we want to go as long as we take care of them in return.

So join me in remembering and teaching our children that our bodies are not just a creation to be judged for being too fat or too thin, too tall or short, with breasts that are not the right size or skin that dimples too much. Our bodies are gifts. Marvelous creations. Capable of carrying us through life’s ups and downs. Powerful warriors.

Our bodies are enough.

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company