Awhile back I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts. One of the topics was on self-image. It seems to be a topic that has actually been covered on many of my favorite podcasts recently!
It was mentioned how in the past, going to the gym, meant in baggy sweats and a t-shirt. The purpose was to sweat not to look fashionable.
The dawn of great engineering to make materials lightweight, breathable, and keep the sweat away from our skin has been wonderful but it has a price. the material is tight, form fitting, and leaves nothing to the imagination.
This has me pondering...could our attire be contributing to a lack of self-worth? Self image issues? Lack of respect for our own beauty? Our incessant need to compare ourselves?
I have always been pretty modest. For as long as I can remember, I have never really liked summer attire, especially swimming gear! Maybe as a teen and young adult it had to do with what I saw in the mirror, and poor self-image. But I am physically and mentally the healthiest I have ever been as I have entered 40's door. And personally I don't care what others think of me anymore.
I have learned how destructive self loathing, self criticism, and comparing can truly be. It is not productive! It is not from God!
What I have learned over the years is it doesn't matter how confident I am in my self-image: I do not like swim suites! I do not like clothing that plunges too much! I do not like skirts that reveal too much leg!
Take the bathing suit as an example. There is something fundamentally wrong with walking around in something that might cover the essential spots to maintain privacy, "modesty", but really how much more of a leap does it take for the mind to "uncover" the rest.
The moment I had a little girl I knew I wanted to instill in her a dignity in dress; a strength and pride in her sexuality; a beautiful respect and love for the body God gifted her with.
We have entered the pre-teen years with her; I noticed a shift in some of her outfit choices last year. She is still very modest and aware of covering herself. Yet she was becoming more comfortable with walking out the house in leggings, with skirts shorter than she wore in the past rather than longer, and sleeves falling off the shoulders.
It had me reflecting on where her fashion influences were coming from. There were some TV shows she watched that definitely covered all these attire issues I was having. There is definitely an influence from stores, media, everywhere....
But I also needed to reflect on my clothing. I am a large influence in her life. After all, our first examples for anything in life is from our parents. So, I had to ponder: was I possibly doing or wearing something that could be creating a mixed message?
I was still covering myself from head to toe. I don't like plunging necklines. I don't make it a habit to allow shoulders to show in church. I wear leggings under skirts but never by themselves. The list goes on.
I am not a prude....I am not patting myself on the back..I am just stating the facts!
Point is: I am very aware of how, we as women, have a responsibility in our attire. I am aware of how we can lead a man into the near occasion of sin through our attire and our actions.
I am very aware of, whether we as women like it or not, must dress with dignity, with modesty, with respect....not just to help the mind and soul of the opposite sex, but to also protect our own self-worth and dignity!
Thus, I started to reflect on my own attire. I realized many cloths are becoming easier to wash and not iron, not becoming worn out as much because of the awesome materials, they are made of. They are becoming easier to wear, due to stretchy material to lend to all body types. BUT, this comes with a price.
I realized even though I may work out in leggings and tank tops at home..I wouldn't want to leave out in public that way. That is walking around naked.
But...I have other cloths that maybe aren't far removed from that same look.
Take my yoga pants for example. They may flare at the bottom but they are form fitting from the waist to knee. they are great to workout in, comfy to throw on for quick errands, and many more reasons to wear them!
BUT....am I being modest enough to just go out in them? Maybe a way I can make a more conscience effort is if I do go out in yoga pants I layer them with a cute little wrap skirt, or tennis skirt. I can even use this same layering concept with the workout leggings if I am in a hurry to run an errand real quick!
Maybe I can use one of the extra long yoga shirts that cover and hang to about mid thigh or longer? Maybe with some of my dresses I can make sure they are layered with a light sweater, if they are more form fitting?
I can show and teach my daughter that we can be feminine and fashionable, have fun with our style, without revealing or sacrificing our true sexuality, self worth, dignity.
***Just think of jeggings! What are their purpose? In reality they are leaving NO imagination! they may cover but they still "reveal" all!
I've been reading and learning more in this topic because it is near and dear to me. I believe it has a huge impact and backing behind so many of the immorality issues in our society today. In addition to all the self-worth issues!
Through some of the books and and things I have been reading it has given me the opportunity to dig deeper and examine my own attire. Just because I may be "modest" doesn't mean I can't continually learn, improve, and grow! Every topic, issue, situation in life needs continual growth, and layering of learning! Think of an onion!!!
This topic is probably more important to me than so many more....I think it is more important than most people give it credit or time!
I think it is an area we can ALL continually learn and grow from.
We all want to look and feel attractive. But what are we willing to sacrifice. And at what cost!?
It reminds me of a story a friend shared with me.
A man told her once that he enjoys attending mass at a particular parish because during communion time he is able to watch all the "little" girls go up for communion with their little skirts showing all sorts of things.
IS THIS WHAT HE IS THINKING ABOUT INSTEAD OF.....I JUST RECEIVED CHRIST!
If a man is willing to "undress" our daughters during mass, during the most profound moment of the sacrifice of our Mass, what is he willing to do outside of Mass?
What can we do better, as women to lead men toward Christ?
What can we do better to show we truly love ourselves as Christ wants us to?
To trust God...to believe we are worth more than we are giving, than we are settling for!
Empower yourself...empower your daughter...empower another young girl in your life by constantly striving to love yourself through your thoughts and your actions and your prayer!!!
Empower yourself...by respecting your beautifully made body!
Faith is love...
love is lasting...
It is true power in faith and love!
As always....I would love your feedback, your engaging conversation....comments!
And remember to checkout all the above links. I always add links throughout the blog to share with you some of my favorite places and/or resources!
Learning is living...
living is loving...
loving is learning...