“When you stand on your own in front of a mirror completely naked, if you can accept that reflection, you are in such a more affluent place, to feel so much better about your life.” Gok Wan
Gok Wan a British stylist and image expert visited the Today show Friday as a part of their on-going “Love Your Selfie” series. Gok believes that women don’t have to learn to “love” their bodies, but they do need to learn to accept them.
Gok’s solution is three-fold: looking, learning, and loving. He has women strip down and stare at themselves in the mirror. Once they are happy…then he dresses them back up again. (Fabulously, of course).
My husband thought it was laugh out loud funny that a man would come up with this solution for women. “Yes, ladies, I know you struggle…everyone just get it all off… and I know it’ll help you feel better!”
He believes that clothes don’t help the problem. The problem is under the clothing and so those of us who struggle with body image may be just camouflaging our problems with our wardrobe.
I actually agree with Gok when he says you don’t have to love your body.
And, I concur: having great clothes doesn’t help a problem that’s on the inside.
But, I disagree with him on just about everything else. As someone who has struggled with her body image for decades, I know that the old “knowledge is power” adage does not apply to the realm of physical appearance. Really, Gok? Just stare at myself in the mirror until I love my cellulite and love handles? I don’t think so…
For women who struggle I think there has to be a better answer. Especially for Christian women. . . we should have something that gives us more hope for our struggle.
But, I don’t think the answer is that Sunday school answer we’ve been fed, over and over again. I don’t think the answer is that Christian women need to just “love their bodies” realizing that God made everyone beautiful and, “It’s what’s on the inside that counts.”
The truth is, God makes all things beautiful…but we live in a fallen world. Our souls aren’t home yet. There are biblical accounts of women who were empirically ugly. How do we reconcile that?
The truth is, staring at ourselves until we like what we see is futile. Freedom isn’t found in learning to love ourselves or this physical body we will use for our 90 years or so on this earth.
Freedom from our body image struggle is found in self-forgetfulness. Freedom from worrying about thighs that touch and belly flab that hangs over the top of low-rise jeans is discovered when we stop obsessing over what we look like and shift our focus upwards and outwards. But, doing that…that’s hard.
Gok is right–the reflection isn’t going to change, our opinion of the reflection (also called our body image) is where the work needs to be done.
The problem is in our hearts. The challenge is that we believe that beauty matters too much. We want to look different, desperately, because we believe that it would give us life.
But, only Jesus does that.
More on this topic soon. In fact, I’ve spent the last four months working on a LOT more on this topic. So, if you want real answers for your body image struggles, I hope you’ll subscribe to this blog and ask your friends to follow it too!