It was the 90s and I must have been at my heaviest weight ever or real close to it.
And if you remember fashion during the 90s it was loud, it was bright, it was colorful.
Again, this is the 90s and plus size fashion was sorely wanting.
Nothing ever truly fit. Most clothes made for overweight women were very tent-like in their construction.
Even at nearly 300 pounds, I wore bright colors, sported the short Haley Berry haircut that was all the rage and a pair of retro cat sunglasses.
I might have been overweight and plus size fashion may have been horrific but I went out of my way to find things that worked for me and allowed me to be the 20 something I was. So what I was married and had a two-year old. I was young and wanted to feel good about myself even though lots of things were tearing at me internally. That’s a blog post for another day though.
Imagine my surprise one Sunday when across the pulpit comes a message directed towards me and my style of dress. I’m gonna guess the scripture for that message must have been on women dressing modestly because what came next absolutely floored me.
The minister said that God made small birds bright colors because they were small.
God made the elephant gray because it was very large and that we should take our cue from the animals. If you’re very large stay out of loud, bright colors and only if you’re small you can wear the bright pretty colors. Never mind the giraffe which is yellow or the crow which is black.
That Sunday I was utterly humiliated and personal opinion wrapped in a so-called word-from-the-Lord sent whatever self-esteem I did have plummeting. I probably should have gone into counseling at that point because it would take YEARS to recover, heal and make peace with my body.
Back then as a young woman in my 20s, other people’s opinion mattered. I was a chronic people pleaser. I wanted to be loved and accepted by all.
That was then.
I credit journaling for helping me to work through my issues and in them I learned how to see myself as God sees me.
That change in view didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen.
So on this Independence Day I encourage you to declare your independence of what other’s think of you. I urge you to free yourself from other’s condemnation and misplaced expectations. Those were never yours to carry. Their opinion is just that…theirs.
The response “So what?” is sometimes a very healthy and freeing response to other’s negativity.
Say a quick prayer for them and keep moving forward.
Because what every celebrity will tell you is that someone will always have something to say and the number of opinions on what you do or do not do will continue to escalate.
So here’s how I suggest you begin your own freedom journey:
- Talk to somebody! Talk things through with a professional, certified, licensed therapist or counselor. If you have a tendency to people-please, you’re more than likely keeping your feelings bottled up inside and those feelings are manifesting in all sorts of ways. I promise I know. Remember, I said I was nearly 300 pounds.
- Journal your way to healing. Through journaling I was able to write my way to healing. I wrote down prayers, answers to those prayers, lessons learned and all my aha moments. Of course I recommend the This Woman Knows journal. You can purchase yours here.
- Meditate on what God says about you. This was huge for me. I created a list of all the things I knew God had created me to be. I called it my core list and I would sit and meditate on each item on that list. This was so instrumental on turning my thinking around. It also worked wonders for my self-esteem that had been ripped to shreds that Sunday morning. I could be confident in who I was because of what God had already said about me.
As you enjoy family and friends today and all the barbecue and other festivities, I hope today is the day you begin your own freedom journey to rediscovering the real you and release yourself from the opinions of others.
#ThisWomanKnows (for real…she does)
Lisa N. Alexander is the author and founder of This Woman Knows and What Million-Dollar Brands Know. She is a women’s leadership speaker and marketing consultant known as The Marketing Stylist™. She speaks on topics ranging from women’s empowerment to successfully marketing your business and uses her wit and humor to inform and entertain audiences. For booking information please visit www.LisaNAlexander.com.