“Thinspiration,” Kate Upton, and Life-Changing Confidence

Filed under Self Worth Your Heart on Jan 24 13 by

I have this bad habit of reading everything on my Yahoo! Homepage. It’s not exactly high-quality journalism, but I’m the type of person who reads everything she comes across. The other day, I read a few articles about model Kate Upton. For those of you who don’t know who she is, her claim to fame is being featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated—and her curves are highly controversial in the fashion world. Kate may or may not be role-model material, but I tend to defend her for her healthy weight and real-girl curves. Over the past few months, Kate was slammed on a pro-skinny website for being too-heavy—the terms “cow” and “piggy” were used.

I browsed this website, and was very upset at the content. I remember coming across sites like this as a teen, and I didn’t realize that they were still in existence. At first, I was angry. The articles are full of “thinspiration” and bashing of “fat” people (I say “fat” because most of the women attacked were actually very thin, or average-sized). They encourage readers to eat just enough to survive and maintain a super-skinny figure.

If you’ve read my articles before, then you know that I’m not about to tell you that men like curves and bones are disgusting. Some women are naturally thin, and are perfectly beautiful just as they are. But if that’s not your natural figure, you shouldn’t be starving yourself to look like that.

The REAL, deep-down issue is this: our value is NOT based solely on our appearance. The even deeper issue is that we truly don’t understand where our real value comes from.

I digress. This isn’t the issue that’s really bothering me. This isn’t a thin vs. fat war, nor do I want to wage war on the anonymous blogger who upkeeps this website. The real issue isn’t how big or small you are. Though I believe we should take care of ourselves, it isn’t even about how healthy you are. The REAL, deep-down issue is this: our value is NOT based solely on our appearance. The even deeper issue is that we truly don’t understand where our real value comes from.

In the search for self-worth, people are desperate to find something—some characteristic, some talent, some skill—that makes them feel special, precious, and valuable. When we are blind to the true source of value, it’s only natural that we derive it from something else, whether that be our appearance, our grades in school, our success in the work-world, or in our dating life. We’ve lost our true reason for existence, so we make these idols of our bodies and our brains and we glorify what we are—or we criticize what others aren’t—in order to make ourselves feel worthwhile.

I used to think that some of these things would give me value. If I were looking for value in things that eluded me, I could spend my whole life striving for those things, living for the hope that someday I would achieve one of them and feel fulfilled. But the true hopelessness comes for those who achieve what they desire. What if your goal in life was to be 98 pounds? Let’s say that you achieve that goal, and you finally have the body you dreamed of. Or maybe your goal is to climb the corporate ladder. Maybe you finally reach your goal of becoming the CEO of a company, and you have all the money and success you ever desired. Or maybe your goal is to get a guy to like you. Maybe you meet and marry the guy of your dreams. Once you get what you want, you are certain to realize that it wasn’t everything you thought it would be. You might be happy about your weight for a short time, but your self-esteem problem won’t be fixed. You’ll realize that your weight doesn’t fulfill you, or you’ll find a new body hang-up to obsess over. As the CEO, you probably will recognize that business isn’t as fulfilling as what you thought. Maybe you did things that you never thought you would do to work your way up. Or maybe now you have to face the fact that having money doesn’t cure anxiety or make you any happier. And maybe that guy of your dreams isn’t everything you thought he was. Even if he is the perfect guy, you still find that the hole you feel deep in your soul isn’t really filled by him.

As long as we are looking for value within ourselves, it will elude us. But we will be filled with value and overwhelmed with a sense of purpose when we seek it from Him.

Trying to find fulfillment in things is a draining and never-ending pursuit that will leave you exhausted and empty. But there is Someone who desires to set us free from this rat-race—Someone who holds value, purpose, and fulfillment in His hands, and desires to grant those things to His children. We were created by God to worship Him, and we will only find our value and the satisfaction of our deepest longings in the middle of an intimate relationship with Him. As long as we are looking for value within ourselves, it will elude us. But we will be filled with value and overwhelmed with a sense of purpose when we seek it from Him.

It’s easy for me to forget where I came from. Sometimes in the midst of this powerful confidence I now enjoy, I forget about the panic-ridden, self-conscious, and lonely little girl that I’ve spent so much time running away from. I forget about the girl who frequently believed that she was the “only one who struggled with this”. Thankfully, God didn’t ignore her or try to sweep her under the rug. Instead, He took her hand and told her that He had a plan for her that was so much bigger than anything she could have dreamed up for herself. Enduring her doubt and listening patiently to every anxious thought, He showed her how to be the woman He envisioned when she was not yet born. This same God that rescued me yearns to lead you to confidence in Him.

Confidence frees you to dream bigger and do grander things with the God who created you.

One final thought: I used to think that this confidence was what I was seeking, that it was the end-prize. As it turns out, this is only a foundation. Once the foundation is set in place, there’s so much more – so much more! – that can be done with your life. Confidence simply frees you to dream bigger and do grander things with the God who created you.

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Lauren D'Alessandro
As the founder of The You Are Project’s print magazine and blog, Lauren is passionate about developing publications that inspire creativity and action. Lauren is the Editor-in-Chief of You Are REAL and the creator and manager of our website. Her dream is to continue using writing and publications as tools for communicating God’s love to the world. Keep up with her latest endeavors at laurendalessandro.com.