Is there some part of your physical self that you dislike? If your answer is yes, then I get it.
I was a happy and blessed young boy, being gifted with wonderful parents and a comfortable home. I was active and spent most of my days outside riding my bike, climbing trees, and playing games of all kind. I was a skinny little guy with a ton of energy.
For some reason as I entered this major season of life, along with the normal changes, I began to grow what most today would call, “Man Boobs.” I still wasn’t obese or even fat, but for some reason, I was one of those unlucky guys who developed fat in my breast area. In fact, they were so large that I was checked by a physician to make sure there wasn’t any female parts. There wasn’t. It was just fat. And although I didn’t know it at the time, it is actually a condition that many boys get when they enter their teen years.
All I knew was…I had boobs…and…I HATED THEM! And what’s more, I was filled with shame because of them. I remember “friends” picking on me because they could see how large they were under my t-shirt. I remember my grandfather, a man I deeply loved and respected, joking with me one day as I retreated from the river after a swim: “Boy, you need a bra.” He was joking, as were my friends, but my spirit didn’t laugh it off. What I did was internalize the pain and shame. I remember having to go to basketball coaches and secretly tell them that I couldn’t be on the “skins” side. I remember when my church youth group would go to the beach (Don’t forget I was raised along the ocean.) and I spent the entire time on the sand, never getting in the water for I was afraid they would see my large boobs. I remember surfing with my buddies in high school and always wearing a shirt regardless of the heat and the discomfort. In fact, I never went shirtless in public until my current wife, who is amazing, encouraged me to do so.
That’s right…even now…I have “MAN BOOBS.” And truthfully, I still don’t like them and have often thought many times of having them medically reduced. I just haven’t ever done it. Besides, it is actually a little more common with old guys like me. HaHa
The one thing I know for sure is that physical condition impacted my self-esteem. Did it crush me? No. Did it keep me from successes and achievements? No. But it did have a life-long impact on my self-esteem and my feelings of worthiness. Part of me felt that no attractive female would ever desire a guy like me. I was wrong of course…but that is the way our minds sometimes work. My current wife has done wonders in this particular area of my thinking and I am so grateful to her for this unconditional love and acceptance. And of course, I thank her for her gentle nudging to push my shirtless activity.
So, let’s talk about you.
I imagine that anyone reading this blog post has at least one physical thing about yourself that you dislike, or may even “HATE.” First, let me say that’s normal. What isn’t okay is allowing it to hold you back. Allowing it to be an excuse for missing out on life sucks. I know…I did it for years. If that is you…that needs to change.
One way to change it is to find unconditional acceptance and support. Each time I go to the beach now, my wife looks at me and says, “Your look just fine.” That simple statement, and the smile from her beautiful face, speaks into my spirit that I am indeed fine. That’s when I slap on the lotion and enjoy my day like a love-sick teenager, walking the sand shore, splashing in the waves, and grabbing my lady every chance I can. Hey. I’m not that old. 🙂
One more thing that has helped is realizing that I don’t need other people’s approval of my looks to be happy. That’s a big one. And of course, it goes against everything our society teaches.
Hear me friend. We all have physical flaws… or at least what we consider flaws. Yep…all of us.
So…want a few practical things to think about?
Here you go:
- Realize your are a wonderful and unique creation with gifts and talents that this world needs…just as you are.
- Realize that some physical dislikes can be changed with effort but it make take time. (Through exercise and diet my wife says my breasts have decreased. I am not sure, but I trust her.).
- Realize that your physical “flaw,” especially if a life-long thing, has most probably had an impact on your self-esteem and may need to be dealt with in proactive healing.
- Be sensitive to children with visible physical differences. Be careful in your speech and be encouraging in your unconditional support and love. What we might think is a harmless pick, may truthfully be a life-long pain.
Okay…I have bared my chest to you…figuratively, of course. I have done so in hopes that my pain and experience might help us connect and through that, you might hear my words yet again when I say…
You are special as you are! Change if you must, but let it be for you, and love yourself through it all.
Blessings to you you all,