The image

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Comparisons, coveting, leads to death. In my case, it lead to the death of my self esteem. This is the beautiful Brazilian actress Gabriela Alves (she changed her name to Gabriela Toulier), the image I coveted.

15 years ago I looked at this girl - who wasn’t fat to begin with but lost more weight - and I decided I wanted to be like her. What a huge mistake. I became what I beheld. Through this image I was introduced to a tyrant constantly telling me I wasn’t thin or good enough. I read a book that describes what happened to me:

“A tyrant can never be pleased. No effort presented by its subjects is ever quite good enough. A tyrant will not grant any lasting approval to those in his vice grip, for tyranny gains its power through constant disapproval and abuse of its subjects. Those under its power labor tirelessly under the false hope that one day they will please their master and be rewarded. Then they will be whole, happy, free, and loved. But this is a lie. This taskmaster will not be pleased; he refuses to be. He is always manufacturing yet another image of perfection with which to taunt his subjects – one that is younger, stronger, thinner, and more beautiful. Though you know you can never match this image, you continually strive for acceptance.
There is a way of scape… Now is the time to walk away from it all.I believe you can be free from the bondage of weight. Your present outward condition reflects a deeper inner turmoil. This captivity did not start on your exterior frame. It began in secret, deep within, and it has worked its destruction from the inside out.”
from You are not what you Weigh by Lisa Bevere.
Lisa continues to say that the tyrant begins its attack as a friendly voice that says maybe you should loose 10 pounds and then intensifies its attacks saying “don’t eat that; it will make you fat!” “She is thinner than you” Then, “You’re huge! You’re disgusting!”
Then come the comparisons. Soon you’re not just listening, you are believing.
I have nothing but admiration for Gabriela who is a talented, hardworking artist. My mistake was to think that I should be like Gabriela. I lost the weight but I still looked in the mirror and this voice in my mind was telling me I was still fat. 14 years later, God showed me the way out of this vicious cycle of wanting to be thin like someone else. Dr. Linda Mintle says we need to look at God’s word in order to find contentment.

“We have to look at who we are and how God uniquely made us. If you don’t know who you are then you are going to look at all these people and you’re try going to compare yourself. So you have to go to God and His word and it tells us who we are in Christ and once you get that in your brain you don’t have to compare ourselves with other people,” she said.
She also said that in adolescence we try to find our uniqueness by being the same. I thought this was fascinating. I was trying to be unique but I was totally wrong.
I want to thank God I am free from that tyrant or that image that tried to keep me in bondage for years. I am free to be myself with all my uniqueness. I celebrate what God has done in me.
I pray that you stop comparing yourself with someone else, whether they are your neighbor, an actress or a picture of the old you. God has something new and exciting He wants to do in your life. We just have to be open and available.