A few weeks ago, I was talking with a woman a little older than I am about my goals. Among other things, I expressed to her that I really wanted to be married one day and eventually have a family. I opened up to her, telling her that being a part of a healthy, Christ-centered marriage has always been important to me and that ever since I was little I’ve dreamed about the idea of having a bunch of kids running around my house.
Without skipping a beat, she asked “Well, how old are you?”
“24,” I told her. Thinking to myself ‘Oh boy… here we go…’
“Well ya better get on it! You’re not getting any younger, girlfriend!” she laughed casually, before changing the subject.
I laughed and told her that I agreed. But, I didn’t. What I felt, deep down, was shame. This exchange made realize just how often we, as women, fall victim to these types of casual, off-handed remarks.
"How are you still single? I can't believe somebody hasn’t snatched you up by now!"
"Maybe you're just too picky."
"Have you ever thought about getting on Bumble?"
"You need to put yourself out there more!"
"You could always freeze your eggs… You know, just in case." (I really wish I was joking about this one)
Of course, my friend meant no harm by her comment. She probably thought she was helping me out – giving me a lesson on the ‘ole biological clock – just in case I missed that day in anatomy. At the heart of it though, I was left wondering: Am I not good enough just as I am?
To be honest, I find myself wondering this a lot. I think it's because there is so much pressure to “stack up” in our culture. The world tells us there is something wrong with us if, we’re still single at a certain age, don’t make a certain income, don’t look or act a certain way... The list could go on forever.
As someone who tends to get stuck in her head a lot and fixate on all of her perceived flaws, a lot of times "measuring up" seems like an impossible feat. I find myself beating myself up, convincing myself that I need to be more, do more, be better, do better. But here is what I've realized: Telling yourself what a failure you are won’t make you any more successful. Telling yourself you’re not living up to your full potential won’t help you reach a higher potential. Telling yourself you’re unlovable won’t make you feel any more lovable.
I know it sounds almost annoyingly simple, but you can’t hate yourself into a version of yourself you love. You are enough just as you are. And self-love will be a little bit easier every time you remind yourself of that.
Photography by Garrett Lobaugh