Here’s to strong women
May we know them
May we be them
May we raise them.
We value strength because strength is something we all need from time to time. It’s a gift from God, something we rely on and something we can share with the small humans we raise. We create it when we build up the women in our lives, including ourselves and our daughters. When we use our words to sow life. When we choose to see the value of other humans and voice what we appreciate of them. Basically, and quintessentially;
Strength is placing our identity into the hands of love.
What does that look like, practically, IRL?
Well, you’ve been there. Standing in front of the mirror, scrutinizing yourself. Thinking about what can be done about the softness at your middle, the discolouration on your face, the acne, the scars, the tired look set in deeper than your eyes, the shape of your legs. Then your child spots you and says, “Mummy, you look beautiful”. Or your child has said, “Your boobies make great cushions”, or “When will I look like you?”. To them, that which you look like, is that which brings them comfort, that which fulfils their needs and the first beauty they have ever known. You are their first picture of beauty. Their first picture of love.
Your body wasn’t made to fit into the photo lens of society’s expectation. Your body was made to be a vastly functional tool with which you embrace your loved ones and the world. A vessel with value far beyond the way that it looks. And, well, the thing is, you will never be satisfied with how it looks, not entirely. It is a losing battle, one of the few not worth fighting. I won’t preach body positivity, I won’t tell you to love your body. For one, this is difficult and secondly, it is not all that necessary.
Hear me out. How many times a day do you spare a thought on your appearance? How many times has it stopped you from doing something? How many times has it affected what you wear? Or how you speak about yourself? What if instead of spending energy on affirming your physical image, you swapped out those thoughts for something entirely unrelated? How about replacing body-love with body-neutrality? How about accepting your body instead of loving your body? How about shifting your focus from your body to your heart? Bringing to attention that what we think rather than that we see.
We know what is important, but the focus can so easily go askew because of the sheer volume of images that flood our daily lives. We need to make a conscious choice to focus our thoughts on that which builds us up, our children, our family, our community and our God. Our beauty isn’t contained to just our bodies. Our beauty is in the way we love. When we love others, we strengthen not only others but ourselves. When we live like people that know that their worth is indisputable; when we live like we are loved; we are relying on a strong beyond us, a strength that comes from an unconditionally loving God.
Here’s to strong women,
To believe they are worthy.
May we know them,
May we reciprocate love.
May we be them,
May we accept love.
May we raise them,
By modelling wise self talk.
Written by Gabriela Antonini who chronicles snapshots of her moments on @g_and_tribe, inbetween receiving breakfast in bed via remote control car from one of her three lively children, sharing chocolate with her theologian husband, feeding her ever-hungry progeny or singing the lyrics wrong with her husband. She is often found with her nose in a book, at the beach, up a tree or carrying around a teapot. Born in Slovakia, a childhood spent in Melbourne, she mainly appreciates now living in Perth for its exquisitely mild, boring weather.