While living on-campus at BYU, I've started to wonder where healthy practices turn to obsessions or societal pressures. Mormon culture can be difficult to explain when it comes to body image. We claim that everyone is a child of God and that as His children, we are all equals among each other. We also seek to become the best that we can be while we're on this earth. Unfortunately, in many Mormon societies, a massive emphasis is placed on physical appearance rather than spiritual equality. In fact, Utah is ranked as one of the highest states for superficial beauty as well as being known as one of the largest plastic surgery industries in the nation.

In all honesty, its no wonder that so many girls (including myself) have low self-esteem. We expect too much of ourselves, and we can't accept our realities as good. "Expectation is the root of all heartache."

Whenever I walk to my classes, a football game, to the store, or even to my car, I see at least one girl on campus running. I have to admit, I am a little jealous that they have the motivation and time to even exercise! However, for some girls it becomes an obsession. A performance that they want other people to see. Rather than the campus being academically competitive, many focus on keeping it physically competitive. ("Dress-Sized")

I've heard girls from out of state tell me that boys in Utah are really finicky when it come to girls. She has to be a certain way, and more so look a certain way. I'm certain this isn't true for all LDS boys in the state, but again, at least on campus, appearance is everything. Their ideal girl seems to be 125 lbs, long hair, clear skin, and petite.   

During my experiences battling my own insecurities concerning my body, I've had many chances to contemplate the value that I have as an individual. Obviously, I don't fit the standards of today's world, or even BYU society. What am worth if I can't fit in?

"But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."
Samuel 16: 7

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight." 
1 Peter 3: 3-4 (New International Version Bible)

Whenever I reach my lowest points, I try to remind myself that:

1. I like who I am.
2. My body was a gift.
3. I must be worth something, because my Savior died for me.

Sometimes it can be really hard to see yourself as God does, rather than what society thinks of you. Every soul is beautiful, we just came to earth in different packages.

I struggle everyday with my appearance and trying to see the beauty that is within me. I'm grateful to have the trial of an eating disorder in my life, it has refined me and how I see the world.

I may never fit the standards that society has set, but why should I care? The only opinions that matter are mine and the Lord's.

I know that when I follow His standards, I am never inadequate.

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