Sunday, February 07, 2010

Sunday thoughts

Last Sunday, Jill and I were able to go and hear April and her sister Rachel give their fireside about body image (called More Precious Than Rubies). It was amazing. There was so much food for thought here, and I was surprisingly emotional throughout the presentation.

Here are the highlights from my notes:

- When we spend (waste) time wishing we are something we are not, all we do is waste the gifts that God has given us.

- Satan has filled the world with lies and deceptions about the body. He wants us to either despise or worship our bodies, to view them only as objects. (Sister Tanner)

- Body image is not based on fact, nor is it inborn.

- Only 2% of women describe themselves as beautiful.

- Young girls are more fearful of being fat than of nuclear war or of losing their parents.

- When your feelings are determined by others' perceptions, you give away your power.

- Heavenly Father's definition of beauty never changes. The world's is constantly changing.

- According to the world's definition of beauty, we will never be enough. Advertisers profit by making us feel bad about our appearance.

- It is insane what society is doing to women. Heavenly Father needs strong, righteous women who will not be distracted by Satan's lies.

How do we fight it?

1. Remember your divine worth and the reason you came to earth.

Do not be critical of yourself or others.

Every adult woman is a powerful force for good.

What could be more powerful for Satan than to distract us from saving the world?

2. Forget yourself and serve others.

Do everything you can to make your appearance pleasing, but the minute you walk out the door, forget yourself and concentrate on others.

If all you can see are your flaws, put down your mirror and pick up a window.

3. Fight "Fatism"

Even in whimsy, we must not say destructive things, especially to a child. They may need years to forget, and to forgive.

Use language that uplifts, encourages, and compliments others. We can make our homes a safe haven.

A lot of anti-family messages target young women. The media messages coming to our youth are anti-children.

Have a celebration in your house about adolescent development.

4. Remember bodies have power!

All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not. (Joseph Smith)

5. Question media messages.

Question everything you see. Don't partake in feeling badly about yourself.

1 Peter 5:8 -- be sober, be vigilant -- the Devil walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

6. Affirm that your body is perfect the way it is.

No one will do it if you don't.

The specific plan that Heavenly Father has for us includes the specific body that we have been given.

That #6 is what really got me. I have body issues, no doubt about it. I struggle with not feeling badly about myself. I certainly have never, ever thought that my body was perfect the way it is. But April shared some of her own experiences and was very convincing on this point. I felt as if she was talking into my very soul, telling me that this body of mine can teach me things that I might not be able to learn in any other way. I certainly need to think more about this.

Basically, I could not stop crying through the whole last part of the presentation. You should know that I am not a crier, so I was taken aback. Yet I could not stop. So when Jill and I went up to meet April afterwards, I was a red-rimmed, bleary-eyed mess.

The three of us just hugged. I love meeting blog friends! We're already friends, but meeting in person just adds a new dimension. (For instance, I didn't know April had a sexy voice.)

I wish that everyone could hear this presentation, my notes just do not do it justice. April and Rachel are so dynamic, so compelling, and their words so powerful. April, you're one of my heroes!


Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Whoa. This IS food for thought, Michelle. I really appreciate you passing it on and reminding us of what is really important.

"Red-rimmed, bleary-eyed,"--I can't think of a better way to meet someone and to let them know that what they taught made an impact. The body's way of telling another, you made a difference, thank you.

Amy said...

April does have a huge talent for getting straight to the heart of a matter - and making you cry AND laugh simultaneously. I loved this presentation when she did it for my ward. Definitely food for thought.

Jill said...

I'm so glad we were able to go to April's fireside, it was powerful.

I feel like I need to be completely deprogrammed from a lifetime of body image indoctrination! I keep telling myself this was the body I was meant to have.

Barb said...

Thank-you for all the notes! I came >this close< to getting to pull together a fireside for my YW with April, but then her family got sick and didn't make it this far east (I never thought I'd describe Alberta as east) on her summer vacation.

charlotte said...

That's stuff I think we all need to hear again. I know I can often use those reminders. Thanks for sharing, Michelle.

rebekah said...

You know, I think a benefits to being, ahem, 'plus-size' all of my life is that I've always had to construct my own definitions of beauty and worth. It's helped me look at myself more kindly, and gain a stronger testimony of what beauty and worth truly are.

Melinda said...

Wow, these notes are so so great. Something I really needed to read. Too bad April can't meet with each ward and stake to give this presentation. This is so great.

Susan said...

I do believe that our physical bodies tend to make us more self-centered when they are less than we want them to be. It seems we think too much about ourselves and not enough about others for sure.

Good thoughts. Our perception of ourselves is much harsher than that of others.

You look WAY too cool in that Paris scarf! I've tried it a few times, but always feel overwhelmed by it!

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