It's taken Jasmine "Jazzy" Owens a long time to love her body. The beautiful mother-of-two battled depression before finally accepting "every roll, every curve and every stretch mark." She opened up about her body image journey when she posted a beach photo from a vacation with her adoring husband. And when body-shamers attacked, Jasmine stood her ground.
When you look at this world's unrealistic standard of beauty, it's easy to get discouraged. It's a plight many women face -- accepting themselves the way God made them, not the way society tells them they should look.
For Jasmine, it was a tough battle.
"I hated the way I looked during the depression," she explained. "But when I started feeling better, I thought I should share that experience and inspire other women that may be going through the same thing to feel the same way."
Jasmine started an Instagram page for just this purpose. She hoped the story of her own struggle with self-acceptance would inspire and encourage others.
Beach Photo Goes Viral
It was on Instagram where Jasmine shared the now famous beach photo of her next to her husband -- a man who loves and adores her just the way she is. It's a love she wrestled to understand during her depression.
"Over the years this man has loved every curve, every roll, and every stretch mark on my body. I never understood why," she wrote. "How could he love something that isn't 'perfect'? How could a man who was 'born fit' love someone like me? I don't have a flat stomach, I jiggle when I walk. . ."
Most of us are probably familiar with this type of self-doubt. As Christians, we often wonder the same thing of God. How could He love sinners like us?
"But now I see I do have the 'perfect' body!!" Jasmine went on to say. "Every roll, every curve and every stretch mark is put on me just perfect to make both of us happy!!! I love my body and I finally see why he does too!!"
When Jasmine shared her post, she never imagined it would go viral. But it did. And while many applauded Jasmine, some bullies tried to body-shame her.
Beach Photo Gets Attacked
Jasmine posted one of the particularly nasty comments to her Instagram page. In it, the attacker accused Jasmine of promoting a "physically unfit" lifestyle, and told her to "stop your delusion, these pics are gross and has already been shared as a meme."
Earlier this morning I got this very negative comment! Starting this journey publicly I knew that I would get some negative comments and I TRIED to prepare myself for the day that they started. But when I saw this comment no lie it hurt! It stabbed me hard, harder then I thought it was going to! So I had to take a step back and think to myself .. why would someone be so hateful of another person! Why would they say such rude things. But then I figured it out! People like this hate on others because they are not happy with themselves! This person does not know me! They don't know that I am VERY healthy and WILL live for my kids! They don't know that I eat healthy, hike, go to the gym all the time and can most likely out lift them any day! Just because I'm a big girl doesn't mean I'm unhealthy and promoting being unhealthy! I'm simply promoting loving yourself the way you are! Never did I say unhealthy is the way to be. So for others that want to downplay me as a person and what I am trying to accomplish, go ahead leave your negative comment! They will only be used as fuel to my fire of promoting happiness!! ? ? ? #youarebeautiful #positivevibes #plussizegang #positivity #plussize #aspiringmodel #allshapesandsizes #aspiringplussizemodel #everyoneisbeautiful #effyourbodystandards #effyourbeautystandards #confidence #celebratemysize #motivation #bodylove #beautiful #bodypositivity #bodypositive #positive #positivity #lovemybody #lovemybelly #loveyourbody #loveyourself #youarebeautiful #nonegativity #nostereotypes #iamblessed #thankful #tummylove #thickthighs #thunderthighs
Jasmine knew her Instagram page would open her up to criticism. She says she tried to prepare for it.
"But when I saw this comment no lie it hurt," she said on Instagram. "It stabbed me hard, harder then I thought it was going to!"
In that kind of hurt, it's easy to lash out in anger. But Jasmine took a step back and thought about what was really behind the attack.
"People like this hate on others because they are not happy with themselves," she said.
Jasmine realized you can either let the haters bring you down, or you can rise above.
"Just because I'm a big girl doesn't mean I'm unhealthy and promoting being unhealthy! I'm simply promoting loving yourself the way you are," she explained. "Never did I say unhealthy is the way to be. So for others that want to downplay me as a person and what I am trying to accomplish, go ahead leave your negative comment! They will only be used as fuel to my fire of promoting happiness!!"
Focusing On The Positive
As you might expect, this is not the first or last time Jasmine has received a negative response to her journey of self-acceptance. But she says the messages of support far outweigh the criticism.
And so, if she had it all to do again, she'd post the beach photo in an instant!
"Even though it scares me to have the whole world see me, it also brings me joy to know that I am not hiding any longer," she said. "This response has motivated me to love myself even more and to try to help other women and men love themselves - no matter what they look like."
There's a good reason we're told not to conform to this world. It tells us we have to look a certain way, act a certain way, own certain things. It constantly presents a standard we can't possibly reach. But through our identity in Christ we are already loved and accepted just as we are!
"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." 1 John 2:15-17
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