Building A Better Body Image – 5 Things Every Late Teen Should Know

Body image is a priority for all, but carries an even greater significance for young adults. Not only does looking good make us feel good. It additionally has a huge impact on the way others view us, which further influences self-confidence and other features.

There’s no better time to start your positive body transformation. After all, it’s easier to make those changes while you’re still young. But before you do, it’s imperative that you equip yourself with the necessary knowledge to gain great results. Here’s everything you need to know.

Negative influences will take their toll. This is the stage of your life where you may be more likely to fall into the traps of alcohol consumption. There’s nothing wrong with a night out on the town, however, trading some of those beverages for mocktails can bring huge rewards. They are still fun in social settings but don’t come with the consequences of alcohol.

Your body can use a boost during those early stages. If you want to gain a better body, there’s a strong chance that you have made past mistakes. An organic detox tea can aid your general well being to leave you feeling healthier than ever. This is the perfect foundation for building a successful workout and healthy eating plan too. Apart from anything else, those two breaks for a cuppa give you a great chance to reflect and plan things.

Motivation is everything. If working out feels like a chore, you will not keep it up for the long haul. Therefore, finding ways to stay motivated throughout your workouts is key. Whether it’s in the gym or on the track, this will have a telling impact on the efficiency of those activities. Most importantly, though, you need to ensure that skipped sessions don’t become a regular feature. When this happens, progress will be slowed. Consequently, that will send the likelihood of giving up through the roof.

The human body changes with age. Puberty affects everyone differently. Therefore, you may just need to accept that the body you had during your early teens simply isn’t possible. Learn to love the skin you’re in by focusing on achieving the best possible version of you. Ultimately, if you can achieve this goal, then the opinions of anybody else become redundant. If that doesn’t allow you to become the happy and healthy person, what will?

It’s not all about your body. In truth, your facial features will always be the key to feeling your best. While girls will want to perfect their makeup rituals, boys just need to focus on good grooming. Clothing is an equally important element as your fashion choices are what bring the style and look to life. Whether you create your own personal appearance or borrow ideas from celebs doesn’t matter. Whatever you do, though, ensuring that those outfits fit is crucial.

Are You Thinking Of Going On A Beach Body Diet? Read This First!

Summer is coming, and if you’re an avid follower of your favorite celebrities on Instagram, you may have noticed that beach season is almost here. When the sun comes out, and the countdown to the end of the semester and long vacations begins, many young people feel pressure to shape up and try and get buff for the beach. If you’re thinking of going on a beach body diet, read this guide first. When it comes to weight loss, it’s essential to put your health first.

Having realistic expectations

We live in an age when it’s normal to see a stream of perfectly honed and toned beach bodies when we’re checking out our feeds and the latest news on social media. In days gone by, you only really saw images of women in bikinis and men in swim shorts if you were flicking through the pages of a swimwear catalog, but today, these pictures are plastered here, there, and everywhere.

There’s nothing wrong with aspiring to look and feel great on the beach, but try and make sure that you have realistic expectations. The photographs that you see in magazines and on billboards represent a very tiny portion of the population. The vast majority of people aren’t 5’10 and a size zero, and there’s nothing wrong with you if you don’t match this template. If you find yourself getting down about your body and the way you look when you scroll through bikini shots on Instagram, it’s worth remembering that images tend to be altered and enhanced, and there’s no one look, shape or size that represents beauty. Just because you’re short or you’re curvy, this doesn’t mean that you’re not beautiful. Give yourself a break from social media, and do what makes you happy. If you’d rather be a little smaller or leaner, there are ways of trimming down without crash dieting or living in the gym. If you’re happy as you are, don’t feel pressure to change.

Losing weight in a healthy way

It’s very common to try and lose weight when the summer sunshine arrives. Many of us do this so that we can feel more comfortable and confident when we wear summer clothes or expose some skin on vacation. If you do want to lose some weight, make sure you go about it in the right way. If you search online for weight loss tips, you’ll come across all kinds of miracle cures and products and plans that claim to help you shed pounds in days. Avoid fad diets, and resist the temptation to crash diet. You may lose weight quickly, but you’re likely to put it back on. It’s best to adopt a healthy eating plan, work out more, and take control of portion sizes and calorie consumption. If you’re thinking of joining a weight loss club or following a plan like those championed by social media influencers, read some reviews on sites like www.bikinibodyguidereview.com first. By doing this, you can learn more about what the program entails before you spend any money. If you don’t have the first clue when it comes to calories, you may find apps that track your intake useful. All you have to do is scan a barcode on a product or enter some details like the brand name, and the app will complete your daily food diary for you.

Enjoying the benefits of exercise

One of the best ways to feel more confident about your beach body is to embrace the many benefits of exercise. If you work out on a regular basis, you can build muscle definition and burn fat, but you’ll also notice benefits for your mental health. Exercise releases happy hormones, and it also gives you a natural high. It can be difficult to get into exercise if you’ve never done it before, but once it becomes part of your daily routine, you may find that you really enjoy training sessions. You don’t have to become a gym bunny to enjoy exercise. You can dance, join a cheerleading squad, play football, soccer or hockey, go for a run, hire a kayak or jump on your bike. Have fun, take friends along to classes with you or get out and about and enjoy the fresh air. For more ideas, have a look at http://www.health.com/fitness/10-fun-ways-to-get-fit-without-a-gym. Be wary of weighing yourself if you are working out regularly. You may find that your weight increases, as muscle tissue is denser than fat. Try and measure weight loss by how your clothes feel instead.

It’s very common for young people to try and lose weight or gain muscle in the run-up to summer vacation season. If you’re keen to do this, don’t put your health on the line or feel that you have to try and hit unrealistic goals. Follow these tips, and you’ll feel and look great before you know it.

Stop Feeling Like You’re Eighty In Your Twenties

It happens more than you think. Some people who are in their late twenties, perhaps early thirties feel a lot older. They hobble out of bed in the morning with aches and pains up and down their back. Halfway through the day, they reach the point of exhaustion, and they are constantly dragged down by headaches. Does that sound familiar? If it does, you’re probably getting old well before your time, and you need to do something about that right now. This is all about making sure you’re looking after your body and not developing those gray hairs before you hit thirty.

Green Is Great On You

Or in you, as the case may be because if you are struggling with consistent aches and pains, you definitely should be thinking about adding more greens to your diet. Broccoli is a particularly good vegetable to have regularly in your meals because it contains antioxidants. If you don’t know what antioxidants are the best way to describe them would be warriors against sickness and illness. They fight back against the oxidants that cause tremendous trouble for our bodies. Antioxidants are found in a wide variety of different healthy foods, and you may want to try a few to see what they can do for you.

Take A Helping Hand?

Of course, you might also want to think about speaking to a chiropractor to help you with those aches and pains. Whenever someone says chiropractor, you might immediately think about neck and back aches, but that’s not the only benefit that a professional chiropractor can bring to your life. They can improve how your body feels, even if you’re not in any pain and help you achieve a higher level of healthy living. So, even if you aren’t constantly rubbing your neck, this might be a service worth considering.

Work It Out

Did you know that exercise keeps the body young? Research has shown that through exercise you can actually decrease the aging of the cells in your bodies. So, when you one day reach forty, you might still feel twenty-five if you exercise regularly. It doesn’t even need to be high endurance exercise. Instead, you can try something like yoga. Great for the body and mind, yoga will ensure that you don’t feel old when you’re still paying off your student loans.

Take A Break

Finally, if you do feel exhausted day in and day out, it might be just a sign that you need some ‘me’ time. We all need a little time to ourselves every now and then, and studies have shown that happiness is directly correlated with holidays. As shocking as this might be, it is worth thinking about next time you think about skipping that family vacation. It could be exactly what your body needs to recover from the main stresses of working life.

Or, you might just want to squeeze a few minutes in each day where you’re dedicating some time purely for yourself. Sit down and read a great book, have a relaxing soak in the tub or perhaps just head out for a walk.

Natural Body Change Vs Health Issues That Need Your Attention

The transition from childhood to the life of a young adult is one of the most exciting times any of us will ever encounter. It’s a time packed with fun, happiness, and discovery as you start to turn dreams into reality. Amidst the enthusiasm for life, it’s not uncommon to face several uncertainties regarding your health.

As your body goes through adolescence, it will undergo several changes. The vast majority will be caused by natural factors in this part of your life. However, that shouldn’t be an excuse to ignore your body, especially as dismissing problems will often see them escalate. Here are some of the key elements to look out for.

Skin Problems

Many teenagers and young adults will encounter minor skin issues, including acne. This can be the source of huge frustration, which is why you should always look for suitable daily cleansers and treatments. However, skin issues don’t stop there.

Eczema and skin irritations can sometimes be more common during this stage of life, but they aren’t simply a part of natural body growth. Learn how to manage those problems by visiting www.stopitchy.com. Couple this with a smarter approach to makeup and you won’t go far wrong.

Body Size & Shape

As your body settles into its adult state, there’s a good chance that you will see alterations to height, weight, and body shape. While it is important to follow a healthy living plan, you shouldn’t fear those natural evolutions.

However, this period of life can bring many aches and pains too. Many of those can be managed with supports, and will eventually subside as you age. Then again, those joint pains could be a sign of cartilage damage or other long-term conditions. Without being a hypochondriac, seeking medical help when it’s needed is key. Whether it’s an injury or a condition, the worst thing you can do is keep exercising on it.

Stomach Issues

Cramping isn’t an uncommon issue during adolescence, especially for young women on one particular week of the month. However, there are a variety of other stomach-related conditions that won’t pass with age.

Of course, a one-off bout of pain could be due to many different reasons including impact injuries. However, long-term discomfort could be due to food intolerances, IBS, or an array of other issues. Find out more about testing at www.yorktest.com. If you do have a problem, it may require dietary changes for life. If it enables you to get back to living more comfortably, you’d be a fool to miss out.

Mental Health

Physical changes can often be spotted by friends and family too. However, mental health is something where you must learn to pay attention at all times. We all have low points, and learning to rub off regrets and search for positivity will serve you well. Then again, there are times where far greater action is required.

The stigma attached to conditions like anxiety is no longer there. So if you feel that you have an issue, the first step to recovery is to seek help. You’d be amazed at how quickly stress leaves the body after you’ve shared those issues. Besides, those experts can get you back to your best far sooner too. For the sake of your immediate and long-term happiness, getting this right is a must.

From Teen To Adult In 4 Steps

All girls will go through puberty at some point between the ages of nine and fourteen. This is the point at which a child’s body starts to grow and get ready for adulthood. There are some big changes that occur in a girl’s body during this time, some of which can be very strange and hard to come to terms with. However, no matter what happens to your body during puberty, there is no need to stress out about it! We have all been through it before and know exactly how you are feeling. Here are five of the most common things that change in a girl during puberty.

Breasts Develop

One of the most obvious physical changes to occur in a girl’s body is that her breasts will start to develop. At first, she will develop small breast buds, which will then become more fuller and grow into breasts. Not only will girls start to see these developments, but they will also start to feel them. That’s because their nipples will become slightly tender and sore. If you do find that your nipples and breast buds become painful, this is nothing to worry about and perfectly natural.

Periods Start

One of the main changes that girls worry about is the start of their periods. Most girls start at around 12 years old, but some can be as young as eight when they get their first period. There are various signs that signal a girl is about to get her period. These include a dull ache in her belly and a white discharge from the vagina. Once your period starts, you shouldn’t feel self-conscious about it. As long as you are using tampons or towels correctly, no one will be able to notice. Be sure to maintain good personal hygiene during the period, as this can reduce the development of infections: www.popsugar.com/moms/Signs-Yeast-Infection-Girls-30947431.

Notice The Opposite Sex More

During puberty, there will be some big hormonal changes in your body, and as a result, you will start to notice the opposite sex more. This means that you might start to fancy boys and could be sexually attracted to them. Even though you may feel ready to experiment sexually, you should wait until you are married. Abstinence is the best way to protect against unwanted guilt, regret, pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections: www.prioritystdtesting.com.

Gain Weight

Most girls find that they gain weight during puberty. This is a result of the hormonal changes, as the body is getting ready to bear children. You will find that your hips become a lot rounder and you start to develop fuller thighs and arms. Don’t worry, though; this doesn’t mean you are getting fat! It is just your body changing from a child’s into a woman’s! There are other factors that may affect the weight gain, such as going on the contraceptive pill.

Once you are prepared for puberty, you shouldn’t find the changes that much of a shock, and will be able to be happy throughout this phase!

Go SAD For Your Health

Health is a wonderful thing that keeps your mind and your body functioning. Until something goes wrong and then everything feels broken: The mind is out of focus, the body is out of shape, and you find that your mood is not as joyful as it used to be. Often, the cause of a health problem can be easily identified: Bad habits! Indeed, your body is able to sustain bad habits for a very long time before it starts showing signs of tear and wear. This is exactly why it’s important to take care of what you have now before it fails you tomorrow. When it comes to health habits, you might be thinking of fitness regime and hitting the gym every day or so. You are right! But don’t be fooled by it: There’s more to health than putting your favorite gym gear on – even if it’s the latest pair of running leggings from a sports brand! -, taking care of yourself means being aware of the factors that could harm your body or your mind and actively taking all the measures you can to prevent any risk. Some would even say that staying healthy is a full-time job! So, look out for the SAD factors of your health and make sure to monitor them closely.

S For Sexual Health

You have probably already heard the big S word, but don’t worry, today there won’t be any talk about the bees and the flowers! Sexual health is absolutely essential in your life as a young adult. Young adults are, by the way, a recent term that describes anybody from 13 to 14-year-old to 25+, and you probably came across the term in your local library. Books such as Harry Potter are for young adults, for example. What this means about your health, is that your body is as ready as it could be: There will be no further growth development. As a result, you should look at it as an adult body and consider the health risks of the grownup world. From your early 20s, you should start screening for cervical cancer, as well as self-examination for breast cancer. However certain health providers do give clinical breast exam for women over 20s. Additionally, if your periods cause you problems every month from severe cramps, heavy, long, frequent or irregular cycles, the pill might be something for you. You can even order the contraceptive pill online if this is the easiest way for you. 

A For Attentive Lifestyle

You need to be attentive to the signs that your body gives you: If you are feeling tired often, it may be more than a bad night sleep, you could be suffering from a deficiency in vitamins or minerals for example. As bad habits need time before they inflict their lasting effects, it’s essential that you use the time now to develop a healthy lifestyle that is focused around listening to your body. You will soon recognize the signs of healthy routines as your body will feel better for them. For instance, if you start going to the gym regularly, you will soon notice that your body doesn’t only get fitter and stronger, but your mood will improve, and your sleep will be more refreshing. The same argument is valid for switching to a healthy diet. The positive effects will rapidly be noticeable, and this will help you to redefine your health.

D For Depression

Depression is often misunderstood and mistaken for having a bad day. In truth, there are almost 3 million of teenagers between 12 and 17 years of age, who suffer from depression in the USA. This number increases as people hit their 20s. Unfortunately, it is tricky to identify depression, or to take it seriously, if you have never faced it before. The symptoms are varied, but generally, feeling low and without energy, experiencing eating disorders, feeling worthless or even guilty are common to a depressive state. When left untreated, depression can cause long-term problems as it will have a negative impact on your education and your professional career, and it is likely to lead you to develop a form of substance abuse such as drug or alcohol. Additionally, as if things were not bad enough, teens and people in their early 20s who have a tendency to go through depressive moods can develop serious bipolar disorders in their later years. So save yourself any future troubles, and talk to your doctor if you are feeling down.  

Here’s To A Healthier, Fitter You This New Year

healthy-youAt some point or another in life, we all have goals to be the healthiest version of ourselves. What healthy means one one person, won’t necessarily be the same thing for another, but the important thing is that you’re working on being the best version of yourself that you can be.

It’s hard to stay healthy at times too, so the only thing you can do is give it your all. When you exercise or school in college, things seem a little easier, but in the holidays or after college, if can be that little bit harder. Bad food choices or stress over examples can also make it all the more difficult. So, instead of trying to transform your lifestyle completely, why not focus on a few key areas and find out what works best for you.

Fuel Your Body

Some of our favourite foods aren’t that great for our health, and we know that. But, they don’t do an awful lot of damage in limited quantities so remember that. Don’t try to cut out the things you love from your diet, work on fuelling your body instead. It is important that you get enough energy from the foods that you eat, so think about basing your main meals around proteins, carbs and fruits or veggies. But there are plenty of new ideas that you can use to ensure your nutrition is good too.

Sleep Well

When you’re cramming for exams, fitting in extra classes or if you have a lot of extra curricular activities on, you can find it hard to get to bed on time. But, on your mission to becoming your healthiest self, you’re going to want to make sure you sleep well. Work on winding yourself down before bed. Even if you get in late from practice, take a bath and allow your body to relax. The chances are, you’ll get a solid night’s sleep because of it and have more energy the next morning.

Move A Little More

If you’re not on any sports teams or don’t take phys ed. you might notice that your activity levels are lower than they used to be when you were a little kid. It’s not a problem, but a healthy lifestyle does involve exercise. 3-5 times per week is what on average a healthy amount of occasions to get exercise in. So, if you’re not that active, try and challenge yourself to move more. Maybe you take up a new class or start cycling, either way, find something that you’ll enjoy and suits your schedule.

Find A Balance

Aside from focusing on what you eat and how much you move, other areas of your life can contribute to your overall health levels. Even if you’re a star athlete with a diet that a nutritionist would be proud of, not enough sleep, too much stress or exhaustion can still make you unhealthier than ever. So, it’s important to find balance in your lifestyle. Not only do you need to balance school with a social life to find a middle group and be happy, but you should also try to stress a lot less about things and make time for the passions that you have in life. You’ll live a much healthier life if you do.

What It Feels Like For A Girl: The Facts On Periods

girl-w-skateboardThere’s no getting away from it puberty can be embarrassing, awkward and downright painful. By now you’ve probably experienced buying your first bra, dealing with spots that seem to have sprouted overnight as well as hair growing in all sorts of weird places. Even though you don’t want to think about it, much less talk to anyone, it’s important that you understand what’s happening to your body. That emotional rollercoaster you feel like you’re on most of the time? It’s all down to your ovaries which, in turn, kick starts your body into producing the hormone estrogen which every woman has inside her.

Elsewhere, there’s other stuff going on too. If you feel like your breasts aren’t growing much, or growing at different rates that’s normal too, breasts continue to grow until your early twenties, so it all evens out eventually. The important thing to realize is we all go through it; it doesn’t last forever, and it’s a vital part of becoming a strong, healthy woman.

That Time Of The Month

You’ll feel bloated, crampy, annoyed or sad for no reason and things just seem that little bit harder. A period, or menstruation occurs because of the eggs your ovaries release every month, they normally last between two to eight days and can be irregular at the beginning. Your period happens when the uterus lining thickens to help an egg develop, but when you aren’t pregnant, the lining is then shed, released as blood out your vagina and into a sanitary pad or tampon. Despite jokes about ‘the crimson wave,’ ‘Niagra falls’ and ‘red devil’ the amount of blood present is tiny, only one to two tablespoons even though it feels like a lot more.

Just Like A Pill

Contraceptive pills are often used as a precaution against pregnancy although they can be used to help treat conditions such as Endometriosis, to regulate periods and even to make heavy periods lighter. It’s taken by millions of women all around the world for many different reasons. The contraceptive pill is taken daily and the tablet controls ovulation, stopping eggs being released as well as making the womb lining thinner, so any egg is less likely to attach. The thinner lining is what makes period lighter, which also tends to help with severe cramping as well.

Your Body Your Choice

Despite what you may think, not everyone is ‘doing it’ and many teenagers are often pressured into losing their virginity before they’re ready. Remember, your body is awash with hormones, and it can be a confusing, even frightening time for lots of young women. Nothing is a hundred percent effective against pregnancy or guilt, so it’s better to wait until you are older. In fact, many couples wait until marriage to have sex for the first time, which is a decision you will never regret!

You Are a Temple: 1 Corinthians 3:17

Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins

corinthian-317I was a fat child.  To say I was pudgy or chubby or even plump would insinuate that I was cute, and I wasn’t.  The kids at school called me Fatso.  Fatso.  Playground mockery is so ridiculous; just looking at that word I wonder where they came up with it, but within that word is a thousand implications that still make me tear up.  Unwanted.  Ugly.  Disgusting.  Rejected.  Hated, even.  As a fat and sensitive person, I went home more times than not, crying.  My dad told me that if I didn’t want to be made fun of for my weight, I should do something about it.

And so I did.  Or I tried.

The summer between fifth and sixth grade, I lost over twenty pounds.  I got lots of attention.  One teacher even asked if I was sick.  The names changed; I was suddenly called…Skinny.  Looking at that word, all I feel is empty.  It took me less than a year to realize that while the girls didn’t call me the same names, they could still be mean in other ways.  And I discovered that even though I had a new label to wear, I still didn’t feel so great about myself.

A Temple.

I was reading in 1 Corinthians a few weeks ago and loving the verses.  I was praying over them and meditating on them when a highlighted verse on the page over caught my attention.

You are that temple.

To be told that I am pretty or loved or valued makes me uncomfortable at best, downright suspicious at my worst.  Those playground children planted seeds, and I have spent most of my life sowing them.  Long after the bullying stopped, I continued to look in the mirror and say things that make words like Fatso sound like compliments.  To be told I am a temple is a hard pill for me to swallow; it goes against everything the world, and then myself, have conditioned my soul to believe.

And judging by the conversations I have had, and the state of the world that surrounds us, I know that chances are, you don’t believe those words, either.  We try to fill our self-esteems with products marketed to us to make us prettier, relationships that will complete us, lofty goals and impossible achievements that will feed us validation, and labels everyone around us deems acceptable to give us identification.  Meanwhile, all of that goes against the truth that we are created with a purpose, and that we are loved and treasured, right now, for simply being.

If we accepted that simple, yet completely profound, concept…we are loved, we are a temple, and completely believed it, how different would our behavior be?  I know for a fact that I would stop hesitating because of my insecurities and start doing more for others.  I would save a heck of a lot of money, knowing that new hair color won’t transform me into the image my Pinterest promises me I will become.  I could keep myself from wasting years in a toxic relationship because I know I am worth being loved by someone who understands my value.  I would stop abusing my own body by poisoning it with food or substances that are not good for me, or, on the flip side, I would stop punishing myself by restricting myself from getting the nourishment my body needs.  I would stop comparing myself to everyone else and would be satisfied with all my abilities…and my limitations.

And most importantly, I would stop listening to the whispers in my head that tell me I am not good enough.  I would fill myself up with the truths and the promises of the Bible, so much so that all the ugly lies would have no room to reside.

If I believed

That I am

A Temple

My entire world would change.

It’s sad to me that I found it easier as a child to alter my physical appearance than it was for me to change my internal dialogue.  I want to live out my life the way God intended for me to live it, and each time I try and fill myself up with fluff that abates the pain in superficial ways, I only get further from His vision for me.  The truth is, His promise is enough, and I have to commit myself daily to doing what I can to realize it.

The world is preaching love as a solution to the violence and the ugliness that surrounds us.  And they are not wrong.  We need to love each other more.  But I think that the love has to find root in ourselves, and for ourselves, as well.

So do me a favor:  Go to the mirror as soon as you’re done reading this and tell yourself you are a temple.  If it makes you squirm or giggle or uncomfortable, that’s okay.  Tell yourself again.  In fact, write it on your mirror in your favorite lip gloss so you see it when you look at yourself.  Tell yourself you are a temple numerous times a day until you believe it, and keep telling yourself as a reminder.  Tell yourself as often as you need to, to keep the lies and the poisons at bay. Tell yourself you are a temple so often that when someone, including yourself, tries to tell you you are anything less, the lie sounds so ridiculous, you pay it no attention.  Tell yourself you are a temple so often, you see the beauty in others, for they are temples, too, and treat yourself and them, as nothing less.

1 Corinthians 3:17- If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him, for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.

 

Dressing Up Your Self Esteem

by Veronica Williams

bridesmaidsDon’t you find it interesting that when we put on new clothes how good it makes us feel inside?  It’s as if putting on new things makes us feel clean, shiny and refreshed.  Some might compare this with the feeling we get when we accept the Lord Jesus as our personal savior.

What other things make us feel good inside? A healthy and positive relationship with God as well as the basic things we need in life to nurture our bodies.  Our physical bodies need to be sustained and once this has been achieved we can then consider our spiritual and emotional life.  It might also be argued that in order to have a good and healthy self-esteem we need to feel loved, appreciated and encouraged.  Can we buy the things we need to have a positive self-esteem? I personally don’t think so, thus going shopping for clothes, while it has a ‘feel good factor’ will not enhance our self-esteem for very long.

I like to look and feel good as well as the next person, but have realized that my physical appearance is only a small piece of the picture and I also need to have a spiritually healthy outlook and attitude.  Essentially I am arguing that God needs to be at the center of my life.  I need to be able to praise and communicate with him on a daily basis, and I need to know that he answers and directs my footsteps.

The thought of shopping for my sister’s impending wedding was somewhat daunting.  She had asked her future sister-in-law and our two cousins along with myself to be bridesmaids and we were having a meeting to look at materials and styles for the bridesmaid’s dresses. I believe the fact that we were having a meeting to communicate our individual views and ideas would also offer an opportunity for us to feel included and a sense of being valued in the coming event.  I was loved enough by my sister for her to wish me to be included in her wedding party, I was appreciated and my views would be taken into consideration when we looked at the style and material for the dresses and I was encouraged to understand the importance and significance of marriage in a spiritual context.

In our discussions we considered a variety of factors, not least of which was our body shapes and sizes.  If we think about it, we are all individuals with our own special requirements and physical shape. How we look and how others view our bodies may affect our self-esteem.  If we receive many complements and positive comments about our looks, then we would probably not focus on anything negative in our appearance.  On the other hand, if others are inclined to pointing out our negative qualities this could in time have a detrimental effect on our self-confidence.

I personally believe that we are all attractive and all have certain good qualities. Some people, especially teenagers with changing hormones and body changes, may tend to see the negative in their physical appearance.  I reiterate our hormones may make us moody and even temperamental.  However, if we have the correct moral barometer in place we will be able to accurately assess our individual needs and have an understanding of our internal and external beauty.  There is a chapter in the scriptures (Psalm 45:9) which refers to girls as being daughters of the King.  It says that young woman are essentially princesses with all the connotations that the word implies.

As the bridesmaid meeting progressed we discussed in depth the material which we thought would suit each of our skin color and hair.  We also gained an insight into each others views and preferences.  We agreed on material and color, however we varied in tastes and the length and style of the dresses.  Finally, we decided that all the dresses should be long but we could choose different styles for the bodice. Each of our differing tastes were accommodated!

We all have different tastes and its okay to select or prefer one thing above another.  It reflects that we, in caring about each other’s preferences,  are also showing that we love and care for one another. In having an open discussion we learned more about ourselves and each other and most importantly Christ was at the center of this pre-shopping expedition.