Fashion Things I Wish a Sister Taught Me

How I Deal With Body Image Issues

Dani Austin

Often times, I wake up in the morning eager to change something about myself. Yesterday, it was the color of my hair, today, it’s the tone of my skin, and tomorrow, it could be the size of my thighs. As uncomfortable as it is to admit this to you all, I choose to, because I KNOW I am not alone. To say I LOVE every part of my body, would just be a lie. I am thankful and appreciative for my healthy and working body parts, but I still struggle with loving every part of me. Sadly enough, sometimes, these thoughts overwhelm my mind. They throw complete shade over who I am,  future goals, good things in my life, or even what I have planned for that day. It’s like I can’t even remember the good things about myself as I dread the things I am so displeased with. I am such a human, huh?

Well this post (fortunately) is not where I throw myself a pity party and talk about everything I hate about myself. Thank da Lawwwd. At the end of the day I really do have so much to be appreciative for, and I know that! But, this post is about my journey to loving myself: every inch, every wrinkle, every stretch mark (ugh), every (new) fold of skin, from every angle. I’ve trained for marathons, spent weeks in dangerous parts of Africa, and been an entrepreneur for years, and let me tell ya, loving my body is by far, one of the hardest things I’ve EVER tried to do.

LOVING MY BODY IS A DAILY STRUGGLE

Before I get into my points though, I want to preface by saying, I’m sorry but, I just don’t know if I believe in the whole “I’ve learned to love body and now everything is great” fairytale. I do believe there are good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks, but I don’t think conquering body confidence is a one time deal. I believe this is a struggle that I deal with daily, weekly, or at least seasonally. So, how do I deal with this on the reg?

The more I get to know God, the clearer things become for me. I stop checking out my own image and discover more about Him. That helps me see the bigger picture. The more I get to know Him, the more others see me through His reflection. In conclusion, I start to appreciate how beautiful God says I am.

SHIFT MY FOCUS

The days I feel most depressed and displeased with my self image are the days I focus on me. What can Dani change about herself? Is Dani pretty enough? Does Dani look good in that photo? Does Dani make people happy? I get caught up in this storm where my own expectations lead me to this impending doom of insecurity.

The mornings I spend time with the Lord first, I shift my focus from Dani, to my Father. I am reminded of His grace and that he LOVES every bit of who I am. Words cannot express what a relief it is when I remember what God has already done for me. Dani, you are forgiven. Dani, you are my daughter. Dani, you are not alone. Dani, I care about your heart. Dani, I care about how you love people. Dani, you are all I care about. Dani, I know you hate that bump on your nose, but I love everything about you. You are beautiful. I made you exactly the way you are. Realizing this love story, takes a lot of pressure off of me and the self-criticism that robs me of my daily joy.

MY DEFINITION OF BEAUTY

So yes, if I see one more seductive picture on instagram of some chick with half her clothes on claiming to ‘love her body’ I might scream. I hear this a lot in our modern day culture, “Girls should be able to post pictures of themselves and their bodies if they love and feel confident about their body.”

My issue is, God does not call us to be seductive. The words “beautiful” and “seductive” are not interchangeable. Seduction is when we intentionally act, pose, or dress in a way that draws attention to our bodies and glorifies ourselves. That is not God’s definition of “beauty.” We see this in Proverbs 5 where a woman abused her beauty to draw attention to herself, rather than God.

NOW, GET THIS! GOD IS OUR CREATOR. He also created BEAUTY! (AKA, I think He knows what He is talking about…) So there is NOTHING wrong with being beautiful, but our beauty should be used in a way reflect Him and glorify Him.

What does that mean for me? Ugh, TBH, this was really confusing for me because I mean, I am a fashion blogger. I take selfies, film videos, and post instagrams 3-4 times a day of myself and the clothes I am wearing. I love fashion. I love style. I have fun with hair and makeup. So how could I use my images and content in a way to glorify God?

So, this is what I remind myself daily.

  1. True beauty is having fun with style because I find my confidence in the Lord.
  2. True beauty is posting instagrams of outfits and clothes but respecting other girls and guys who may see them, in hopes that no one compares or feels lust.
  3. True beauty is using my platforms and pictures to love other people.
  4. True beauty is caring more about my relationship with the Lord than how many likes I get on a photo.
  5. True beauty is avoiding sexual styles in clothing to protect men from lust.
  6. True beauty is remaining pure before God.
  7. True beauty is using my life to encourage people to seek the Lord above ALL else.
  8. True beauty is avoiding poses and clothing that draw attention to my body in hopes of attention and affirmation.

Questions to consider:

What is my standard of beauty?

Am I surrounding myself with people who appreciate beauty the same way I do?

How are we to know what beauty standard we should be following?

We know it must be God’s standard. But what exactly is God’s standard?

IT’S OKAY TO UNFOLLOW!

This topic get touchy. You guys, it’s okay to unfollow the accounts on social media that cause you to compare yourself and feel bad about yourself. We should follow the people that truly care about our hearts, our inner beauty, and encourage us to become the best versions of ourselves. THIS is what social media should be all about. Although following accounts that teach me how to wear skinny jeans in 10 different ways is a lot of fun, what about the accounts that teach me how to love my friends in 10 different ways? Fashion and style is such a great outlet (I mean, I am a fashion blogger…) but it’s important to realize clothes and trends are temporary. Acts of kindness, your relationships with people, the way you love them, and who you are, impact someone forever and are truly pleasing to the Lord.

I am the first to admit. I had to unfollow a couple of girls on instagram. I found myself obsessing with their outfits, their hair, their bodies, just dying to be like them. I was left utterly disappointed after looking at their content, ridden in comparison and dissatisfied with how I look. I will go as far to say, if I am that girl for you that makes you feel less than, UNFOLLOW ME. I care about your heart and I don’t ever want to make you feel that way. I won’t take it personally, I want you to follow girls that inspire you to chase after the Lord. I want you to follow people that remind you have how beautiful you are.

Question to consider:

Is this photo I am looking at encouraging me in my walk with the Lord?

How do I feel after looking at this photo?

GOD LOOKS AT MY HEART

My worth is not defined by other people. My worth is defined by what the Lord says about me.

“Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

I encourage you to google this story about King David and familiarize yourself. I’d get into it, but it’s kinda a whole other thing.

Photo credit: Angie Garcia Photo

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OFF THE SHOULDER TOP // JEANS // WEDGE SANDALS // PURSE // CHOKER //BANGLE BRACELETS //

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34 Comments

  • Reply
    Andrea
    May 1, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Omg, Dani this post is so inspiring! You’re beautiful person inside and out. Your beauty shines through your beautiful smile, kind words and sweet heart. I love your YouTube channel, blog and Instagram. Stay you because you’re beautiful! Keep on smiling and shining!
    http://fabuloustorture.blogspot.com
    http://instagram.com/fabuloustorture

    • Reply
      Dani Austin
      May 9, 2017 at 6:48 pm

      Thank you Andrea! This encouragement means a lot to me. 🙂

  • Reply
    Simplyevahxo
    May 1, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    I absolutely love this post, couldn’t agree more with every word in this post. It’s individuals like you that I greatly appreciate following, because its all about posivity and the Lord. I feel because of social media and many other issues within our society, the Lord for many no longer fits into their lives or beliefs. Keep up the awesome job Dani, love the positive vibes you send out girl!

  • Reply
    Sara chiv
    May 1, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Wow! Okay, I thought I was the only person who woke up wanting so change something about myself, almost daily🙄 It’s insane, I know. I also find myself comparing the way I look to look to all the girls on IG. Especially living in Dallas, it’s so hard! Everybody has perfect hair, body, car etc. so from one Dallas chica to another, thank you 🙂 I can totally relate 100 percent! I wish I could say that I’ve been following you since day 1 BUT I recently stumbled across your IG a couple of months and I fell in love. You are real, you are silly, you are a beautiful person and you love Jesus! Again, thank you thank you thank you for this post.

    • Reply
      Dani Austin
      May 9, 2017 at 6:50 pm

      Wow. So happy you relate so much. I kinda thought I was alone (at least in the ‘perfect’ blogging world) and at first I kind of hesitated before posting something like this because I actually do feel like the only one sometimes. So anyway, thank you for sharing your thoughts and encouragements. It means the world to me.

  • Reply
    Becca Chandos
    May 1, 2017 at 6:32 pm

    Dani, thank you so much for sharing this. Man, this really is a struggle. Thank you for sharing your heart and advice on the matter. I admire your heart and sweet spirit.

  • Reply
    Sierra
    May 1, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    I love this post!! I have recently started unfollowing accounts when I notice it’s leading me to compare myself and feel negatively about my self image.

    I love how your posts never focus on glorifying ourselves, but always point back to God 🙂 It’s so cool to see a fashion blogger who loves God so much! And thanks for your vulnerability!

  • Reply
    Hannah
    May 1, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    Dani, this is my favorite post from you. I found every word so relatable – I kept just saying “yes!” to myself. Most fashion bloggers are so intimidating and leave me feeling so bad about my self image, but I always feel so humbled by your posts and see you as more of a friend than some imaginative figure on the internet. You’re doing a great job with your platform girl! Keep it up. 🙂

    • Reply
      Dani Austin
      May 9, 2017 at 6:59 pm

      Hannah,

      That is exactly how I want people to feel. I can’t be perfect, even on the internet with all the editing apps and filters. All I want is for God to use this platform however he chooses and I pray I can always hear Him clearly and be transparent about what God is teaching me (and my imperfect self) each day. Sometimes it’s difficult to write about the things I am not proud of but I think I’ve learned it is okay to not be perfect, even on the internet because that’s when we really start relating and being able to love people the right ways.

  • Reply
    Lindsey Wallace
    May 1, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    Literally everything I have been feeling/thinking. SO perfect. It’s so hard not to get caught up in the comparison game and get caught up in obsessing everything bad about us. An older friend told me recently that now that she is 50, she has learned she needs to stop obsessing over the bad because as you age you find a lot more things that change about your body that you can’t control and it will ruin you. She tries to only look at what is good about herself each day so that she can keep positive and it helps. We are so young now and in such healthy bodies with a lot to be thankful for. Keeping our mind centered on Christ’s version of “beauty” is the only way we can not get filled with frustration and self-hate.

    Absolutely love this! Thanks for being bold and brave enough ro write this message!

    • Reply
      Dani Austin
      May 9, 2017 at 6:55 pm

      Lindsey,

      I love that idea. Keeping in positive and you are SO right. We do have SO much to be thankful for. Praising the Lord for how he created me, everyday, is where I need to start!

  • Reply
    Julia
    May 1, 2017 at 8:27 pm

    Hi Dani,
    i was wondering if you have ever struggled with an eating disorder? You’re scarily thin and body dysmorphia/insecurity is a common side effect of eating disorders. Have you ever experienced this and how do you deal with it?

    • Reply
      Hannah
      May 1, 2017 at 10:02 pm

      I would say mine and Dani’s body types are very similar (which is part of the reason why I love her posts so much – because she always looks great to me and it makes me feel better about my own body.) Some people’s body’s are thinner than other’s and the way someone looks doesn’t equate to having a mental illness (which is what eating disorders are.) Just thought I would throw that out there. (Considering I have dealt with people labeling me as “anorexic” all my life and that is just not true.)

  • Reply
    Ashley Hodges
    May 1, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    Wow! Dani this is powerful! Keep doing you girl, you’re making such an impact in the world!

  • Reply
    Ella
    May 1, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    Dani, thank you so much for this!! This really impacted me and changed how a I look at things. You inspired me to be who I am bc God doesn’t care about what I wear or how I look.

  • Reply
    Bo Wang
    May 2, 2017 at 12:29 am

    Best post ever! You are so beautiful inside and out!

  • Reply
    Chelsea
    May 2, 2017 at 12:32 am

    THIS. This is why I love following you, Brighton, and a few other fab bloggers. I love how y’all have been so intentional about using your platform to praise the Lord…in your super cute outfits. ☺️ I’ve only recently (like 2-3 days) started following you and this is my first time to your blog. I love how honest this is about body issues bc EVERYONE has them. When I first read about this post on your Instagram, I was like “gah, what issues?! She’s so cute and tiny.” But that’s only bc my heart is in the wrong place about my weight, I had a baby and haven’t gotten my ish together…2 years later. 🤦🏼‍♀️ I love how you talk about unfollowing people too because I had to do that for those very reasons…that comparison game, y’all. It’s so refreshing to see y’all be so honest about your life not being perfect because that’s real life, it’s messy and complicated

    I hope a LOT of people get the chance to read this and are reminded that our hope is in Christ, not in things of this world. Keep it up, gorgeous girl! Thanks for the kick in the pants I needed today! ☺️

    • Reply
      Dani Austin
      May 9, 2017 at 6:53 pm

      Wow Chelsea. Thank you for this! I really appreciate it. Sometimes I feel like no one is going to read anything I post so, to hear so much about you and your heart in this comment actually really motivates me to keep creating content like this. So thank you for making my day and taking time to write this and encourage/love on me. It’s overwhelming!

  • Reply
    Katie
    May 2, 2017 at 1:19 am

    I love how you integrate your relationship with the Lord in almost all your posts! It just really radiates throughout all your posts and videos. You’re a great role model for the blogging community!

  • Reply
    Corinne
    May 2, 2017 at 3:55 am

    Dani, I can not thank you enough for writing and most of all sharing this post. It’s hard to be growing up in this day and age where the world is only becoming more secular and sexual with every passing second. I too find myself caught up in these obsessions about my appearance and whether my stomach bulges in that dress or if my legs look too big to post that photo. It was such a refresher and eye opener to be reminded that my beauty comes from God and once I focus on the beauty he has given me that others will be able to see it as well. The conclusion to this long rant is thank you for reminding me that it’s more about God than it is me. One of my favorite quotes that I think applies to this is, “If you make time for God, He will provide you time for everything that follows.” If we would only focus on his beauty first, our own would follow! Thank you for posting. Love the content as always

  • Reply
    Lainey
    May 2, 2017 at 4:22 am

    Dani, thank you so much for this new series of posts. I relate so much to the things you’re talking about, and honestly I feel like you’re saying exactly what I’m thinking. It helps so much to know I’m not alone in what I’m feeling. Thank you again!

  • Reply
    Claire
    May 2, 2017 at 6:49 am

    Can you please do a video about your anorexia and how you deal with it

  • Reply
    Joselyn Acevedo
    May 2, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    I am so glad you wrote this post. I have been struggling with these things. Funny thing, in my english class we are actually doing a project about “Beauty” and how girls don’t feel confident and they are insecure and think plastic surgery and makeup is the answer to feel beautiful. Which it’s not. You’re worth is not found in the opinion of others, it’s found in the Lord. So I’m glad you wrote this in time so I can use this post as a reference!! Have a blessed day 🙂

  • Reply
    Kaitlin Clark
    May 2, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this post. Your transparency and love for the Lord has really encouraged me in this area. It’s so awesome to see someone using their platform to help others see Christ. Dani, thank you for being such a blessing!

  • Reply
    Kate
    May 2, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Such an inspiring post. My relationship with the Lord has definitely suffered throughout the last couple of years. It’s something that I need to work on
    Kate || KATE KOUTURES

  • Reply
    Abby Darlington
    May 3, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    Great post Dani! This is a topic that I think pretty much every girl struggles with and it’s important for us to remember that. I love how you touch on seeing ourselves through God’s eyes and relying on him for confidence rather than trying to fix every little thing we don’t like. Instagram is such a fun platform but it can absolutely destroy your confidence if you’re not careful. I’ve definitely realized that there are certain girls I can’t follow on social media anymore simply because it skews my sense of reality. Again, great post!

    PS- you are beautiful! I don’t see anything for you to be insecure about 🙂

    xx, Abby

  • Reply
    Ashley
    May 10, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    This was such a beautiful post, Dani. I so agree that there will never be a point in my life where I will learn to love myself 100% of the time and always be satisfied with my body. Because I am human and I am sinful and no matter how much I strive to place my identity in Christ, lust and comparison often take over…. I also love your definitions of beauty in contrast with seduction. Beauty and seduction are not synonyms. Confidence and seduction are not synonyms. It seems like the world today continually tells us that people who truly love their bodies will wear less, reveal more, and that if men lust after you, then that’s their problem. THANK YOU for standing up for biblical virtues and the biblical definition of womanhood. Modest honestly may not always be hottest, but godliness is greater than any humanly praise or adoration. Keep doing you, Dani.
    With love,
    Ashley

  • Reply
    Katherine Swain
    May 10, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    Preach!! This is so motivating, inspiring, and important! I’m glad that I found out about your blog! (We have mutual friends in the Hutchesons!) I love how you’ve incorporated His word into this because it is TRUTH!!

    Katherine
    http://www.oneswainkycouple.com

  • Reply
    Lea
    May 11, 2017 at 7:11 am

    I love this so much! Your beauty is truly a reflection of Him 🙂 keep doing what ya do because I am so excited to see what you come up with!!

  • Reply
    Kristy
    May 17, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    What were the bible verses from your video?

  • Reply
    Meg
    May 21, 2017 at 1:01 am

    Dani- you’re a wonderful person to follow. You inspire me to be a more positive person and to turn towards God rather than wallow in self pity about my insecurities. Thank you for your raw words and this brave post.

    Also, shame on those commenting about how you are “anorexic” when you decided to put yourself out there about body issues. Did you not read the girl trains for marathons? Go be a bully somewhere else. I’ll pray for you.

  • Reply
    SHARON
    June 29, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    God’s been dealing with me to talk about a similar topic and I’m currently editing the post night so I know its no coincidence that I just found this. I think it’s a confirmation that I need to do it. When I first saw your picture I was like OMG she’s so pretty! 🙂

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