Body by the Letter: A “TODAY” Anchor’s Words of Wisdom

For a number of years, I’ve been a dedicated fan of the NBC daily morning news program, The TODAY Show. In fact, as a middle-schooler, I can recall spending many mornings with my mom and sister seated at the kitchen table with Matt Lauer and Katie Couric‘s faces greeting us with their pleasant and often, witty banter. As the years passed, I wouldn’t watch the show as often as previously and for a brief period of time, switched to their competitor program on ABC. However, years later as an adult, I again switched, this time exclusively, to watching The TODAY Show. Throughout the past few years, I’ve come to truly love the anchors and the overall program. The messages and stories discussed on air are often inspiring, engaging and reach parts of me I often failed to recognize or acknowledge.

Savannah and Matt

Many of the anchors are filled with inspiring thoughts and pertinent knowledge, though as I laid in bed last night, unable to quickly fall asleep, I perused through my Facebook newsfeed and capturing my eye was one of the best messages I quite frankly have read in awhile. With that being said, I couldn’t let a day pass without sharing it with whomever may be reading at this moment. Perhaps you’ve already seen or heard about it, but if not, please take a moment, if you can, to read it, because the underlying message and premise of it is one that deeply resonates with me and could quite possibly resonate with you, as well.

The following (copied from the official TODAY Show website) is a letter drafted by current TODAY Show anchor, Savannah Guthrie, who is the mother of two children – almost 3-year-old Vale and an infant son, Charlie. The letter is to Vale, with Savannah sharing her words of wisdom in line with Love Your Body week, a series of segments regarding body love on The TODAY Show:

Savannah and Vale           Savannah and Family

My dearest Vale,

I’m writing this letter to you because we are doing a series called, “Love Your Body” week. I will confess just to you: That is something I have never been very good at doing. But I’m hoping I can teach you to be different. I hope that as you grow up, I can teach you to love and embrace the miraculous physical vessel that is carrying your magnificent heart and soul.

You don’t know this yet, but our society is pretty obsessed with body image. Before too long (it’s inevitable) you’ll be bombarded with images of perfection almost nobody can attain. If you’re like me, and so many women, you’ll be tempted to judge yourself, to compare yourself, to berate yourself, to doubt yourself. I hope somehow I can equip you to withstand this assault on your confidence.

I want you to love your body, not because of how thin or tall or pretty you may grow up to be, but because it is truly a miracle. God made you; you are “fearfully and wonderfully made,” as the famous old scripture says.

It is only natural to care about our physical appearance, and I’m not idealistic enough to think I could prevent that. But when you think about your body, let’s think not about how it looks, but about all the things it can do. Let’s think about your strength and your endurance. Let’s be unendingly grateful for your good health and never take it for granted. Be kind to your body, respect it and treat it well — this is the only one you’ll be getting.

And just so you know — you are, in fact, quite beautiful. I love your crazy golden curls, your gigantic blue eyes, your sweet cheeks and that super-wattage smile that lights up the world. But what is most lovely about you radiates from your inside out: your joy, your brightness, your warmth and your irrepressible spirit. That is why I’m so very proud of you.

Love,

Mom

Savannah and Family 2

As I read this letter, countless sentiments and emotions were summoned inside of me. How desperately I wished I could have read this letter years ago, as a vulnerable teen trapped in a word of self-pity, judgment and failure to feel as though I was “enough.” So often, it is true that we focus on what our bodies look like instead of what they can do, or what they are capable of doing. Sometimes, when I find myself in the midst of judging my appearance, I try to think of all the ways my body is able to support and carry me. My arms allow me to lift Oliver, my elderly dog up the stairs from outside; they allow me to lift my niece out of her high-chair, or onto my lap. My legs carry me from place to place and allow me to help open doors for others who cannot. In so many ways, my body has helped me and though I often take it for granted, or tend to focus on the way it appears on the outside, how important a message to be reminded, by Savannah, in this letter to her daughter. Everyday, I wish for others who may be younger than me, the same age, or even older or unborn, for peace with their bodies; for the ability to see their body for all its strengths and capabilities rather than fixating on the outward appearance and the supposed “flaws or imperfections.”

Reading Savannah’s letter, I wished nothing more than to keep it beside me, for easy reference, during those difficult moments in time when I feel “less than enough,” or harshly critical of myself. “Everything can be beautiful when you stop looking for flaws.”

Love Yourself quote

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Worthy of Being You

The following post will probably be one of the most impromptu I’ve ever written, thus far. Just moments ago, I was mindlessly perusing Twitter as I so often do, throughout the day and stumbled across a tweet from one of my many favorite magazines, Good Housekeeping. I’ve read the magazine for years despite not being in their specifically targeted age demographic and have always found something I could relate to, no matter what. That being said, this morning’s tweet featured a link to an article written by bestselling author, Jennifer Wiener, published in the August 2015 issue of the magazine. After quickly reading the article, I felt overly inspired and more than compelled to both tweet about it, as well as craft a blog post surrounding it.

Good Housekeeping   Jennifer Weiner

A link to the Good Housekeeping article: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/a33462/insult-hurt-self-confidence/

If you’re not a follower of Good Housekeeping on social media, a reader of the magazine, or familiar with them at all, I wanted to share it with whomever may be reading, because I feel as though it is an article that can be used as inspiration, support, awareness and may come as a realization, that we are not alone in some of the sentiments we may experience on a daily basis. For me, this post resonated on more than a singular level. In the article, the author describes how she avoided photos like the plague, stating she felt she looked “disgusting, horrible and bloated,” believing as though she didn’t deserve to be seen in a photo, feeling guilt and shame surrounding her appearance. She also stated the amount of sadness and regret she feels when looking back on parts of her life, because the photos of these times are absent. Perhaps the most poignant section of this story, in relation to myself is this:

“What I’d say is that perfect is impossible. When the camera comes out, don’t hide. Tell yourself that every time a real, imperfect woman shows up in a photograph, an angel gets its wings … and a girl who sees it might believe that her looks are OK.

Be brave. Smile and say, “Here I am.”

It’s hard for me to explain how much the author’s words truly mean to me and resonate. I can’t even begin to recall all the times I’ve hidden and shied away from the camera, of how many moments I’ve missed out or how many moments I wish I could visually recall and can’t because I hid from the camera. In August 2014, I became an aunt to my beautiful, intelligent and inspiring niece, who I love with every ounce of myself, and the only photo I have of she, my sister and I, is one from when my dog, Oliver was having surgery and we were waiting for him in the waiting room. It hurts to know this and it isn’t because of any other reason than me, avoiding the camera. So maybe today, I’ll take a photo, a photo that should have been taken whenever I felt so inclined, and be proud to be here, be proud I have the ability to take a photo, and the courage to look at it, be okay with the image looking at back at me, and bravely say, as the article states, “Here I am.”