Choosing To Love Myself | Tiffany Webster

 
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Tell us a little about yourself

Why Hello! I’m Tiffany Webster. If we were in person I would probably be giving you a big hug at this point 1) because I’m a hugger and 2) life’s rough and I believe everyone can use a hug.

Being a part of The Small Seed team is one of my greatest blessings! You can read more about my role HERE, plus I recently opened up about my journey of overcoming perfectionism which you can read HERE.

Most importantly, I’m a daughter of God who is doing all she can to find joy while growing day-by-day in His grace.

Why are you so passionate about this topic?

I’m 5 ’11 with anything but a petite built. I know what it’s like to be 10, 20, 30, (GASP!) even 40 pounds heavier than my ideal weight. I know what it’s like to sit in the bathroom and cry because you can’t find one thing that you like about yourself.

Loving myself has literally been a life long journey and I’m passionate about it because it matters! I’m passionate because I know what it’s like to never feel good enough and I know what it’s like when you finally DO! 

I’m passionate because I know the freedom that exists when your worth is built upon being a daughter of God rather than your talents or body. I’m passionate because we need each other! I’m passionate because I’ve found peace and I will do anything I can to help someone else find it!For when you see yourself the way God does, you start seeing ALL of his children the way He does—and in turn, you want to make a difference.

Was there a time when you struggled with loving yourself?

Absolutely, 100%, especially my body.

HOWEVER, I can honestly say that the painful battle of loving my body will never compare to the struggle I found myself in only a few years ago—a time when my self-worth was challenged far beyond the size of my jeans or the number on the scale.

My husband and I were living in our modest, but brand new home. I was a full time mom, running a full-time business, training for a triathlon, and doing all I could to be a good Christian. My self-confidence was up and I felt like I had a good handle on that vicious juggling act we all do.

But then…everything changed.

Within a matter of months (due to a variety of trials), I closed the doors to my business, moved to a new state, dropped out of my triathlon, and was now facing multiple chronic health issues. (To anyone else who is fighting a chronic illness or health issues—my heart aches for you. I love you, I’m praying for you!)

As my health declined, everything else had to as well. Exercise become obsolete, having more children was out of the picture, cleaning my house was overwhelming, taking care of my one and only child was barely manageable, and everything I had ever been able to juggle…crumbled.

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Not liking my body was one trial, but now everything I did like about myself was gone!

The flood of darkness that followed was paralyzing. I was in the midst of my own tempest storm. Sinking. Drowning.

“Who was I if I wasn’t everything I did? How could I have worth while sitting in bed day after day? Who was I as a wife, a mother and a woman when my body didn’t allow me to do the things that a wife, a mother, and a woman should do? How could I love myself when I couldn’t exercise? Who was I without my design business?”

I was broken and my worth was shattered.

What motivated you to change, and how did you begin the journey to loving yourself?

I vividly remember sitting in church, the opening song started and the flood gates opened. Tears streamed down my face. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t breathe. The heartache was too much. I immediately stood up and fled to my car where I sobbed. The anxiety was more than I could handle and the worthlessness I felt was unbearable. Tears wouldn’t stop. I was miserable. It was hell.

Something HAD to change.I needed answers! Understanding! Peace! I needed to know I had worth even in this trying season of stillness. I needed to know first hand that I, Tiffany Webster, was indeed ‘graven upon the palms of His hands’—and I needed to FEEL the power that exists in solely being a daughter of God!

Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

— 3 Nephi 14:7

So I tested God’s promise. I asked. I seeked. I knocked! 

Every day I prayed for the ability to see myself the way God does and to feel my divine worth. I studied His words, I read talks by the leaders of my church, and I watched beautiful bible videos on Christ’s life (which you can find HERE). I read, I studied and I prayed.

You see, when you need answers the way I did, you have to fight! When you’re struggling to love your body or doubting your worth—you have to fight because you are up against the one person who will do anything in his power to stop you from knowing the truth—for 'the truth shall make you free!’ (John 8:32)

No, the light didn’t appear over night, it took time—but each day that I fully partook of the Atonement I could feel Christ’s hands mending my soul. Slowly God taught me. He taught me who I was before I came to this earth, who I’m destined to be, and He taught me what this life is really about.

Just as God promised, He answered.

“Fear not [Tiffany], FOR YOU ARE MINE” -D&C 50:41

God didn’t allow my life to crumble because He is heartless. No! It’s because He needed me to know, with every fiber of my soul, who I am! He needed me to know that my worth didn’t come from everything I did, nor was it something I could earn or obtain—but that it’s there! And it always has been. It’s there when I’m running a successful business and it’s there when all I can do is sit in bed.

For I am HIS. And I always have been.

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What has been the most powerful thing you’ve done or experienced that’s changed your perspective of your body and yourself?

For years I believed that my body was the one thing that held me back from fully loving myself. I thought if I could fit into a certain sized jean, I’d finally be happy. I did every diet, tried every workout. Food was the enemy and my body the victim. It was a horrific vicious cycle and I lived it for years.

To those of you at war with your body—I’m praying for you. Be gentle, be kind.

If we were together I would give you a giant Tiffany hug and then I would look you straight in the eyes and tell you that having a perfect body will never solve self-love. Ever! Nor will a successful business, a perfect marriage, long eye-lashes or pearly white teeth.

Only Christ can.

When I started to build myself upon Him and Him ONLY…everything changed. My circumstances didn’t, but my perspective did—including the way I viewed and treated my body.

Sure I still have ‘ugh!’ days, but resentment and hate no longer exist in my mind and the war with food has ended. I now see my body for the miraculous gift that it is! I’ve started to love it, thank it and appreciate it for being exactly what I need to return home to God. Studying my scriptures has given me an eternal perspective and I know someday my body will be everything I’ve ever dreamed of.Until then, I’m learning to love it, take care of it, nourish it, and do all I can to make it a sacred place for my spirit to dwell.

We all have days when self confidence is low, what do you do to keep those emotions at bay?

First, I play defense by being proactive in my morning routine. This includes reading my scriptures and being specific in the things I pray for. I’ve learned the hard way that these HAVE to be non-negotiable.

When bad days happen, which they do, the first thing I do is recognize that I’ve lost control of my own thoughts. This means I’ve allowed insecurities and negative thoughts, not from God, to enter my mind. I then demand that they leave. I’ve discovered that it’s a lot harder to fill my mind with positive light when I don’t first cast out the negative.

Next, I avoid anything that makes me look inwardly. The scale, the mirror, pictures of myself, social media - anything that would trigger my insecurities.

Then I take action and I ‘lose myself in the service of others.’ Most the time it’s simple: I text a friend, write a note to a family member, get down on the floor and play with my son, or my favorite, I pray! I ask God who needs strength, and then I pray for the individuals that come to my mind.

If I’m still struggling, I bury myself in God’s word until the spirit comes back and I’m able to see things on an eternal perspective again.

How do you make God’s love worth more to you than the love or approval of media and others?

The simple answer…I filter. I’m highly protective of any and all media that I allow into my life. I notice a huge hindrance in my ability to hear God when I let too many outside voices contaminate my mind.

“Looking up, which includes seeking a spiritual witness from God, is the only way to understand who we are. The world is utterly incapable of giving us an accurate view of ourselves.”

— Sheri Dew

How do you make sure you aren’t comparing yourself to others?

In the past I often compared my success or failure based on someone else’s life.

“You only have 1 child and she has 4… you are failing.” “She is a size 2 and runs marathons. You don’t… you are failing.” “She has a perfectly clean house while being a full time business owner. You can’t even finish the dishes… you are failing.”

Such a load of crap! Right?!

When I finally committed myself to consistent scripture study, everything changed. I now understand and have embraced the unique plan that God has for each of us.

Noah built an ark; Moses led the Israelites out of bondage; Enoch established Zion; Abraham was asked to sacrifice his only child; Jacob had 12 sons; and David was a shepard boy who became a King. Each glorified God in an unique and different way.

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Just as Eve’s life wasn’t the same as Esther, Naomi or Mary—your life isn’t going to be the same as your neighbors or the girl you follow on Instagram. We weren’t sent to earth to live parallel lives, but instead to glorify God in our own unique capacity. Comparing your life to anyone else is the most unproductive and derailing thing you can do. Trust me. I did it. And it’s truly the thief of ALL joy. 

I mean….what if Batman decided to stop being his ‘kick-a’ self, just because he wasn’t Superman. What if, instead of saving the world, he sat sulking saying, “I can’t fly, so I’m basically worthless.” I would imagine God sitting on His cloud, shaking his head, “but I gave you the Batmobile, and that amazing mask!”

I know, I’m a nerd, but I think you get my point! (Insert winking face, fist pound, high fives and all the heart emoji’s here!)

Is there a verse of scripture, book, article or person that helps you to know your worth and live it?

My powerhouse to go to is Moses Chapter 1. (Found HERE)

Moses knew exactly who He was and His example has given me my greatest arsenal against the adversary.

“And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God!”

— Moses 1:13

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Yes. God loves you. He loves you in the lowest of lowest and He loves you in the highest of highs. He loves you, not because of anything you have done, or anything you are doing, but because you are HIS! You are eternally His child. He misses you. He’s waiting for you - and if you are ever doubting His love or struggling to know who you are - I challenge you to ask! Ask Him how much He loves you. Ask Him who you are and what it means to be His child. I testify, just as He answered me, so will He answer you!


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