You are beautiful, inside and out; a being made of the same divine ‘star stuff’ as everything else. Claim your innate beauty and elevate your self worth.
How many of us have heard that “beauty is found within?”
While I believe that to be true, this idea has created a dichotomy in our world that praises physical appearance and beauty but shuns anyone who claims it for themselves. Many people refuse to claim their unique beauty — regardless of their shape, color, or size — out of fear of being labeled as vain since beauty is found within.
And yet, is there really any harm in claiming and accepting our physical appearance just as it is?
Over the years, we’ve come a long way in promoting natural beauty and bodies among women. Trying to undo the unrealistic expectations that have been cast upon society by the minority that we celebrate and place on pedestals. And while this movement may have taken root over the past few years, it is fairly new and revolutionary for the women who embody it. My hope is that in the not so distant future, this movement will spread to encompass everyone, regardless of gender.
Men feel self-conscious and teenage boys struggle and are bullied. Males have body image issues and feel shame — it’s just spoken of less. At a time when we still hold images of tribal warriors and knights in armor on their valiant horses, perhaps we’ll come to appreciate the natural beauty of bodies that weren’t designed for battle.
The notion of body positivity seems to be applicable to where you sit on the spectrum of gender and size. It’s a notion that is broken and needs fixing.
But for those of us that struggle, who look upon our reflections with disgust or negative self-talk, how do we change the narrative?
Personally, I’ve spent countless hours mirror-gazing under the influence of my own negative self-talk. How I felt about my body ebbed and flowed much like the weather. Some days I was pleased with the image staring back at me, or in the very least unperplexed by it. Other days were filled with self-judgment and criticism, followed by sighs of resignation.
Instead of raging war on our bodies trying to conform to molds that for many are physically impossible to comply to, what if we chose the path of least resistance, the path of acceptance? Rejoicing and embracing all of who we are and letting that be the starting point. Choosing change and transformation only as a way to amplify and elevate the joy and love we feel for who we already are. Seeking more of the sweet nectar that is the ecstasy of self-acceptance instead of resorting to weight loss and extreme makeovers in search of something better or more socially acceptable.
If we don’t start from a place of peace and love within ourselves, who’s to say we’ll find it on the other end?
The value of our inner beauty and strength is immeasurable, but our bodies remain the temples that hold something so sovereign and sacred. What if we knew we were beautiful, deep in our bones, with the same degree of certainty as the way we know the color of our eyes or our own name? How could we be any less than magnificent since we are divine manifestations of whatever you chose to call it: Spirit, The Universe, God, Star Stuff?
Who are we to dictate and define the parameters of beauty for others, especially when defined so narrowly. And for those subjected to the influence of beauty measures beyond our reach, why oh why would we believe that to be truth?
How much of the contempt we hold for ourselves is out of fear of rejection from others? Fear of being perceived as unattractive or undesirable. And how much of the rejection we are subjected to from others is a discharge of their own contempt towards themselves? And yet, what I’ve come to learn about beauty and desire is that they are an outward projection of an inner state of being.
It’s less about the image and more about the feeling.
What if we released the expectations and ideals that we (and others) have placed on ourselves? Surrendering our worries, fears, and doubts to something Higher than ourselves. Praying for that sweet release from the internal torment, lifting the veil, shrouding the magnificence of who we truly are. Giving ourselves permission to enjoy and revel in this physical experience and embrace the person looking back at us in the mirror. Placing a hand over our beating hearts and holding gratitude for having made it here, for choosing to honor ourselves first.
When we are ready to acknowledge that these fears and distorted perceptions of ourselves do not serve us, that is when they will be healed. When we can recognize them as a sickness of our thoughts, that is when they will be dissolved.
There will always be someone thinner or curvier to aspire to. But what if instead, we chose to honor what’s important by setting a new standard for society and each other?
Because you already are beautiful — you only need to give yourself permission to see it and claim it.
When we can acknowledge and celebrate the beauty of others (and ourselves) in the most beautiful and authentic way possible, we are taking an essential step in creating a society that elevates each other instead of knocking each other down.
You may also enjoy reading Why You Should Cultivate and Practice Self-Compassion by Barbara Larrivee