Courtesy of Flickr/David Blackwell
Loving the self.
Sounds simple enough, right?
Still, somehow this essential operation often feels excruciatingly challenging. Why is this? Where does it come from? And when will our subjective struggles end so that our greatest selves may begin?
My story is only as unique as it reflects my own individual experience. We all go through this; sometimes for a millisecond, sometimes for an eternity. And so my intention in this reflection is to “out” any anxiety around who we think we are so we may live confidently as we are, in all that we are. Aho.
I have battled with body image for as long as I can remember.
In fourth grade, I left private school at Montessori and began the integration to my hometown’s public school. Almost instantly, I was teased. From being seen as “too fat”, the spark of self-loathing was born. It’s harrowing stuff, the unshakable thoughts of not being “enough.”
Throughout the rest of my adolescence, I felt a great deal of pressure to personify perfection. To “get straight A’s,” do “exceptional” in school, keep my room “immaculate” and be better, stronger, thinner and smarter than I was. Or at least, what I thought I was. Over the next 20 years, those overarching feelings of insecurity crept slowly and stuck firmly into nearly all the subtle aspects of my life.
The knotted ball of bull$%*! continues to be something I unwind on a daily basis in an effort to breathe new life into my whole and perfect self—an embodiment I still find difficult to fully embrace.
My eyebrows also happen to naturally grow in two different colors. “Bowie ‘brows,” as they’ve been deemed. The left side brown, the right side blonde, my accompanying mismatched eyelashes and a streak in the back of my hair sport a split-down-the-middle sort-of vibe. What I appreciate now, I loathed for a long time. I spent my entire teens and early-twenties penciling and shadowing them to look “the same.”
Embarrassed of my uniqueness, I did everything I could to hide their difference in an effort to fit in more discreetly with the norm.
Beauty, I thought, was uniform. So, I drew on my face the ideal with a sharpened tool and darker shade, which after time, only felt like wearing a mask.
Now, there are some days I wake up feeling great. My physical body feels strong, my emotional body feels bright, my mind feels clear and my heart feels open and unreserved. The love that resides within my being flows freely, without hesitation. All appears amazing and I live in every moment feeling full and joyous and at peace.
Then other days, I am fear and loathing in Las Vegas, full of judgment and frustration and paranoia and suffering and blah. Complete and utter mental mania about how I look and what to wear and that more-than, less-than, could-a, would-a, should-a sort-of lie.
It takes all that I can muster just to sit within those feelings and shake them off. Bit by bit, piece by piece, breathing deeply and praying profusely for some relief from the war waging within, until I am able to be present once again.
Ultimately, I’m ready to let them all go. Drop the baggage at the door and walk out into the world uninhibited, without anything remotely holding me back.
I want to believe in my magnificence, trust in my greatness and see my unique beauty reflected in the harmony of life. To view my body as a temple and a lighthouse which contains the cosmic universe of my organic entity. To see the things that set me apart as gifts and blessings and to strive for health and happiness above all else.
There are many enlightened beings who share from their hearts with the utmost conviction that we mortals are made with unconditional love from the image of God. And that as God is Divine Perfection, so are we.
But we have forgotten this.
And through the mainstream media, twenty-first century culture, stereotyped, fashion policed, genetically modified impressions of what “beautiful” is meant to look like, we’ve further skewed our senses of how we “should be.” So we torment one another and criticize ourselves and spend lifetimes upon lifetimes stuck in suffering. This painful purgatory is hell on earth.
Let’s just be. exactly. who we are.
There is no discernable reason why the past needs to dictate our present or future. An acknowledgement and gratitude for where we have come from and been is certainly valuable, but when it hinders the opportunity to be our best, now, then it’s time to let it go.
What the world needs is strength, confidence and compassion. And at the core of our essence, in the deepest crevices of our spiritual centers, we are all this and more. We are light, we are truth, we are ever-expansive, whole-souled manifestations of the infinite energy consciousness, the greater-than-words-can-
This life is far too important and impermanent to waste any more time feeling unworthy and insecure.
I invite and empower us to stand taller and freer in our now, breathe more fully into this space with confidence and vitality and re-define ‘self-consciousness’ to mean a deeper and clearer awareness of our radiant richness.
If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, let us always behold ourselves in love. Let us embrace the things that set us apart; the extra this or little bits of that, the components we were granted from the Source. And may we continually remember that we are always inter-connected as one; that we reflect each other in grace and sparkling splendor.
We have the power to shift our perspectives towards acceptance, to be gentle, to be patient, to be kind.
To appreciate the inner fanatic when it shows it’s frightened face and say, “I love you all the same. I love you even more. I love you.”
Each step along this journey is one of awareness and intention, retracing unhealthy thoughts and limiting beliefs. We can do it; we can get to the bottom of this, whatever ‘it’ looks like, pause, reflect, pull out the weeds and plant fresh, fertile ground to grow something new. Each and every one of us.
We can be everything we’ve always wanted to be in this life; in fact, we already are.
So, be you-tiful.
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