Source Material: Beauty of a Woman, Blog Fest 2014, hosted by August McLaughlin at Girl Boner.
This post was written as a contributing post to the Blog Fest and is one of the major exercises in the soon to be released The Next Chapter workbook / planner insert coming in September.
Think of yourself naked. Or, if you’re somewhere you can do so and not be arrested, get naked and look at yourself in a mirror. If you’re like most women I know, you cringed at the thought and absolutely refused to do the act. All your (perceived) physical flaws reared their “ugly” heads; that inner critic of yours immediately started whispering that you are too this or too that, don’t have enough of the one, or too much of the other to be seen without clothes. I bet it even started picking on you for how you look IN your clothes right now! The nerve of that bastard eh?
It’s time to kick some inner critic ass. First, I want you to explain to the voice that Beauty is NOT:
- The size of your clothes
- The weight on the scale
- How much you spent on those shoes, that handbag
- The type of make-up you use
- The level of “whiteness” in your smile, or your skin tone for that matter
- The length, texture, or color of your hair.
You’ve been mis-lead into believing that beauty is based on what other’s SEE when they look at you. I beg to differ, and will shout down that voice inside your head if necessary to make sure you both get this next point. Real beauty can’t be bought, won’t fade, smudge, or decrease with time. It doesn’t wear out or have to be re-applied. It has wrinkles, callouses, stretch marks, scars and sometimes loses its hair. It comes in all shapes, sizes, and exists in many forms. It’s also FREE.
Change Your Perspective – Stop seeing YOUR beauty through SOMEONE else’s eyes.
Do you have a favorite piece of clothing? A sweater perhaps, or tee-shirt, or a comfy pair of shoes. People might tell you that item is “ugly”, “worn out”, “should not be seen in public.” But when you look at it, do you see the wrinkles, the faded colors; frayed hemline or small hole? Nope. You see something of beauty – you see each tear or rip as reminders of good and not so good times, of adventures well taken, risks that were rewarded in victories of survival – lessons learned. When you look upon that favorite object, you don’t see it as anything but beautiful; you love it for all it’s done for you, for how it made you feel when you held it, wore it, used it. Now, picture yourself naked again – no clothes, no make-up. That body has taken you through some amazing, miraculous, crazy, hurtful times. It’s going to take you through so many more. That face? It’s shown joy, sadness, excitement, surprise – it’s earned every pimple, blemish, wrinkle you can see. You are beautiful, the same as your favorite skirt, shirt, shoes, toy, etc.
Change Your Perspective – Show Yourself Some Love
Just as you treat your favorite item with care – you’re careful how you handle it, you wash it either by hand or in the delicate cycle, whatever. You handle it as if it were precious. Do the same with yourself. When you shower, use a soft wash cloth, or spend an extra minute or two gently exfoliating. Use a body wash scented with your favorite fragrance or, if you have sensitive skin, splurge as you can on soaps guaranteed NOT to irritate. When you put lotion on, say three positive things about each body part you rub. I like to tell my pieces “thank you” for doing what they do if I can’t think of a positive attribute at that time (for example, I struggle to find anything positive to say about how my thighs look, so instead, I tell them thank you for being strong and for carrying me through the day).
If you catch yourself saying or thinking something negative about how you look, follow it up with a “But, …” and then three positives. Example, “Good grief, I look fat in these jeans. BUT, this shirt looks wonderful on me, the color brings out the warmth in my complexion. My hair looks pretty good today as well.” See how that works?
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! Now tell that inner critic to sit down and shut-up! :-).
Now you try it…for real. Then if you wouldn’t mind, come on back here and leave a comment. How’d it go? How’d it feel? Were you able to go through with it? If not, no stress. It is a process and this is just one possible exercise.
With love, until our next post.
The Next Chapter