I feel deeply sad, as I reflect on my past, that truly being able to believe and ultimately live this quote has not been an easy process for me. And some days it still isn’t.
Of course intellectually, logically, it makes sense but for much of my adolescence and adult life I truly thought that to FEEL beautiful I had to LOOK beautiful on the outside. And to look beautiful on the outside I looked to what magazines and our culture told me was beautiful. Which ultimately was perfection. Photoshopped perfection.
Today I see the Facebook feeds and Instagram posts of my 15 years old son’s female friends and nothing seems to have changed. In fact, perhaps, due to the increased prevalence of social media and pornography it has only gotten worse. I see these young girls putting so much of their value in how they look in the mirror. Allowing themselves, allowing myself, to be used and valued for our bodies rather than who we are as imperfect beautiful human beings. And it breaks my heart.
It feeds that belief of ‘I am never enough’ and it eats away at our self-worth and self-acceptance. Part of the problem for me is that I didn’t feel good about myself. I had a very harsh inner critic that told me I was not enough. I have a history of low self-esteem and low self-worth. And even when I did look ‘beautiful’ on the outside, I still didn’t feel beautiful on the inside.
Slowly, gently I have re-orientated my focus away from it being about how I look on the outside, to focus on who I am as a human being. My kind heart, my tenaciousness, my courage, my generous nature. I have been following the path of compassionate self-awareness and in particular self-compassion and the two have changed my life. I am learning to find my sense of worth and my sense of acceptance from within, rather than from without.
I am learning to love and forgive myself. May we all find our inner beauty. May we teach our daughters and our daughter’s daughters that “beauty is what you feel about yourself not about what you see in the mirror”.
With great warmth