Reclaiming Your Beauty
We all have parts of our body or personalities that we have felt shame around. The idea of reclaiming our beauty sounds good, but actually embracing our ugly parts is harder to do.
The truth is, we HATE our wide hips, saggy belly, and bat wings that flap when we move our arms.
We look at them with disgust and would do the unthinkables to find the miracle body changer.
We try to change it but fall short. We may even have success with changing it, only to find we still don’t feel beautiful.
We desperately try to change ourselves, hoping that will fill the emptiness and shame we feel inside.
We tell ourselves,”I am too busy to get into all of that today.”
So, we ignore the uncomfortable feelings and turn to our comfort foods.
We tell ourselves,”it is just a few cookies and I will work out harder tomorrow.”
We stuff our mouths so we don’t have to deal with the self-abandonment on the inside.
We choose to reject ourselves repeatedly and pretend to barely notice the damage we are doing.
Instead, we continue to focus on fixing our body, career, relationships, etc…
Only to find more imperfections surfacing so we can fix them!
What we seek will find.
We may even notice moments of acceptance an hour into our yoga practice.
Those moments we begin to turn inward, paying attention… listening…feeling like we are being filled up again.
Then, it quickly goes away when we put on our little dress and take a look at our imperfect body.
We continue to secretly hate ourselves.
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Dressing to Cover Up
I would get excited when it was cold enough to justify wearing jackets that covered my arms.
On warm days, I’d endure the sweating just so I didn’t have to go into the body shame.
It was the really hot days that brought up the most fear.
I’d become inundated with thoughts like, “oh no, I will be burning up if I wear something over my arms, but I can’t possibly let these arms out in public!”
I’d have cute dresses that I loved but would only wear them around my house.
It was torture in the 100-degree weather that seemed to go on forever in Texas.
I silently envied girls that could wear tank tops. They didn’t even seem bothered by the heat.
I tried all the latest and greatest arm workouts with no results. My arms just seemed to get tighter but bigger.
Then, something surprising happened.
I visited Peru and was amazed by the women. They had wise eyes, weathered skin, and round bellies.
The thing that left me in awe was the sense of pride they seemed to carry in their bellies. They were not ashamed to have pot bellies.
They would wrap them in beautiful colored belts like a frame of their most precious accomplishments.
Some would even leave them bare with no regard for self-consciousness.
I remember how this struck me. I was at once inspired and slightly jealous that they lived in a culture that embraced this as beauty.
What Choice Do We Have?
I have a friend that struggled with loose skin from having two babies. She admitted actually hating her belly.
In my eyes, she represented the graceful, powerful, soft, and wise aspects of the Divine Feminine.
I never imagined her having shame around her stunning self.
Then, I watched her as she shifted the shame into a loving acceptance. She brought back a soul piece of an ancient tribal part of herself that loved her belly.
This tribal woman had no need to cover her belly because she was proud of it and let it hang out for all to see and admire.
As I watched her step fully into this loving acceptance of her belly, I heard an invitation to do the same.
I heard my arms, hips, and belly beckoning me to accept them just the way they are.
They were asking for the same unconditional love I yearned to have for myself.
I longed to be accepted by ALL, just for being me.
I felt regularly rejected by my outside world, until I got a realization.
I could see how I was still asking my outside world to do something I hadn’t been willing to do myself.
I wanted my whole world to Love my perceived physical imperfections completely…unconditionally so I could feel good about them.
But, it was up to me to do this. Then the world would follow.
Could I love myself like that?
Could I love me when I had jiggly skin on my body? What about when I was sick, or injured?
Could I find beauty in THAT?!
At the time, I wasn’t sure how to start.
I decided to spend time each day devoting loving acceptance of each part of me that I spent years hating.
I would treat it with the love I did my cat. I would pay attention to it, put my hands on it with love and listen to it.
By listening to it, I mean giving it what it needed.
If I ate something that made me sick, I would listen to the stomach ache I was feeling.
We can have an intention to actively give love to our bodies as easily as we have sent hatred to them.
We can be gentle with ourselves when we are sick or injured by making ourselves a priority.
These are new habits we can develop by spending a little time every day.
Our habit of hatred did not happen all at once. We practiced it repeatedly until it became our default.
When we bring love into the areas we don’t like, we reclaim a beauty that is not dependent on what society or anyone else tells us.
A New Kind of Beauty
We bring beauty into the places where judgment has lived, creating a perceived ugliness. We open it to beyond judgment. In this place, we find a sigh of relief.
We find perfection and realize we are PERFECTION just the way we are right now.
As we embrace ourselves just the way we are, we notice our world changing to reflect that Beauty back to us.
Thank you for reading.
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Misha Almira is a shamanic healer. meditation teacher, and full time blogger.