Growing up, Claire was told that she had to work extra hard with her studies because she wasn’t ‘as pretty’ as her sister. Thandi had bad acne and was teased by the children at her school. Luisa’s brother said she was ‘fat and ugly’ and no-one would ever want to go out with her.
Almost no-one comes out of adolescence unscathed and you probably have an equivalent story with painful memories that still affect you to this day. But, worse than the hurtful things that may have happened to you, is that you, yourself, keep the pattern going by continuing to criticise yourself in much the same way. If you’ve ever looked at yourself with dislike or remarked on your ‘huge thighs’, ‘flabby arms, ‘flat chest’, ‘blotchy/saggy skin’ or pronounced any part of your body to be ‘hideous’, you’re treating yourself just as badly as you ever were in the past. Isn’t it amazing that we say these horrible things about ourselves when we would never consider saying them to anyone else?
Saying these cruel things about yourself is a learned habit and, as such, can be unlearned. Your mind and body resonate to every word you say and the more you criticise yourself, the more you entrench and reinforce your lack of self-esteem. Putting yourself down can be a form of self-protection but you can learn to re-programme yourself so that you’re respectful and kind to yourself. Making the effort to change what you think, believe and say about yourself will have a deep and long-lasting impact on your life.
At the root of much of this self-criticism is the current definition of conventional beauty which is so narrow and limited that most women feel excluded. Because of the rise of the ‘celebrity culture’, many of us have been brainwashed to believe that if we don’t look like the airbrushed models we see in the media or the carefully groomed stars on the red carpet, we aren’t beautiful – or even acceptable. If you’ve ever compared yourself to someone famous – and felt yourself lacking – you’re putting your focus in the wrong place.
Reclaiming beauty is about taking beauty back from the very narrowly defined standard of beauty that exists in the media and expanding it to include every single one of us. Beauty is a universal attribute that’s meant to include everyone – not just the very slim and the very young – and the only way to change things is to change how we see ourselves.
The best way I know to transform this outdated and limiting pattern is to expand your idea of beauty so that you see it everywhere – and then to compliment it, if possible. It’s easy to see conventional beauty, but it takes a new attitude and a wider vision to see all the exquisite varieties and expressions of beauty in the world. Actively and consciously look beyond the obvious for the different, the unusual, the rare and the extra-ordinary. Try to see beauty where you haven’t been used to seeing it before.
Look for a perfectly round or an extra-wide face, a distinctive nose, narrow tapered fingers or large artistic hands, gorgeous almond Oriental eyes, blue-black skin or milk-white skin and see their beauty. Acknowledge it and appreciate the richness of the human tapestry. The unlimited variety of human looks, shapes and colours is part of the perfection and order of creation and should be a cause for celebration rather than discrimination.
Remember that you are a unique soul with a particular purpose and how you look is perfect for your life and who you’re meant to become, so it’s pointless to wish that you looked like anyone else because they look as they do to fulfill their own particular purpose. If you spend your time trying to look like anyone else, you may miss out on developing your own unique beauty and style. It’s fun to be inspired by ideas from others, but, ultimately, your greatest satisfaction comes from finding what works best for you. This is how you build a personal style that’s authentic, comfortable – and right for you.
Some questions to consider and reflect upon:
- What critical things were said about me and to me that I still believe?
- What horrible things do I still believe and say about myself? Are they really true?
- What can I do to reclaim my own beauty?
The ‘Look, feel and be beautiful’ formula from my Signature Range will help you to remember and reclaim your own beauty.
Have a look at my full range of specially designed formulas
Order from The Remedy Shoppe – http://theremedyshoppe.co.za/
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