When did we stop seeing and celebrating the beauty in ourselves and others? Society currently places such a premium on body image, which is blinding us to other precious aspects of our self. Our impaired vision causes an obsessive fixation on physical appearance and we lose sight of the beauty within us, a beauty which when recognised emanates like ripples of starlight.
Nature bestowed us with the desire to make ourselves attractive in order to attract a mate for procreation. The courtship dance is replicated across many species as a mating ritual to ensure survival. We have however taken it to the extreme, and the original context in which nature intended self beautification is being lost.
This article is not intended to judge personal choices; in fact I celebrate the right to have a choice. It is intended to challenge the thought process that sees only one dimension of our multi-dimensional self, offering ideas that allow the reader to experience change and view themselves from a different perspective, one that encourages paying tribute to the beauty you already possess, and to reclaim it in its entirety, celebrating individual uniqueness.
Wanting to look your best should be part of an overall sense of wellbeing. It is a giant leap however from putting on your best frock and a bit of lippy to undergoing liposuction and gastric lap banding. Having cosmetic surgery to refine, expand, lift up, take out or plump has become common-place across all ages and incomes. The labels on your clothing and accessories now have the potential to define you as a person…why?
How have we come to this time when we view our bodies in such an abhorrent way that we feel the need to undergo invasive physical renovations? It is not only surgical options we resort to. There are medications that promise us trim and taut bodies, and exercise equipment that has us transformed over a 30 second advertising segment. Then there are the more tragic body altering alternatives we fall victim to. Anorexia, bulimia and self-mutilation, all to have an effect on the way we look. It is sad testament that we now have to be vigilant with our children in regard to these life threatening conditions. This excessive concern over physical appearance, this need to be visually perfect, has become an addiction and as with all addictions will impact on all areas of your life.
We are a media oriented society which brings enormous benefits and avails us to a vast world of knowledge, but we have lost our grounding in this information revolution. We look at an image in a magazine, on a billboard or television and are at once transported to the realm of possibility that we could become that illusion. Possibility translates to longing and we begin to lose sight of who we really are. We start being affected to the point that we no longer look down at our feet to see where we are standing. Instead of viewing the images as just a magazine cover, or advertising designed to seduce us to buy or promote a product, it has become our priority to look like that model on a glossy cover…at any cost. We convince ourselves that eternal happiness will be the ultimate prize if we pursue our obsession of trying to be someone else.
Caring about your appearance is positive, and it feels good to step out in a new outfit and invite compliments. Hey, we all have an ego, but let’s keep it in perspective, because as it stands now, we are dying in the pursuit of physical perfection.
Listed below are suggestions that will enable you to see yourself through different eyes, encouraging you to remember and recognise those aspects of your beauty that have been buried. It will require practice on your part, but the results will be liberating.
- Observe your posture. Instantly you sit up taller and your body changes shape. Take a deep breath as you roll your shoulders back and feel opened up to new possibilities. Throughout the day take the time to assess your posture. Feel your elegance and nobility. Tip: Lying on your back with your head on a book and your knees bent for 15 minutes a day will keep your posture in good alignment.
- Meditate and learn the art of self-reflection. Join a meditation group if this is new to you. Meditation is your greatest weapon in your arsenal of becoming beautiful. It can connect you with your inner self, and teach you how to be in command of the destructive thoughts that stunt you.
- Tune in and listen to your inner dialogue. Inner dialogue is that incessant mind chatter. As you perfect this, begin by listening without censure, making a note of your random thoughts. Then begin to direct the chatter. There may be a lot of work to do here as our inner critic can be brutal. Pay attention, compliment and praise yourself often. Detoxify from any thoughts that negate you, and be vigilant. Refuse to beat yourself up about anything. There is nothing unattractive about you. Tip: Repeat the affirmation ‘I lovingly release you, I let you go’ when negative thoughts threaten – they can be very seductive.
- Get physical. Exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good substance that is released from the brain to lift our mood or help relieve pain. Walking is great on many levels and a good way to kickstart an exercise regime. Exercise makes us live in the present and keeps us focused. Shop around for an exercise regime that is challenging, fun and that you will stick to. Tip: Yoga is also highly recommended. Yoga boosts body image and women who practise regularly report greater satisfaction with their physical appearance and fewer symptoms of disordered eating when compared to non-yoga practitioners. (Australian Women’s Weekly: July 2010)
- Write up a contract for yourself. Make it attainable and leave no room for beating yourself up. Include affirmations that will inspire you, people who will support you, and room for acknowledging that you are not perfect. Detail how you are going to honour the person you are now and the steps you are going to take to reclaim your beauty. Be creative.
- Turn off the television, stop surfing the net, and buying magazines, until you can without being influenced.
- Learn tapping. Tapping incorporates acupressure and psychology. This is the therapy of gently tapping specific points on your body while repeating words that can bring about changes, either physical or emotional. You will need to seek out an EFT (emotional freedom technique) practitioner, or a therapist that uses tapping in their practice.
- Laugh loud and long. Remember how to play like a child. Children see the joy in everything regardless of their physical appearance. Kick off your shoes and run through the sand. It feels good.
- Have a reiki or theta healing on a regular basis. Both of these therapies align our energy. We are vibrational energy beings and need rebalancing as stress influences around us and life in general can affect our equilibrium. These therapies are gentle, yet powerful.
Ultimate happiness is not the Nirvana we need to seek. Finding courage should be the goal. Seek your courage to enable you to let go of the need to emulate others and to reverse the desire to define yourself by your physical appearance only. Use the courage to change your focus from the aspects you don’t like to the important things about yourself that you can admire. Perfection is boring; there is no room for growth or change in faultlessness. No longer compare yourself with others, nor seek the validation of others. Just follow the suggestions, find your courage, and you will begin to resonate from a place of authenticity, liberation and wholeness. Then just sit back and see how beautiful you and the world have become. Good journey.
Author Joanne Bryant can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on 0407 694 800.
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