Dear Awesome Woman,
I hope you’re ready to get even more awesome.
What do you say to yourself when you look in the mirror?
Do you compliment yourself on how stunningly beautiful you look?
Or do you have the habit of criticizing different body parts that don’t quite live up to your expectations? Do you have an ideal idea of beauty and it’s not what you see reflected back at you? Do you have a wishlist in your mind of how your hair, your hips, your teeth should look?
I get it. I’ve done this for as many years that I can remember living on this planet.
But no more!
I’ve made the decision to be willing to release the need to continue this habit.
No more criticism and no more wish lists.
Because I finally realized how unkind it is to speak to my body like that. It’s demeaning and painful. I certainly wouldn’t like it if someone outside of me spoke of my body in such a way , so why tolerate such a lack of acceptance and meanness from the inside?
Two authors brought my attention to this unkind habit that I was engaged in. The first was Susan Stiffelman in her book called “Parenting With Presence” in which she mentions a life – changing experience she had. She had participated in a workshop where she was given a paper bag with two holes cut out for eyes. She was instructed to bring it to her hotel room and place it over her head as she faced a mirror without any clothes on. Looking through the eye holes, she was to pay attention to the commentary in her head as she viewed her naked body. She realized how harshly she judged her body and eventually eased into a place that she describes as “almost holy.” In her words:
“I moved from noticing how harshly I judged each part of my body to realizing what a gift it had been to receive it and how perfect it was, exactly as it was.” (p.98).
This had an impact on me and for a while I did as the author suggested which was to take a moment each morning to thank my body parts.
But forming new habits is a bit tricky and overtime, I forgot to do this.
Then a friend shared a book with me called “Dressing Your Truth” by Carol Tuttle. The author has developed a theory connecting the four basic building blocks of nature to people’s type of beauty, including physical features, personality and behavioral tendencies.
Type 1 : Nitrogen – Air; The Bright, Animated Woman
Type 2: Oxygen – Water; The Subtle, Soft Woman
Type 3: Hydrogen – Fire; The Rich, Dynamic Woman
Type 4: Carbon – Earth; The Bold, Striking Woman
I happen to resonate with much of what she says, but what really struck me in reading her book and watching some of her videos was how passionately she spoke about her pain over working with women and their shame over their bodies. Her very lofty goal is to revolutionize the beauty and fashion world and help women take back their beauty.
Whether her fashion/personality theories resonate with you or not, I believe it is time to release the shame many of us have of our bodies and to embrace the truth of our beauty.
To me this means having a new dialogue with my body.
So with this decision, I’ve begun a new habit – when I look in the mirror as I brush my teeth in the morning, I visualize going from my toes upward telling my body parts that I love them. It goes something like this:
I love my toes, I love my arches, I love my heels, I love my ankles, I love my shins, I love my knees, I love my thighs, I love my hips, I love all my digestive system, I love my ovaries, I love my pelvic bowl, I love all my feminine parts (often I’ll name them, but I don’t need to do that here :), I love my tummy, I love my lungs, I love my ribs, I love my arms, I love my elbows, I love my hands, I love my fingers, I love my shoulders, I love my back, I love my neck, I love my chin, I love my mouth, I love my lips, I love my teeth, I love my nose, I love my eyes, I love my eyebrows, I love my forehead, I love my hair, I love my muscles, I love my ligaments etc.
Basically whatever body part that I visualize and remember while I’m brushing my teeth, I tell that part, I love it. Especially the ones that I’ve criticized most in the past. If one day I miss a part, I know, I’ll get to it later or the next day.
The best part about this is that it’s becoming a habit. Now when I look in the mirror anytime throughout the day, my inner dialogue starts telling me the body parts I love. Kind of cool, huh?
Not only does this feel soooo much better than the “criticize and bemoan” dialogue of before, but I know that with love and acceptance, my body will be that much healthier. Such is the way of honor and respect.
So, I invite you to try this new habit as well.
The truth about your beauty starts with you.