Hey, beautiful. Yes, I am talking to you!
How many of us would talk to ourselves in that way, showering ourselves with adulations? If you do, then congratulations, you are on the way to the moon and stars, where everything you ever want to accomplish is possible.
For the rest of the world, I am here to tell you - you are beautiful. Try saying that to yourself. Feeling ridiculous? Before you click away, please let me say this to you - Everything we want to accomplish is possible. How many times have we brought ourselves down, self-imposing hurdles that would ultimately inhibit us from reaching our fullest potential? Take it from me, a 30 year old female who had spent her entire life hating her body and her appearance, who had thought perfection was the way of life, and had consequently spent years battering and haranguing herself so much that she would not even take a glance at herself in the mirror, and seriously believing that she was made of pure bad luck, hence leading to a battle with anorexia and body dysmorphia.
I am recovering now from these disorderly thoughts, and it all began with the admission that there is beauty in imperfection. Author and shame researcher Brene Brown practically saved my life. Her books explore the idea of vulnerability, of how much fear humans have for imperfection, how we strive to be extraordinary in order to be acknowledged and loved. I have spent most of my childhood and adolescence striving for approval from my parents, teachers and friends - and I stand for thousands and perhaps millions of others out there who feel that acknowledgement from another person is the only validation of our self-worth.
After so many years of trying to “gain control” of my body, I realised that true beauty stems from true self-satisfaction. Understanding and embracing our own uniqueness is a lifelong journey, but when you truly understand how much of it is within our own hands, you can then be so empowered that anything is possible. Nutritionist and best-selling author Kimberly Snyder has written extensively about how our self-talk is so crucial in the outward manifestations, and this include appearance and comportment. Whatever you are repeatedly saying to yourself and others ultimately plants the seeds for your self-image, and trust me, your emotions and thoughts all project an energy that others can feel.
Whether you are on a weight loss journey or recovery from an eating disorder, you are helping yourself immensely along the way when you are able to speak to yourself with kindness and love.
Love for ourselves cannot be mistaken for narcissism. Love for ourselves is about true satisfaction, the kind of satisfaction that aligns our body, mind, and soul. True satisfaction in ourselves stems from within. I have struggled with low body image for a long time, and still do on the odd day, but the most important thing is how quickly we can draw ourselves back up. We meet ego with self-compassion, and say, you are here, ego. I acknowledge all that negativity you are floating to me, but I love myself enough to say, I love me, unconditionally, no matter if I have a kangaroo pouch, or if I have variegated veins tainting the back of my hands, or if I have no thigh gap.
We all compare ourselves to someone else's standards, and even in some cases, our own impossible standards. Social media has somewhat blown up the scale and pressure of this need - simply looking at the way plastic surgery demand has gone up so substantially gives a very good indication on how our physical dissatisfaction has so affected us all. Brene Brown once wrote: “When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose.”
I dropped to 34kg at the nadir of my eating disorder, and I still thought I was highly unattractive, overweight, and undeserving of love. After numerous trips to the nutritionist for IV drips and hormonal jabs, it turned out that what truly could save me was therapy - hypnotherapy, to be exact. I stopped seeing the nutritionist because of the hormonal treatments and pills she had chose to put me on. I wanted to heal in a more natural manner, and besides, the external hormones were driving me stark mad - think bottomless pit hunger and bloatedness, tremendous mood swings and a sense of loss.
Beauty is already vibrating within us. All we need to understand and master is the art of realising our true potential.
Stay tuned for Part 2 next month