The featured image is from my makeover with an old college friend I had the privilege to visit. The following are some reflections & storytelling on beauty and self love.
When I was getting on the plane on my way home from this visit, I overheard a conversation between two young girls traveling with their mother that revealed how self loathing can infiltrate into our beings and be so hard to shake.
The older sister who was about 10 years old, says to her younger sister who is about 8 years old; “Your hair is so stringy. You have to get all the conditioner out. Clearly you don’t know how to do it right.” Her tone is not loving but quite condescending. The mother touches the younger girl’s hair and basically agrees with the snooty older sister. I look over at this adorable young girl and she looks heart broken, devastated that she yet again is not living up to her families standards. Clearly this mother and daughter team love this girl but they don’t realize how they are perpetuating self hatred. I can relate to this scenario as the mean older sister, and the child whose standard of beauty was never quite up to the norm.
When you don’t feel like you are good enough, you continue to strive to be something you are not, you continue to have self loathing which never includes caring for yourself well. Part of a healthy lifestyle is letting go of other peoples standards and stepping into appreciating yourself as the whole person you are, with the validation and traumas you have endured.
This scenario particularly stands out to me as I am leaving a visit with old college friends who have a different standard of beauty than me. Once I graduated from college I renounced all fashion magazines. The super models and their miniature bodies had no resemblance to mine, and I finally realized that this was not a standard of beauty I had to live up to. I spent years learning to feel good in my body at the size that felt healthy & realistic for me.
Instead of starving myself, I focused on nourishing myself with foods that were energizing.
Instead of bingeing after days of deprivation, I found dietary protocols that led to real satisfaction without cravings, mood swings, and rubber band effects.
Instead of striving to be something that was not my genetic heritage, I began to love and accept myself for who I was.
I teach classes about this now, and yet when I landed back into a culture that values squeezing bodies into spandex suits to hold it all in, and avoiding our bodies’ cues so we can stay super thin; it was challenging not to start thinking I wasn’t ‘enough’ again. Clearly I have more work to do.
I was surprised to see the filters of pictures posted on social media that perpetuate this myth that bodies are only beautiful if they have small waists. Everyday people are now crafting their posts to look like the models I renounced. I yearn for messaging that allows our flaws to show and ‘real’ images entering our psyche rather those pretending we can be something we are not.
I opened up to my old friends and together we grappled with these beauty myths. Surprisingly, when I dropped my judgements of their ways, I was able to let go of inner judgements as well. I began to understand that we all have different standards of beauty and when we are feeling beautiful we are RADIANT. So instead of focusing on being a certain size, they are focused on creating an image of themselves that they feel good about. Make-up, fluffy hair, and nail polish allow their sparkle to shine. Being beautiful in this way is important to many people. Taking care of ourselves on the inside and the outside can allow us to step into our highest potential. Even though I am not drawn to make up rituals & blown dry hair, I can spend a few moments nurturing myself in the morning so I feel good about who I am. So that my insides reflect my outside and vice versa.
How can you rewrite those tapes that are in your head of your bossy big sister, critical parent, or mean cousin? Can you find relationships that nourish you with reminders of how wonderful you are? Can you find the clothes that you feel good in and express your authenticity? And can we make healthy choices because we love ourselves?
I share with you one practice that has helped me in the past. Take a moment to contemplate:
I love myself therefore I will…… What is it for you? For me,
Today I love myself therefore I will:
– commit to my morning yoga practice
– create a healthy meal for me and my family that we can enjoy together
– clean the house to make it comfortable for me
– take a moment to rest and renew my spirit
so I can step into health and vitality.
– tell someone else how beautiful and special they are
I am here to support you in being your most radiant self, not according to magazine standards but according to your own compass. You can learn to listen to your intuition, your body cues, and be the best you that is possible.
Schedule a free introductory consult today to find out more about how I can support you in a health & wellness program that is most aligned for you. Nourishing inner wellness so our beauty can shine through.
Know someone who is struggling with how to feel better with food and natural medicine, share this blog with them and I encourage them to schedule a free introductory session today.
Best wishes for optimal wellness,
Sephirah Stacey Oshkello, MS, RD, CD