I love my body but do I have self-worth as a woman?
I love my body but do I have self-worth as a woman?
Women the world over are striving to have the ‘perfect body’.
This is reflected in the huge increase in plastic surgery procedures for a full range of treatments and all in an attempt to achieve bodily perfection. We are also bombarded with fitness regimes, diets galore and a whole host of beauty products that all claim to deliver the perfection we seem to be seeking.
In 2014, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reported that Americans Spent More Than 12 Billion dollars on surgical and non-surgical procedures for the second year in a row.
To offset the intensity of this search for body perfection and distract us away from the apparent dissatisfaction we have for our bodies, there was a recent social media campaign, showing naked women standing in front of a mirror saying “I Love My Body” – all this enticing us to believe that this course of action will actually counter the ideal of being perfect and deliver us a feeling of contentment with ourselves. A major newspaper in Australia also ran an article about an older woman’s experience of having sex with younger men – promoting her ability to still be physically attractive to this group of men.
On the surface both these pursuits may be seen as women claiming back their bodies and claiming who they are as women in a culture that incessantly demands bodily perfection, youth and sexual desirability. Whilst these counter-messages are possibly an attempt at addressing an important issue, we need to ask ourselves if any of these approaches actually equate to us as women truly loving our bodies, or more importantly, ones that support us in connecting with and feeling our own self-worth?
What happens when we leave the mirror and mantra behind? Or when that younger man no longer finds the older woman appealing? Do we still feel beautiful or great about ourselves, and worth it?
In my life, I recall that no matter how much looking outside of myself I did, which included the odd mantra along with significant numbers of beauty creams and diets, I was never able to sustain any sense of feeling I was enough, let alone being able to say “I love my body” – just as it is!
But what if the answer to feeling great about ourselves and our bodies is in developing a sense of worth that comes from being connected to who we are in our hearts, through the way we take time to really understand, know and hold ourselves as a woman – is it with love, respect and cherishing, or more of the same “never feeling quite good enough”, self-bashing, or “needing to improve and be better”?
Because it is the quality we hold ourselves in that delivers the type or sense of worth we ultimately then have.
Only through developing true self-worth from within did things begin to change for me to understand that connection to who I truly am allows me to deeply know and develop a true love of my body – from the inside out.
“If you do not identify with the outer and thus stop trying to be what it demands of you to be, you would simply regain your own breath and hence begin to return to the truth that you are.”Serge Benhayon Esoteric & Exoteric Philosophy, p 285
You may be thinking – all that’s great in theory but how do we actually develop true self-worth and inner beauty in the real world, and how does this lead us to truly embracing our bodies, whatever they look like?
What supported me in letting go of always striving for, and the constant battle I had towards body perfection were things like:
- Reciting “I Love my body” – from my head filled with ideals and beliefs
- Looking for confirmation from others to feel that I am ok
- Listening to negative thoughts about how I perceive my bodily imperfections
- Striving for the perfect body or look – since who decided what ‘that look’ is anyway?
- Buying beauty products that are aimed to make me look better/younger. I found they don’t actually work and that how I feel within myself is my greatest beauty product.
- Remembering the little girl who knew she was so much more than what her body or physical presentation looked like
- Appreciating my body for the amazing job it does every day
- Slowing down and just spending some time with me – to listen to my body in relation to food, sleep or activity
- Looking deep into my eyes when looking in the mirror
- Picking clothes and beauty products that celebrated me. Remember those sparkly shoes you always wanted!
- Appreciating the amazing qualities I naturally have, my grace, style and naturalness
A great way to think about this is to recall when you were a little girl, or if that is difficult, to think of a little girl you have spent time with.
A little girl doesn’t look at the mirror telling herself her body is great or wait for someone to tell her she is great. She just knows this because she lives from an innate knowing that she is lovely and is enough just as she is. Sadly, when others around her don’t actually appreciate how lovely she is, she starts to doubt what she naturally feels and begins to think she has to try to be – funny, pretty, smart, hard-working, strong, helpful…quiet – and fit a certain picture to be seen and accepted to feel worth it. From girl to woman we take this external notion of [self-worth] into every aspect of our lives and work.
It seems the time has come for us as women to get off the treadmill that encourages us to seek confirmation through outer physical beauty or presentation and get really honest with ourselves in the knowing that despite a billion dollar body, face and hair-based beauty industry, or trying to be the best at something for recognition, that true self-worth comes not from our looks, desirability, or achievements, but from the way we hold ourselves in life and what we feel about ourselves on the inside and our essence.
No matter how great our figure, how amazing our beauty, how talented and successful we are, it does not amount to even the smallest fraction of who we are inside. Self-worth is connecting to the inner being – that we can get to know by feel – that sense of who we are underneath the skin, the woman that no make-up touches or clothes to adorn, but the inner being encased in an outer shell that seems to have forgotten the treasure and wealth inside it. When we know our worth we naturally begin to treat ourselves accordingly. In this knowing, instead of an: “I love my body” Facebook mantra campaign, a new one that might actually truly support women could be:
“I love my body – as I live self-worth from my inner connection”
After years of looking elsewhere, it’s clear to me that embracing the warmth and soundness of inner connection in our lives, giving ourselves the time of day even for a moment, and beginning to allow ourselves to start to develop a sense of the inner-self is what builds a bridge to a true sense of self-worth that forever turns the tide on how we as women feel about ourselves, our bodies and our worth.
Our bodies are the containers of a wealth of innate beauty and love. No one can make us know our innate worth – it cannot be bought, earned or measured, and is something that only each of us must come to know for ourselves in our own time.
Self-worth, once felt, is the easiest way to effortlessly care for, value and treat ourselves respectfully in everything we do, not because we should, but because we feel once again who we truly are – the still, immense and immeasurable beauty inside that makes it natural to live and work in ways that bring and deepen this presence into every part of our everyday lives. When there is connection to this, it dissolves the need and neediness for any declarations of: ‘I love my body’ to make us feel ok, or looking for anyone else to find us attractive, to feel good enough. We become free to say: I love my body and care for and tend to it lovingly, tenderly, joyfully because I know to the bone my own self-worth and preciousness as a woman.
“When you look in the mirror you will always see what you feel.”Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations, p 539
Going to the gym for self-love rather than recognition
Why push yourself when you can create a natural body without going into an excessive regime?