Self-nurturing women’s true inner beauty through self-connection
Self-nurturing women’s true inner beauty through self-connection
Over the years I have noticed a common theme amongst women is that we rarely feel satisfied with how we look, and neither do we have a solid sense of our own true inner beauty and style. While there is wide variation on definitions of what makes a woman beautiful, it’s usually customary for beauty to be associated with external appearances. Unfortunately, the dynamics of this ‘beauty’ yardstick are ever changing and in their wake leave women with relentless body image pressures which continue across their lifespan. The end result is that regardless of age, culture or socioeconomic status, women everywhere are easily able to point out their perceived flaws and downplay any compliments that come their way, but rarely can they see their qualities and what it is that is special about themselves.
We live in an era where self-care, self-empowerment and self-love are talked and written about like never before, not to mention the many courses and retreats run on these topics. Yet we also need to look no further than the explosion of beauty industry offerings of cosmetic treatments and surgeries to see that low self-worth and the discontentment we feel about our appearance is monumental and growing further by the day. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery report that the number of cosmetic procedures has increased 538% since 1997, with most recent data showing that the top five surgical procedures for women have been for:
- Breast Augmentation
- Tummy Tuck
- Eyelid Surgery
- Breast Lift
Though rife, the true cost of poor body esteem financially, psychologically, socially and physically, remains largely hidden from sight. Women know that many of the images that the media and advertising portray are unrealistic, yet they still succumb from an early age to the messages telling them that their worth is directly linked to their appearance.
It’s like we as women are stuck in a maze and can’t see a way out, so we keep applying more of the same solutions in the hope that one or more of them will magically provide the answer to any lack of self-worth, hurts or emptiness we feel inside ourselves. The rawness of being stuck in this cycle leaves us feeling vulnerable, ugly, ashamed and isolated. We then continue the search out in the world for answers – yet irrationally, this is the same world that determines the everchanging ‘beauty’ benchmarks we rely on and keep measuring ourselves up against! It’s a no-win situation for women and one that inevitably leaves them struggling with poor body image and without any true sense of their beauty and worth.
I too have been caught in this loop. Growing up as a teenager I felt the stigma of not being part of the ‘in crowd’ when it came to how I looked. I would watch and try and copy others who I thought had ‘it’ when it came to elegance and beauty. Yet when I put on my own clothes and make-up etc, there was no special glow of confirmation when I looked in the mirror. In fact, I would usually still feel like I was trying hard but the beauty perfection and pinnacle I was searching for as a woman remained elusive.
Over the years I have well and truly lost track of the clothes, creams, potions, treatments, foods etc that I have bought, used, consumed and worn in the quest to make myself feel beautiful and stylish. But the pursuit was endless and never satisfying and definitely undermined my sense of self-worth.
"There is no joy in living in a body that does not reflect who you truly are."Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations, Volume II, ed 1, p 318
It has only been over the past decade that things have been turning around for me, and similarly for other women I know, as we have sought to define beauty and style in more meaningful ways. We’ve all heard the hype previously highlighting that what’s within a woman is the true marker of her beauty, yet the current emphasis on surgery and other supposedly beauty-enhancing products shows us that we don’t accept/trust the message. For me, the key has not been found in focussing directly on my relationship with my physical appearance but from something else completely: developing a connection with myself from the inside, i.e. connecting with my essence.
When we change the beauty focus from one based on seeking external solutions to slowly building a relationship with our bodies, what is there to be uncovered is immensely inspiring and precious. This inner beauty is something we are not used to looking for, let alone seeing and accepting, and it is the total opposite of the consciousness of what constitutes beauty according to most of the media hype currently circulating. It’s a process that asks for openness and a willingness to explore what is being shown to us through a connection with our bodies. The more we can pause and take the time to observe and feel what is going on within us, the more we can feel an inner stillness. This is where we see the marker of our true beauty being mirrored back to us. Whether we resist this reflection or embrace it is up to us, but the more we acknowledge and appreciate what we are being shown, the more we each bring to the surface our own particular quality of beauty and style for all to see.
There are various tools I found to be helpful embarking on this journey of self-discovery; a journey of learning to connect with my body through my inner heart and not overriding anymore what my body is communicating back to me. The way we develop self-connection varies from person to person. A simple starting point for me was and continues to be through paying attention to my breathing and here the Gentle Breath Meditation® has been a wonderful support to implement into my day-to-day life.
Quality Building Gentle Breath Meditation
This Gentle Breath Meditation honours the fact that we deserve the time to develop, confirm and enjoy the quality of our own stillness.
Other practical ways I used to re-build a more compassionate, caring, loving relationship with myself were through paying closer attention to the way I brushed my hair, cleaned my teeth, chose my clothes and applied any products to my skin. I began to ask myself if I was doing these everyday tasks in a cold, hard, critical and functional way with complete disregard for what is happening on the inside, or was I able to take the time to feel the quality of what is being called for by my body? For most of my life I hadn’t even stopped and considered that how I approach these tasks might make a huge difference to how I felt about myself and that there was a flow-on effect on my external appearance! But over time, I realised that all these small acts did count and furthermore, they determined the quality I then held myself in during the day.
There are also a range of modalities within Esoteric Healing such as Esoteric Yoga, Massage, Chakra Puncture and Psychology sessions I continue to use as my particular go-to resources to support re-connection. Each modality offers a pathway to getting to know myself more intimately and to clear away the layers of accumulated ideals, beliefs and associated pictures which blind me from seeing and feeling my true beauty in the first place.
Regardless of which approach we work through, each step taken towards connecting with our body and accepting what it communicates, changes our relationship with ourselves. As any dismissal, overriding and critique of our body and appearance lessens over time, the space opens up for us to more highly value the quality of our being. Self-worth can grow as it becomes increasingly normal for us to connect with and accept the communications from our body. We begin to feel more of the natural loveliness that is pulsing inside us and the door is opened to the possibility that here is the true key to beauty and style.
It’s a process of learning to recognise what is true within us. The answers don’t come from books and one of the things I found out early on was that changing attitudes and recognising and letting go of ideals and beliefs requires great self-responsibility. With honesty and a curiosity to understand more about myself, I came to see that my current life situation was really a summary of the good and not so great choices I have made.
I had lived a life up to that point where I had little connection to myself as a woman. This state of avoidance allowed me to dismiss, override and critique my body and appearance and let hardness, comparison and perfectionism became the driving forces. I was stubbornly ignoring the fact that my solution to the problem of my insecurity was actually doing far more damage to myself mentally, physically, financially, socially and psychologically than I cared to admit.
Yet, as time went by I started to build self-compassion and began to replace the negative self-attributions with self-love and self-nurturing. As anyone wanting to change lifelong habits will tell you – it’s not easy . . . but I also sensed that the little changes I applied were real and permanent. As I learned to apply the brakes to the constant motion I lived in, I began to see that I had an alternate, self-nurturing way to live. With each step I took towards connecting with my body and accepting what it communicated, I began to feel more of the natural loveliness that was pulsing strongly inside myself and I came to finally recognise that here was the true key to beauty.
Even trusting that there can be such a concept as inner beauty can be difficult with all the beauty industry hype constantly feeding us the message that we aren’t beautiful in our own right. However, all women hold a unique inner beauty and style, which is waiting to shine through, and inside us all is a delicateness and a lovely sense of calm confidence and self-worth that comes from deep within that no cream, outfit or hairstyle offered by the beauty industry can ever deliver.
Self-connection through our body offers a pathway for women to access these treasures and to translate the knowledge we all give lip service to, i.e. ‘true beauty is on the inside’, to a lived reality where it is possible for each to feel their own special qualities and enjoy and appreciate them: their laugh, the sparkle in their eyes, their gentle movements, the way they claim their particular style of fashion choices, the confidence with which they speak, and the way they lead busy lives but don’t appear to get caught up in the rush and drive that most people are living in.
Each time we claim and let our inner beauty shine through, we redefine what true beauty is all about – and what a powerful reflection that is for us all to experience!
"A woman's body will always be beauty-full to her, if she but allows who she truly is on the inside to model it."Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations, Volume I, ed 1, p 548