I want to share something beautiful that happened to me . . .
My beautiful story starts in the darker depths of childhood when I was being persistently psychologically and emotionally abused. It might have been called ‘in the name of fun’ by someone else, but nonetheless, I was terrified and became isolated from the rest of my family. Worse still from my inner-essence.
It starts with me being terrorised with taunts and threats until about fourteen years old when I came up with the ‘brilliant’ solution – not of standing up for myself unfortunately – but of numbing myself with drugs. I couldn’t work out what was ‘wrong’ with me to attract such abuse, or how to behave to arrest it.
As I grew up I had to invent some basis of self to fit into the world, so my entire self-esteem and identity proceeded to be based upon a tragic array of glamorous illusions of societal constructed pre-requisites for beauty, success and acceptability.
I spent the better part of my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s trying to define who I am by what I look like and what I do… the problem was, I never could. I unconsciously manipulated my every decision towards seeking recognition and acceptance. I moulded myself according to standards that I didn’t agree with nor believe in, that didn’t honour my inner truth, my natural expression, me as a person, nor me as a woman.
The truth is that the constant search of ‘what to do with my life’ always felt empty, exhausting, demoralising and impossible to resolve. The way I looked could never full fill the world’s ‘ideal’ of beautiful - therefore, in accord with the glamorous markers of ‘what I do’ and ‘what I look like’ - I was never going to be an acceptable human being or woman.
As a result self-loathing blossomed into an ever-present lack of confidence, minimal self-worth, nervousness, and at times slight depression.
This sadly, is the way of the world that we live in; most people are bound by the same illusions of glamour in some form or another and to varying degrees. Most of us set about resolving them by living in ways that in truth only feed the illusions. However, I have come to know that it doesn’t have to be that way.
That it is in fact, as wisely espoused through the ages, the energetic quality of ‘how I am’ - my presence, my state of being that determines who I am, the quality of my life, my relationship with myself and with others. I’ve come to know without doubt, that I am not what I do, or what I look like, that I am so very much more. There came a point when I realised that seeking external kudos and acceptance is futile, that I needed to change how I felt about, and treated myself.
I started unravelling the web of glamorous illusions in which I’d entangled myself. I stopped beating myself up for not being good enough, stopped giving power to the trappings of old ideals, beliefs and patterns that defined me as ‘what I do’ and ‘what I look like’. I stopped being so hard on myself and started being more loving, tender and honouring with myself. I started reacquainting myself with the real me and as I did my confidence and connection to my innate beauty grow. I could feel the beauty in me - the beauty I am. I could see it!
Throughout my life I’ve looked in the mirror and seen all manner of reflections; from - ‘I can’t manage more than a fleeting glance’, to feeling ‘ugly’, to feeling ‘sexy’, to thinking ‘that will do’. From being able to look myself in the eye and have a quick pep talk, to confirming ‘I was doing okay that day’ as I could actually look myself in the eyes and nod hello.
Then a miracle occurred in my mirror! I saw a reflection I’ve never seen before – Beauty!
It was a beauty that transcended all physical attributes, any need to be different, any comparison with another. It left self-doubt and loathing for dead, and as I looked in the mirror all I could see was this beautiful being looking back at me with what all I can call - the ‘Light of the Soul’ beaming through my eyes.
It was amazing. That was me – the real me, not my body, not my actions – I could see my essence and I was beautiful. I suddenly knew what true beauty is, that it dwells within, as it always did, as it does within us all. I fell in love with myself and I chose to let my beauty shine.
And that is a beautiful thing!