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Authentic Beauty

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I've heard a lot of comments lately, mostly from young women, about their dislike for their bodies and how they look. Hearing how these young women view themselves and define beauty is sad. It's hard to understand how smart, talented, beautiful young women can see anything other than what they really are when they look in the mirror. And, for a good portion of my life, I stood in the same place as many of these young women, feeling unintelligent, ugly and rarely feeling the freedom to be my authentic self. Growing up, I was often told by people that I was beautiful and so lucky to be thin. The more I heard those words, the more I felt that should be my focus. That my value was this "perceived beauty" that others were seeing - that was what I had going for me. I felt less than, when it came to intelligence and consumed with maintaining this thin external beauty that pleased others. However, I rarely saw the same beauty that they were seeing. Then one day, not all that long ago, I looked in the mirror and something finally clicked, my beauty had nothing to do with how I looked and it was never even the problem.

Today, I stand in a place of increased confidence and real beauty that radiates from the inside out. Getting here has been a long and sometimes emotionally painful journey but I've learned to embrace every experience that has brought me to where I stand. Looking back there are a few things that I've experienced that have helped get me get to my current place of peace. If you are looking for some peace with who you are, I recommend you try these things.

Honor Your Body

Celebrate your body and all it does for you. Embrace every freckle and every laugh line, be proud of your crooked smile or your crooked toes and work only on feeling good. If looking in the mirror doesn't feel good right now, don't look in the mirror. When you wake each morning give appreciation and gratitude to your body for your sight, your ability to hear, your ability to walk and talk and smell. Even if you are without some of these abilities give thanks for the ones that you do have. Nourish your body with lots of water and rest. Reach for even the smallest reason to honor your body - your unique wonderful body. This step is hard and perhaps the most difficult but in time, honoring your body and listening to your body will help you feel good about it.

Actively Practice a Happy, Healthy Spirit

Without inner peace, authenticity and beauty are fleeting. It is impossible to feel authentic, intelligent and beautiful without resolving your inner conflicts and truly loving your authentic self. Achieving inner peace can seem like an impossible task but actively practicing a happy, healthy spirit can help you achieve this, you just have to start from a place deep within. I achieved this by spending time alone. It's uncomfortable at it anyway and for long periods of time. And when I say alone, I mean alone! Sit alone in nature, alone in your bedroom or locked in a closet with no TV, no phone, no books, no writing, no music, be alone with only your thoughts. Do this as often as possible until you enjoy your time with you, until your time alone is not lonely, until your time alone feels like peaceful solitude. Spend your time alone meditating, reflecting, laughing; nurturing your spirit. Sit alone until you know with absolute certainty that the only opinion about you that matters is your own. Sit alone until you love sitting in that space with you, until you can be your authentic self. There is no magic to it. You can sit in silence, you can walk or you can talk to yourself. The only rule is to be gentle with yourself, think only thoughts that feel good and soon enough you will cherish time alone with just your thoughts. Once you have achieved success here find more ways to nourish your spirits. Start spending more time doing the things you love. Ah, but how will you know when you have achieved success with this step? Because you'll realize the next step...

You Can't Get it Wrong

Every bad decision, indecision, mistake, failure, or success has helped create the unique person that you are. You may have had more failures and made more mistakes than you can count, most of us have, it doesn't matter. You may have had times in your life when you stood at the edge looking out unable to see anything but fog in front of you and you just stood frozen unwilling to step forward because you were averse to the risk and felt secure in the safety of your current experience or you may have stood at the edge and stepped forward into the fog and into the greatest experience of your life or the greatest failure, either way the choice was yours and you didn't get it wrong. Each experience has added and continues to add to your ability to define what you want and what you don't want, to your ability to know what feels good and what doesn't, and to your ability to know that life is a journey and you can't get it wrong. On our journey through life, each experience helps us define our authentic self.

Keep this in mind.

Being your authentic self is the only way to find your true beauty. In your desire to feel intelligent, creative, beautiful or whatever you desire the only opinion that matters is your own. Know that beauty is not dependent upon how others perceive you and/or their approval or disapproval of you - their approval or not actually has nothing to do with your beauty. Beauty is an internal job - it is self-created and self-defined and the only way for you to see your real beauty and unique being is to be your authentic self. Be well and take care of your mind, body and spirit.

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Christina Carter
Priority Learning Author

I am an introspective introvert who has a passion for people. I have spent much of my career in HR learning, reflecting, and exploring my own and others thoughts and feelings. I am a life-long learner, an avid reader and compulsive book buyer (because there is nothing better than the feel of a hardcover book). Mostly, I love being a mother, think candy should be a food group, like to pretend I'm a chef because I watch the food network and try to laugh at myself at least once a day...oh and I always try to wear crazy or mismatch is too short not to!



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