Accepting & Loving = Beauty

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To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

We often hear that "beauty lies in the eye of the beholder" and to me that means when you fail to see the beauty in something, you don't change what you're looking at, you change your perception of what you're looking at. Today I am making the conscience decision to change the way that I see myself.

Sometimes I have to step back, observe and remind myself of all that makes me great emotionally, spiritually, and physically. It's easy to become your worst critic but it's hard to become your biggest fan.
Some areas are easier than others.  Accepting my characteristics and who I am as a person doesn't prove to be as difficult in my life or my career, however, I believe most people struggle with their physical appearance the most.  I for one, know it is the constant sore point in my life which I struggle with daily, and have for years.

All of us have shadows of self doubt that lurk in corners waiting to appear when you least expect it, which is why this time, I am creating a list of the things I love about myself physically.  This list will serve as a reminder when those clouds of doubt roll in and block the rays of self-confidence and self-love that I should be basking in. If this sounds at all familiar to you - then I encourage you to do the same and start your list.

Today, as I look at myself with loving and accepting eyes I see the following looking back at me:

  • My Smile - it's bright and always genuine.  It changes the entire way my face looks.  A simple smirk to a full grin makes my whole face brighter while making me feel lighter. It's my father's smile with my mother's laugh lines which makes my smile mine.
  • My Eyes - the one constant from my baby pictures.  They are not shaped the same and yet there is beauty in that.  They are big irregular almonds of truth - they can't lie as they always tell how I am truly feeling. They have gestures all of their own - they show sadness, hurt, excitement and joy but I love them the most when they smile on their own.
  • My Eyebrows - might as well mention them as they help they eyes tell their story.  Not sure where mine came from, my father doesn't have any and my mothers were always small and thin.  Mine are thick and long and I love how they frame my face. Some days they are thicker (darker) than other days but I love them all the same. I even love that I have to keep them trimmed short or they become curly and unruly - who has curly eyebrows?!  Uh, this girl.
  • My Nose - neither my father's nor my mother's, it exists all on it's own.  It changes as my body changes, it widens and narrows over the years.  Sometimes it looks like a button and other times a flattened penny but I've never seen one like it.  It takes on different shapes when seen from different angles.
  • My Cheeks - hey are big, no, they are huge. They can be rude by often hanging up the phone (all on their own) in the midst of a conversation and they always seem to scream for people to touch them; BUT they are there and they are reminiscent of my father's cheeks. Very much like a cabbage patch kid they bring a sense of cuteness and youth to what would otherwise be a  womanly face - I appreciate them now as I know I'll really appreciate them as I continue to age.
  • My Jaw Line - one I haven't noticed until recently but I actually love my strong jaw line.  It is hidden often by cheeks and weight but it's there and its pronounced.  What I used to think of as just a big face is actually a strong jaw line passed along from my mother. I say strong but actually it's feminine and angular and it brings the overall womanly shape to my face.
  • My Neck - this one is an easy one because it is made up of so many unique things such as freckles and large birth mark that sits front and center.  I used to try to cover the birth mark (which is lighter than my actual skin color) but then I realized, my skin tone is made up of so many different pigments and tones that it isn't a mistake.  It's simply part of my historical genetic make up - it's me.  My neck, though often hidden by hair or clothes, is also one of the most sensitive and sensual parts of my body and who am I to argue with that.
  • My Hands - the only other place that shows off freckles but I love my hands because while they are small, dainty and soft they are also strong and hardworking. They do not reveal the hard labor or 'manly chores' that I have to do around the house, in the yard or on my car.  I appreciate that cuts and burns always heal quickly and completely on my hands (and only on my hands for some reason) allowing them to remain feminine and I love that my mother blessed me with a great nail bed.  One that often gets compliments, requires little maintenance and no manicures.
  • My Arms/Shoulders - admit that I have a love/hate relationship with these two.  While rested I often criticize them but while flexed or in use they have a certain definition to them that I find very attractive.
  • My Breasts - At times I wish they were more subtle and I admittedly to my best to achieve that with clothing but I love them all the same.  They add the much needed womanly curves to an otherwise boxy body. Though I'm sure this may change over the years and once I have kids, they currently sit high and confident - often giving an air of confidence where there is none.
  • My legs - always the strongest part of my body and the only ones who fight to retain their shape over the years. I love the contouring of my outer thighs, the sensitivity of the inner thigh, and the subtle definition in my quads and calves. They deceivingly don't look as strong as they really are, which I love.
  • My feet - again, here's another love/hate relationship. I love the high feminine arch that my feet have…even though it makes it difficult and sometimes painful to walk flat, they often require that I wear something with a heel to support such a deep arch. Usually wearing heels so often would result in some sort of physically side effects, but somehow my feet remain soft, smooth and very feminine which I appreciate and love.
  • My Hair - this one is most definitely a more recent love. I have a unique hair texture that is again neither my father's nor my mother's. As a child my mother often struggled on what to do with my hair and gave up by the time I became a teen.  As a teen I took over the struggle of trying to fit into the latest hair trends and styles only to find that my hair didn't respond as others did.  It wasn't until after college and after years of actually trying and paying attention did I learn to how to properly listen to what my hair needs and how to care for it. Now I love that my hair is so unique that I can't even go to a salon that knows how to handle it. While I hate the time it takes to air dry, I do appreciate how my hair hates heat and loves moisture.  I even love how the only moisture it needs are from simple vitamins or natural earth oils.  What I once thought was high maintenance and expensive is actually low maintenance and cheap once I accepted that my hair type is unique and different and how could I not love low maintenance and cheap!

This list is work in progress and took days to work up to the items listed. There are many many things that I couldn't bring myself to list as simply can't find any positives in them at this time.  However, as a work in progress, I am working on loving those areas and they too will be added to this list soon enough.

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