By Georgina, Brisbane, Australia
Last week I attended an Esoteric Women’s presentation in Brisbane. The topic for the day was beauty. It soon became clear from discussions that society’s and women’s initial definition of beauty was literally only skin deep – our beauty appeared to be defined by how we look – by how we appeared on the outside rather than how we appear from within.
The presenters Jenny Ellis and Mary Louise Myers began the presentation with some statistics collated as part of the Dove campaign for real beauty. One of the statistics that I cannot forget stated only 4% of women perceive themselves as beautiful. To further demonstrate this point, Mary Louise described a video Dove produced. The video showed a forensic artist who sat one side of a curtain and a woman sitting on the other side. The woman described herself and the artist drew her. The woman left the room and a friend then came and sat on the other side of the curtain. This lady then described her friend.
The two paintings of the same woman were placed up on the wall and the woman came and looked at them and wept. The two paintings were very different: the one she had described was quite unattractive and hard, the other painting described by her friend was soft and beautiful.
I saw this video a few months ago and a friend just happened to call me within a few minutes of watching it. We are studying together and were about to start an internship. We started talking about our upcoming practicum and my friend started really crying; she described herself as being incapable, unable to do the job, how she was going to let everyone down, she was no good and she was going to fail.
I paused and replied whilst she was still crying; I explained the video I had just watched – how a woman sees herself and how others perceive her. I gently told her that everything she had just described about herself was not how I saw her at all: what I saw was a beautiful woman who was deeply eloquent, nurturing, committed, caring, with a natural ability to impart her knowledge and wisdom and to inspire – and gifted at connecting with others. To me this friend was going to become an amazing teacher; her nature and the essence of who she uniquely is were going to produce a teacher the world could only but benefit from.
My friend now started sobbing; could it be possible she too was able to connect to her true beauty seen by another and the upset that followed was a combination of relief and the pain felt at the realisation of how hard she had been on herself? By this stage I had started crying too – because what I had said was just as relevant to myself.
This video and incident clearly demonstrates what the group later felt and discovered in the women’s presentation – our beauty lies inside us; it is the unique essence of who we are. It then manifests out – everything simply becoming an outward expression of the inner beauty of who we are – our clothes, how we walk, how we talk, how we laugh, our make-up – all of these are expressions of our beauty-full self. We appear outwardly beauty-full because we are expressing our inner beauty.
In a society which directs us to ‘achieve’ or reach out for beauty from the outside and implies beauty is only the outward appearance, it is very hard to miss this simple connection. It can be easy to feel not good enough. But what this presentation gifted to me was the true connection to who I really am and the delight and joy and lightness of what that felt like. It was natural and easy – and was just sitting there waiting to be discovered. Wow! How empowering. And to sit in a room with 100 other women feeling the same joy and adulation of themselves was amazing.
My energies and efforts now focus on cherishing that beauty and honouring that beauty. It’s not easy when there are a million distractions each day persuading me otherwise and I don’t profess to be perfect in my expression – far from it. But I accept my beauty (that is, me and the essence of who I am) is enough to make sure I don’t stray too far from it. And I openly enjoy, appreciate and nurture the inner essence of all women I interact with, so they too get a chance to feel and appreciate their own lovely essence and beauty of who they are. Soon, they too may then get the opportunity to realise that this is real beauty, beauty from within – the knowing and expressing in celebration of who we really are.