A while ago I saw a cute cropped top in a clothing store that I wanted to get. It wasn’t something I would usually feel drawn to, but I felt differently this time. This top is very simple, cut in from the shoulders and sitting slightly above my belly button. Usually I would think these tops looked too cute, too young, and I would just walk away. But to be more honest, I would not wear these tops because I felt they exposed too much of what I judged to be my weakness – my boniness.
I decided to get the top.
The first time I wore it, I was self-conscious. The top was loose on my body, and it was an extra small size! So I wore a cardigan on top of it. I went through in my head everything I could think of to fix the top so I could better accept myself. It was crazy.
The second time I wore the top, I decided to just go for it. I wore it just on its own – no cardigan, and unaltered. The bagginess which I had felt the first time I wore it somehow seemed to have lessened. The top was the same, unchanged, but I was different when I wore it, and there was a big difference felt. I wore it with a pair of high-waisted leggings to keep my belly button and waist warm, and a pair of supportive high heels. I decided to see how different it would be, if I just chose to walk with the whole of me. I started to love this top!
When I wore this top disconnected to myself, what I heard and felt were the judgments from myself as well as from the world on self-image. I was afraid of wearing this top, because I knew just by putting it on and walking out on the street with it, I would be bombarded by continuous comments from everywhere, such as “Look how skinny she is, I wish I was more like her”, “How disgusting that boniness, she must be sick!”. Which made me wonder… do the thoughts of how we see ourselves actually come from us? Or are they fed into us?
Are we being told by the world, in the images we see and the magazines we read, that our body image has to be a certain way? Do we feel that if we are not this way, then there is something wrong with us? Isn’t it true then that there is something wrong with every single person on this planet, as there can never be any perfection? But does that stop us from seeking perfection?
Working in the image, expressive arts and fashion industry, everyday I see the striving for the perfection of our body image. Our body has to be perfect, our skin has to be perfect, the way we express has to be perfect. When we are not perfect, there is no acceptance. We obsess about appearing to be perfect with the alteration of our clothes, our body parts digitally and/or physically, as well as by hiding our flaws in any way possible. There is also no acceptance of others, as gossip and cruel comments on each other’s body shape is also rampant.
Wanting to be perfect is a guarantee that we remain empty, as we hover on the surface and do not venture deeper. This emptiness is seen in the eyes of many beautiful women and men, as well as in the lack of connection we have as human beings. So what are we telling the world when in this industry we display images of “perfection”? Are we not also telling the world that emptiness is the way to live and to be?
From not liking the top that I bought, to loving it, has been a process of deepening an acceptance of myself, and my body image. Accepting myself with tender loving understanding unlocked a power of not needing to hide or change myself. It was acceptance, not a need to be perfect, that deepened the appreciation and joy I felt for myself. If we lived this way every day, how could we not be irresistible, to ourselves, and others?
We are amazing human beings, and emptiness is never our natural way. It is our natural birthright to express how irresistible we are, and by accepting ourselves, and our bodies, we can support each other to return to the deep power and beauty that can be expressed through us.
Forever inspired by Serge Benhayon, Universal Medicine and learning with and from the body.
By Adele Leung, Image Director and Fashion Stylist, Hong Kong
You may also enjoy:
* Caring for our body from love, and building a true relationship with it:
Read about Body Image at UniMed Living.
* What if who you really are is glorious? Consider Self Esteem in a new light.
* How we live affects how we feel about our bodies: Jessica Williams talks about Body Image: Vintage pictures vs Modern ideals
673 thoughts on “Accepting Ourselves and our Bodies: an Expression of True Beauty”
Acceptance is one of the key ingredients in this soup of life! “It was acceptance, not a need to be perfect, that deepened the appreciation and joy I felt for myself. If we lived this way every day, how could we not be irresistible, to ourselves, and others?”
This is such a key think for us to realise as there really is no such thing as perfection in our world: “Wanting to be perfect is a guarantee that we remain empty, as we hover on the surface and do not venture deeper. This emptiness is seen in the eyes of many beautiful women and men, as well as in the lack of connection we have as human beings. So what are we telling the world when in this industry we display images of “perfection”? Are we not also telling the world that emptiness is the way to live and to be?”
Awesome sharing Adele from top to bottom! 😉 Love it!
‘do the thoughts of how we see ourselves actually come from us? Or are they fed into us?’
These days I’m becoming more aware about how the perception about myself was mostly conditioned by the ideas I had about me, the labels I put on myself and the self-judgemnt based on how I should or shouldn’t be. However when I connect with my body I can’t help but feel an endless beauty, a purity that comes from within. Honouring this fact it’s a process of discarding all that comes from these ideas and claiming more the delicacy and beauty of my being, which is far beyond any ideal picture that the outside world can provide and it’s equally in all of us.
Adele your joy and acceptance of yourself is very refreshing to feel. Love you being in the image industry for all what you are bringing from this deeper understanding about who we really are. Looking at the picture of you inspires me to celebrate myself in the same way. Thank you
As it is now and as our societies are set up, most children will lose self acceptance by the time they are 4, from there on becomes a often stressful journey of trying to feel some kind of worthiness from many different and sometimes dangerous sources. Sad how we are born with a level of self love that is not nurtured and expanded on as we grow older.
Self acceptance is the key and once we have this, we can walk anywhere and wear what feels true for us without needing the approval from others. The most valuable approval we can get is one that comes from self.
“hiding our flaws in any way possible” Trying to hide what we believe to be flaws is a way of drawing attention to them.
“We are amazing human beings, and emptiness is never our natural way” Oh yes, so well said Adele, as women we can be our own worst critics. It is our right to shine.
“It was acceptance, not a need to be perfect, that deepened the appreciation and joy I felt for myself” – agree Adele it helps us to let go and in it [the acceptance] a beautiful look is guaranteed because of the embodied ease within.
When we deeply accept ourselves and all of who we are, there is a settlement in the body, because we’re no longer seeking anything externally to tell us or show us who we are, no longer trying to prove anything to anyone.
In my culture, a lot of people live or find their worth from the confirmation of their parents. But what if our parents or the world do not know true worth? Then what are we basing our own worth on a marker of?
Super well said Adele – and this can be a challenging belief or choice to let go of especially if we have grown up with this and had such a strong conditioning.
We absolutely see our bodies as a certain need – I know I have spent years comparing my body to others without the consideration that I am fed thoughts and that my body is very personal to my choices – as is everyone else’s.
Saying no to these thoughts is saying yes back to love.
Anytime we take the world literally – at face value – without considering our light and energy we are bound to find the world feeling like the wrong fit.
Always read and never ever let go of our innate worth before anything.
When we connect to ourselves we release the judgement and pursuit of perfection that bedevils so many. Beautiful to feel how your acceptance of yourself was reflected in the sassy way you wore your cute top.
“It is our natural birthright to express how irresistible we are,” Yay love it, I notice here in England people are becoming less and less interested in their appearance – it is a sign of general dissatisfaction and dis ease with oneself.
I love seeing love and care that one can put in their appearance I find it super inspiring and some times exposing as I can feel I have not put that same love and care into my own appearance.
Fashion wise it is a trend worldwide to dress disregard. So our choice is not just ours but a collective choice to dress and also live.
Emptiness does not feel good from any angle, ‘Wanting to be perfect is a guarantee that we remain empty, as we hover on the surface and do not venture deeper.’ So, acceptance of who we are, connecting, and letting go of perfection are great choices.
Love this Lorraine ’emptiness does not feel good from any angle’ and agree acceptance, connection and letting go are absolutely great choices to make.
Self acceptance is key to loving ourselves. As soon as we are critical about how we look our self worth plummets and we start to listen to the negative thoughts that come rushing in and drip feed us that there has to be something wrong with us. I have learnt to catch the negative thoughts before they take hold and it is amazing how much this can change how I feel about myself.
Such a simple awareness and simple approach Alison – simplicity truly does allow for us to let go of what does not work and embrace that which does. These inner critical thoughts do not serve us, and if fact can be very damaging if we do not stop them and allow instead a deep acceptance of ourselves to be our foundation.
Letting go of perfection and choosing to accept ourselves makes so much sense, ‘It was acceptance, not a need to be perfect, that deepened the appreciation and joy I felt for myself.’
The contrast is huge. Seeking for perfection takes me away from joy and accepting of myself builds joy within me.
Believing or holding another as being perfect and I am not them guarantees that I never allow myself to be the amazingness that I truly am that I have felt in another.
Comparison is deadly. Such an insidious game. Looking up to something or someone is believed to be adoration and respect, but the truth is it is harming to both sides.
” It was acceptance, not a need to be perfect, that deepened the appreciation and joy I felt for myself. If we lived this way every day, how could we not be irresistible, to ourselves, and others?” Accepting and appreciating ourselves feels great and when we feel great we have no need of approval from others.
Appreciation is a process that deepens every day. It is not the same as having a goal and needing to achieve it as being a destination. This process is inspiration all the way.
I agree, accepting ourselves for all of we are is what shines out our true beauty..trying to get to somewhere else, a perfection or better, or giving up will never be the way to go.
” Which made me wonder… do the thoughts of how we see ourselves actually come from us? Or are they fed into us? ”
What a great questions , its very likely that thoughts are fed to us for it makes no sense that oneself could get to such a state of personal dislike with out some sabotaging mechanism.
When we focus on seeking perfection, we instantly negate focusing on the inner qualities that are ever-present within us all, that which truly represents everything that we naturally and exquisitely already are.
When we really start to appreciate ourselves amazing things start to happen..life starts to flow with ease, we feel more confident and at ease with ourselves. Life starts to feel so much more expansive when we appreciate and know we are worth caring for and loving.
Loving what you wear makes any clothing look and feel special as it has the feeling of self-love and acceptance of self in it. Being comfortable in our own skin and not falling for pre-conceived ideas about what our body shape or age should wear is incredibly freeing and lovely to feel.
Accepting and appreciating ourselves and then choosing clothing that reflects this is such fun and I am enjoying experimenting with things I would not have considered before but if I don’t feel amazing in it it does not deserve space in my wardrobe.
Love is never exclusive to a few. It is within us all so therefore there can not be any such thing as being bad or wrong. We are Love first and we can make woopies moments but these are not who we are.
Buying clothes has taken on a whole new meaning – when I am shopping now its super important for me to check in with myself what energy I am in, if I am in a “I want something to make me feel better” mood then I know that what ever I will buy will never be of a quality true to me, I can also buy things in a poverty conscious and a “that will do” energy.
When we are feeling awesome – with ourselves and loving our day we cannot not buy something to reflect this.
This blog is a great living example of how much our visual perception can change based on how we feel. When we don’t accept our body and natural beauty, things don’t look or feel right. When we do we, everything feels like a natural expression and there is no hiding that!
I find the eyes can dictate how we feel about ourselves if we are not present when we do look at our bodies, as we bring everything that we believe about ourselves in that glance. For me if this occurs, I simply close my eyes and allow myself to feel the truth of me and claim that as my truth so then my next move is one of love and complete confirmation.
We will forever see flaws in our outer appearance if we do not cherish who we are from deep within.
The clothes we wear and how we wear them represents how we feel about ourselves.
Beautiful photos Adele Leung. I can feel the joy and receive through my eyes the whole of you.