Accepting Ourselves and our Bodies: an Expression of True Beauty

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!

Adele in her glory
Adele in her new 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?

AdeleLeung-2
…and loving herself in it.

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

693 thoughts on “Accepting Ourselves and our Bodies: an Expression of True Beauty

  1. ‘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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. “hiding our flaws in any way possible” Trying to hide what we believe to be flaws is a way of drawing attention to them.

  6. “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.

  7. “I went through in my head everything I could think of to fix the top to better accept myself.” What you have highlighted here Adele reminded me of my own experience for several years trying to conform myself to fit to something outside of me to reflect me on the inside that would result in being more dissatisfied and critical of myself and my body when something did not turn out the way I needed it to be. Having been inspired to build a deeper and more loving relationship with myself I now connect to the love and quality within first and how I express comes from the truth of how I am feeling rather than looking outside to be or look like something I am not.

  8. “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.

  9. 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.

    1. 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?

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. “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.

  13. 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.

    1. Love this Lorraine ’emptiness does not feel good from any angle’ and agree acceptance, connection and letting go are absolutely great choices to make.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.’

  16. 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.

  17. ” 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.

    1. 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.

  18. 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. 

  19. ” 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. The deeper we accept ourselves as the love we are, the less we are able to judge or criticise, it is only when we allow in thoughts in separation from our heart and body that we start to look at ourselves differently.

  23. 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.

    1. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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!

  27. 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.

  28. There is such freedom and settlement within ourselves when we accept ourselves as amazing, just as we are, and not defined by anything that we can do or how we look.

  29. “I was different when I wore it” When we love someone it is not their outer appearance that we love but being within and so it is with ourselves when we appreciate all the love that we are within.

  30. There have been countless times where I have changed my mind about wearing an item of clothing because of my thoughts, but that has proven to be an absolute lie, as when I have chosen to be fully with me as you describe Adele in what I am wearing, and not listen to my head but feel me, I felt absolutely gorgeous.

  31. If theres a part of life we struggle to accept then theres a part of ourselves we’ve yet to accept. I am currently looking into my choice of clothing, not a subject that I get particularly excited over with most of my clothes being based on thermals. With this understanding of acceptance I wonder where this exploration into my wardrobe will take me. hmm…

  32. Isn’t it telling how we have created a lucrative ‘image’ industry which as you point out Adele feeds on the belief that ‘when we are not perfect, there is no acceptance’.
    The image and media industry that keeps pumping out this message is but a reflection of what we have chosen for ourselves. To make it about an image, an idea of how we ought to be that deep down we do know is false and always will be false.
    Why do we do this? Because in creating this false image of ourselves we can keep ourselves caught up in the creation of life as it is today… a life we have carved out for ourselves that is void of the Divinity we are truly from.

  33. Being attached to an image of what we think we should look like is a silent killer in a way – it’s like something we use against ourself to chip away at our self-worth and value and totally negates appreciating our natural body shape and look and the true joy that comes with that. It’s beautiful to see the photos of you enjoying being in your body and dressing how you felt to!

  34. Wanting to be perfect is a guarantee that we remain empty, as we hover on the surface and do not venture deeper. This is so true Adele, and we just don’t get to feel the truth of us which is also right there with us while we have those unloving thoughts.

  35. Adele, reading this makes me realise how complexly unnatural the ideals we have in society are; ‘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.’ I can feel how lovely it would be if we accepted how we looked and who we were and how great it would be if the media reflected this diversity and natural beauty rather than showing a set idea of what beauty looks like which is not at all natural or true as it is often digitally altered.

  36. This shows that clothes are just a confirmation of how we are in our bodies. And I totally relate to clothes feeling and looking completely different depending on how I am with myself. This is a great sharing Adele about the importance of our own relationship and looking at self worth and how we value ourselves.

  37. It’s amazing how our movements and feelings about ourselves shifts, as we accept more of who we are. The true beauty is already there from birth, it is only our the old patterns and or behaviours we may have picked up overtime, that can hinder our inner radiance.

  38. The more we choose to move and hold ourselves with love, understanding and tenderness the more we are able to accept and honour our sensitivity and how we are feeling in our body. There is nothing outside of us to measure ourselves against when we are living in connection with our essence.

  39. So often women go through this internal battle especially when dressing, about what they should and shouldn’t wear and giving themselves a hard time about supposed flaws that they might have etc.

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