Women – Honouring our Body Image and Appreciating our Reflection

When we look at ourselves in the mirror, what is the relationship we have with the image reflected back at us? How much do we appreciate ourselves?

A while ago I was in a shop trying on some clothes. The lady in the next cubicle came out looking stunning. She was trying on a beautiful dress – and her friend immediately expressed to her how gorgeous she looked. This lady did look gorgeous, and I could feel she loved the dress. The dress fitted beautifully and I could feel a grace in her quality as she stood in front of the mirror. It wasn’t that the dress made the woman into anything, it was that the woman in her beauty made the dress shine – she shone in the dress. I observed as the woman in the dress got distinctly more uncomfortable as she looked at herself in the mirror, and made some comments that picked fault in how it looked to her, and she decided not to buy the dress.

As I left the store I was curious about this. There had been many times when I had stood looking in the mirror at myself and my beautiful body shape in a gorgeous dress yet could not buy the dress – I was picky about various parts of my body – my tummy, the size of my bottom, did my knees look odd… you name it, I could find fault in it.

In the days that followed there was an article about a disorder that is a preoccupation with perceived defects or flaws in our body and our appearance: body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) (1) which ‘affects up to one in 50 people’ (2). BDD can lead to ‘self-medicating’ by undergoing frequent and repeated plastic surgery, and some cases where some can spend thousands on procedures to change their appearance for example:

“American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Reports More Than $13.5 Billion Spent for the First Time Ever” (3)

It struck me that it is likely that many people, men and women, have stood in retail shop changing rooms also feeling this way, or looked in their own mirror at home feeling this way. I know I have. This doesn’t mean we all have body dysmorphic disorder, but it does raise questions:

What exactly are we seeing in the mirror, if we choose not to see our own beauty and accept it for what it is?

What kind of ‘image’ or ‘picture’ do we have about the way we should look? (for example how tall we look, our shape, size, the curves we have)

Did anyone ever tell us that we needed to be perfect?
And what exactly is the perfect body?

I don’t remember anyone ever telling me what a perfect body should look like – yet, I still had an ideal picture perfect me that I used to measure myself against.

Why is it that many of us feel self conscious or dissatisfied with our body shape, size, or features? After all – when we are born, we are uniquely different and we are undeniably beautiful.

Media images have long been cited as one potential factor in leading people to develop poor body image. We compare ourselves to the person in the picture or on the screen and from this we can feel we are not the same. This comparison can lead to us feeling less or down on ourselves because of the way we feel we look. Similarly we can compare ourselves to others in our life, as we pass them by on the street, and again by comparing, it can lead to feeling dissatisfied with who we are. More so, we compare ourselves, we judge ourselves (with that inner critical voice) with images and pictures we have in our own heads without choosing to see our true selves and our own true grace and beauty that is always there shining from within.

This raises more questions:

How many of us were raised in a way where we felt that whatever our body shape, or however we look, we are all deeply beautiful?

How many of us were educated to understand how we are all so different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ regarding grace, beauty, or how we ‘should’ look?

Where in society are we encouraged to be ourselves and to celebrate the range of shapes, sizes, and nuances of us all, because underneath this we each have innate qualities which is where our beauty begins – and not from the size of our feet, or colour of our hair?

It may be that these possibilities above feel far away from our normal daily living, but, there is much we can do to support ourselves and each other in appreciating and confirming our natural grace and beauty. Deepening our relationship with ourselves, appreciating our natural innate quality, our unique shape and size, and loving ourselves no matter what, is a foundation stone we can all build – as our relationship with ourselves is the most fundamental relationship we can have in life.

We can also take the deepening of our relationship with ourselves into our parenting, into our families, and into relationships with our friends and colleagues.

And, as we realise the true inner beauty we all are, we can express our dis-ease with social media, advertising, marketing, and the fashion and beauty industry so that it no longer uses images and pictures that don’t reflect who we truly are, but instead can reflect the truth of who we are in all facets of our lives.

As I finished this blog I came across this deeply empowering quote – which sums up the need to build our own relationship with ourselves – not just for women but for men also:

“Be the woman you feel yourself to be and not the one that has been told what to feel and be.”

Serge Benhayon (4)

If we learnt to live in this way, it may be that BDD or related disorders, and our own dis-satisfaction of ourselves would no longer exist and when we looked into a mirror we would simply melt by our own beauty-full reflection, and deeply appreciate ourselves and all that we are. This in turn would be a game changer – for instance, we would jump for joy when in the changing rooms in stores when we were trying on clothes, as these moments would be full of playful appreciation!

By Jane, UK

References:

(1) Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation 
(2) BBC New Online, June 2015, “The ‘ugly truth’ about Body Dysmorphic Disorder
(3) American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), March 2016, “American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Reports More Than $13.5 Billion Spent for the First Time Ever
(4) Serge Benhayon, 2011, Esoteric Teachings and Revelations, p 539

For Further Inspiration:

Self-loathing, My Closet, and Me
Accepting Ourselves and our Bodies: an Expression of True Beauty
Body Image: Vintage pictures vs Modern Ideals

711 thoughts on “Women – Honouring our Body Image and Appreciating our Reflection

  1. Jane I have actually jumped for joy when trying on clothes in a changing room. It was a spontaneous reaction that came from looking in the mirror and loving what I was seeing but it wasn’t that I had reached my ‘perfect weight’ or that my most recent plastic surgery had gone well, it was simply that the colour and style of the clothes that I was trying on suited me perfectly and that simply added to how amazing I was already feeling.

  2. Our eyes receive what our body has felt and so if we have a low self worth then what we see in the mirror is warped to confirm that self-belief. It is incredible how convincing the sight is.

  3. It’s been really lovely lately as I keep looking in the mirror in the evening or morning and seeing first how lovely or cute I am. This doesn’t happen every day but it’s a great confirmation of how I have been feeling lately. The mirror reflects what we are feeling first.

  4. If the love for ourselves is deep, our size will not matter so much as would the reflection we receive. Are we bloated because we didn’t say something when required? Or because we are not doing something that our whole being can sense is needed?

  5. I find that when we look ourselves in the mirror and pick it all apart is because we don’t actually want to see our beauty – we deny it and squash it down. Perhaps we’re not ready, perhaps it is easier to fit in a world where you are just one of the many who doesn’t like the way they look rather than walk in adoration of every cell of your body.

  6. For many years I struggled with feeling too fat, boy I still hold an idea that if I am slimmer I will be better looking. It’s ingrained is us, it’s been ingrained in me. Only because we (I) want to fit in, we want to be accepted by society & have friends, have people who accept us, some who admire us and those who look up to us. But do we seek that recognition because we like what we’re doing? Or is it because deep down we know that the way we are living our lives is harmful and are therefore looking for somebody to give us the thumbs up, tell us that all is okay and we can continue on our irresponsible ways?

  7. How do we honestly feel about ourselves? In recent times I have began to stop criticising my body, I look in the mirror and often see femininity, tender shoulders, delicate skin with a glow. Yet, I still want there to be more, i look and see a bloated belly so i feel worthless, flab on my back – disgusted. But what i have also noticed is that looking “hot” is not it either, based on what society calls sexy, I tick the boxes – I know, my body is curvaceous in the right places, but when I dress with the knowing that as I walk out the door men are going to turn their heads, women may be jealous, I instantly lose the connection to that femininity, the tenderness & delicateness and my worth begins to be measured based on how many heads I have turned. But in all honesty, the no number of heads turning can match the feeling i described at the beginning of the paragraph. No matter how many people approve of me, like me or notice me, if I am not walking with grace none of it is worth it.

  8. The more I accept and live the beauty from within the more I accept my physical body and all its features. I cannot but love my body and its shape when I feel the love and self-worth from within.

  9. Unfortunately we can get into our heads when we try on clothes and find all sorts of criticism there. I know I have done that many times, rather than just feeling how it is, being aware of how I feel in that particular garment and if it supports me.

  10. We as women and men are being bombarded constantly with energy that is not who we truly are. Clocking abusive energy coming my way is a commitment, a commitment not only to self but to everyone around me.

  11. It seems a long way off from the competitive and sold out view of what beauty is that humanity currently holds but one day we will collectively realise as a society that each and every women is equally beautiful and each offers heaven in the way her curves are angled.

  12. When we drop the images, picture and ideals of what we imagine is beautiful …or are fed we need be, we begin to see the beauty that is naturally there shining through. This is a reflection to be treasured.

  13. Wow I have never heard of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) (1) which ‘affects up to one in 50 people’. It is saddening to see how far removed we may be from connecting to the beauty within us. To come to a place in life where we can appreciate the loveliness we are and the skin we are in is beautiful to feel and be.

  14. “I could feel a grace in her quality as she stood in front of the mirror. It wasn’t that the dress made the woman into anything, it was that the woman in her beauty made the dress shine – she shone in the dress.” this says everything about our inner beauty and the appreciation of who we are that makes all the difference to how we look and feel in our everyday lives with the quality we emanate from within.

  15. Women around the world we are so far from the truth of knowing and understanding their true beauty.
    We are all beautiful yet we have allowed ourselves to be hoodwinked thinking that beauty is a particular look, a certain age, a certain size.
    By not claiming our true beauty we add to the demoralisation of women.

  16. I was struck the other day when in a women’s fitting room in a large store how much self loathing, and body image ‘momentum’ there is in those places – so each time we step into a changing room and try on something, if we look and pick fault, go hard on ourselves for not having the perfect body, be upset because we don’t look like the women in the magazine, and so on – that is the energy we are leaving behind as we leave and when we step into the fitting room that is what can be felt. I was trying something on having felt full and vibrant only 10 minutes before and then in the changing room it felt grey, miserable, and down beat like Id stepped into another world. The way we are when we shop, the way we discern the shop and the products and brands, the way we feel with ourselves, and the way we are around others (e.g. when others are trying clothes on in the same fitting room areas) all has a ripple effect not just on us, but on everyone around.

    1. Yes.. we are always reflecting something, and always affecting the energetic quality of spaces around us. Even when we think we’re alone in a changing room, how we are, the thoughts we allow about ourselves – all of this affects the quality and leaves an imprint for the next person. Are we choosing to be awake and aware of the ripple effect we have, or do we shut ourselves down to our awareness of it? As we build a relationship with our body, where we actually want to feel whatever is there to be felt, being more tender and gentle becomes our natural way of being, restored- and so the quality of our ripple is guaranteed without us having to think about it.

    2. I was trying on some clothes in a busy store recently and was also struck by the chaos left behind, clothes half of the hangers; some on the floor and a general overall lack of care could be felt. It is true we can feel all of this and it has an impact and also inspires me to leave a space with a loving imprint for the next person.

      1. So true, you can see the regard people have for themselves and also others when you see how public spaces are left. I remember reading a blog here about leaving a public toilet better than you found it and I have carried that with me ever since.

  17. When we look at our reflection in a mirror we are looking for what is not how we would like it to be but when we see ourselves in a mirror we see the beauty of who we are within.

  18. It is interesting how we so often look in the mirror and analyse our individual characteristics and then find some of the lacking rather than looking at ourselves as a whole and appreciating the divine beauty that emanates out reflecting our innate beauty that is not constrained by individual aspects.

  19. It is very empowering to look at ourselves and what we choose and not blame anything outside of ourselves, like the media, other people, our education, parents and so on, for what we are doing to ourselves.

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