She Don’t Know

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Last night I lie awake in my bed with my mind wandering to thoughts of how women reject their appearance. We are taught by the media from an early age that beauty fits into narrow constructs. At least it was that way when I was a teenager and a young woman. I feel that we had our self esteem eroded away to keep a consumer economy going that plugs into our dissatisfied egos.

What would happen if we embraced our natural state of beauty? What would happen if we bought products that made us feel good? What if we allowed ourselves to be seen in our authentic uniqueness? Maybe we could  start a self love revolution. Gala Darling wrote about radical self acceptance. Radical acceptance is accepting and loving every aspect of yourself as is.

I took the photograph above last night on my cell phone after I had put my son to bed. I am not wearing any make up. I am wearing my glasses, a favourite t-shirt and I feel peaceful after a busy day. I feel very beautiful in this photo because I am my natural and authentic self. I am comfortable in my own skin.

It wasn’t until I hit my mid-thirties that I started to feel beautiful in my own skin. I was bullied as a young girl for carrying extra weight. I developed early as a teenager, so I became very self conscious about my curves. There were rejections by men in my twenties for who I thought were prettier women. There were the men who paid compliments to try to get what they wanted.

When you feel uncomfortable in your skin it affects different aspects of your life in negative ways. It resulted in limited success in the career that I pursued. We choose behaviors that can be unhealthy and people who do not support us in being true to ourselves.

As I heal those wounds around rejecting myself then my life begins to shift. I attract new friends and relationships when I am true to my self.  I receive new opportunities to use my talents and skills in ways that bring joy to the world around me. I develop a deeper spiritual relationship with God when I am who he created me to be.

Below in the comments please share with me what makes you unique and beautiful.

Amanda Daoust

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Reflecting on Freckles

On Monday evening, I had the privilege to visit a friend who I haven’t seen in a couple of weeks. The weather here made a very quick transition from the cold of late winter into sunshine with the temperature in the double digits. My friend and her children spent a few afternoons and evenings enjoying the sunny warm weather. April is fair skinned and a red head who develops freckles when she spends a lot of time in the sun. She told me once as a child that she was very self conscious about those freckles.

Her red hair, and yes even those freckles, make her beautiful in the eyes of those who love her. When you look in the mirror at yourself how do you view those things that you perceive as imperfections? Those who love you could very well argue that they make you unique and special. How wonderful it would be if we choose to love everything about ourselves?

Natasha Bedingfield’s song “Freckles” caused me to smile when I heard it. My favourite lyric is: “A face without freckles/ Is like a sky without stars.” The night sky loses something when the stars are not out. We lose our most lovable qualities when we try to hide them from others, or do not give them the love that they deserve. It is very much a waste of time to not love yourself for the all the unique and wonderful qualities that you can share that will enrich our world.

Amanda

Petals

The vulva is a part of the female anatomy that provokes controversy when it is the subject of discussion. How many of us as women have actually looked at and appreciated our own anatomy as being beautiful? How many men can look at it as being something more than a way to gratify their own pleasure? Beck Peacock directed the documentary “Petals” that talks about photographer Nick Karras’ journey in creating an art book about the vulva, and how the book is received by readers. The documentary touches on the myths, and taboos surrounding female sexual identity. This film records the reactions of sexual educators, women who participated in the project, the general public, art critics and women’s health professionals as they confront the mysteries of womanhood. Karras treats this subject with a rare sensitivity while he works on the project that gives this images a very delicate beauty. The documentary is an interesting exploration of the subject of women’s sexual identity and self-esteem.

Amanda

Dove Real Beauty Sketches

Dove did an interesting social experiment where they had women describe themselves to a forensic sketch artist who was separated from them by a curtain. Later on these same women had a sketch done by the same artist who had someone else who met them for the first time describe their physical appearance to the artist. What is most interesting is the difference between how each woman describes herself and how a complete stranger sees her.

There are more posts on Youtube where the artist, and each of the women describe what the experiment was like for each of them. With one woman in particular there is a startling difference between how she sees herself and how a stranger remembers her face. Do you think that most of us are very self-critical of our physical appearance?

As a woman, I grew into my teen years bombarded by the media’s depiction of unrealistic standards of beauty. These images negatively reinforce a young woman’s self-esteem that the constant nit-picking in the mirror blocks her from succeeding in other areas of her life. What struck me is how the men in the video talked about certain features of a woman’s face rather than flaws.

Perhaps, we could all do more with seeing our own unique beauty rather than trying to fit an unattainable standard. It is something that I hope to encourage in all the other women in my life.

Amanda

Buddha Within

Buddha Within

Photograph of Buddha was taken by me, and is the beginning work that I am starting as part of a photographic workshop that I am participating in until the beginning of May. I am hoping that as my skills improve to post more of my photographs here on the blog. Learning a new skill like photography is one way that I show love for myself, because I enjoy spending time learning new things. Buddha, himself encourages to us to develop love and compassion for ourselves as these reserves allow us to share more with others.

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
― Gautama Buddha

What is a new way that you could show love and compassion for yourself today?

Amanda

Reflecting on Shadow

Reflecting on Shadow

little girl playing fairy tales

days before logic’s ruin

imagination and intuition

world at her feet of infinite possibilities

she’s square peg in round hole

miscreant, misfit, outsider

gypsy soul reading too many books

inexperienced in art of living

woman hiding lost little girl

longing in heart to adventure

in great wide open spaces

confined by her own fears

reflecting on her shadow

one she keeps running from

(c) Amanda Wilson 2012

Messiness of Being Myself

Alanis Morissette’s song “Not as We” gave me chills up my shine as I listened to it earlier today. The song hearkens back to those times when I felt really alone and vulnerable. It is about starting over again and being at day one when you begin the journey to recovery.

Post traumatic stress disorder and any mental illness isolates the person living with it. The feeling of isolation can strip self-esteem down to feeling so vulnerable it is like walking around naked in a public place. I continue to get better by being stubborn. I feigned brave when I knew nothing else at the time. Courage is knowing when to be vulnerable and when to be guarded.

I am in the slow process of accepting and loving myself. Some aspects take much longer to accept then others do. Transformation takes time for if one rushes the process then you can destroy the butterfly inside. This spoils something that could be worth the wait.

Amanda