Updated: Apr 7, 2018
I’ll be worthy when I’m skinnier… I’ll be enough once my skin is blemish free… I’ll be deserving once I go on that diet… or when my cellulite disappears… or when my hair is healthier… or once the scar on my stomach disappears… or once my legs are more toned… or when I build up the muscles in my chest and arms… or when I get bigger boobs… or bigger lips… or whatever it is that you think you need to change about yourself before you can become good enough.
WOW. That kind of mindset is tiring. I know, because I have done and said it all. But once we achieve whatever it is we set out to achieve, the loss of 5kg or the toned legs, will we feel any better? Or will the attention just turn to something else to fixate on in pursuit of perfection.
We all know deep down how important it is to accept ourselves exactly as we are. We hear it all the time, and we know it to be true, but how do we actually achieve self-acceptance? Because, as far as I know, it’s not a mind thing. You can make a choice to accept yourself, but you won’t ever really accept yourself until you truly believe it. You must feel it within yourself. It’s a heart thing, not a mind thing.
And so how do you do that? How do you get to that place of feeling?
I remember sitting by the beach one morning about five years ago. I had this intense feeling come over me - it was a feeling of really loving myself, really believing and knowing that I was beautiful. Not in a ‘full of myself’ kind of way, in an 'honouring myself' kind of way. It was a moment where I saw myself without the self-criticism and without the need to find fault. I really felt how beautiful I am, and I believed it. There was no self-loathing or need to change anything. It was like I was seeing myself from a higher plane. Might sound weird, but it was one of those moments in life that I can’t necessarily explain, I just felt it. The thing is, I don’t feel like that about myself all the time. I can be critical, and I can focus on things about myself that I think I need to fix in order to be better. But in that moment by the beach, I somehow raised myself up above all of that. I realised that my higher self knows that I am perfect - flaws and all, she knows I am perfectly me.
And so, it got me thinking… how do I access that place more often? How do I rise above the self-criticism? And how could I explain it to others, so they could work on it too?
"The point is, the self-criticism isn’t your soul."
Bear with me for a second, because in wanting to explore self-love from that soul space I experienced, I thought about what the higher realms would say. What God would say? What the universe would say? What my higher self would say? Because seriously… I’m curious. What do you think the higher realms (if you believe in that kind of thing) would say about self-criticism? Particularly the criticism we can come up against in terms of our physicality and the desire to look a certain way.
Here’s what I think...
God: “Child, how could you not be perfect as you are? Are you saying that my creation is flawed? Are you not grateful for what I’ve given you? I’ve placed you on a rotating earth with coloured skies and endless opportunities, and you’re worried about your eyebrows not being thick enough? The fact you are here is a sheer miracle girl, and you want me to reconsider your thigh proportion? Don’t you see that you are a perfect version of yourself? I didn’t come up with the construct that you must look a certain way to be accepted - that’s a human construct child, and quite frankly it’s a ridiculous one. I created you as you, and that’s how you are meant to be. Sure, go to the gym, look after yourself, and make the most of what you’ve got, but don’t go comparing yourself to some idealised version of something that has no basis for true beauty. And by the way, do you know how much brain power I gave you? And you are focused on whether you take a good selfie? Child. Seriously. Do I have to explain this any further…?
Me: “But it’s important to take a good selfie God so I can keep up with the other peeps on instagram... and the thigh gap is a thing you know... okay. I hear myself. You have a point.”
And what about the universe, what would she say?
Universe: “My dear, you are a manifestation of the universe. You are magnificent. You are powerful beyond words. Stop playing-down who you are. Do you look at a flower and think that the petals aren’t symmetrical enough? Do you think that that flower should be a slightly lighter shade of pink? Do you think the texture of its leaves are a little too coarse? Do you think that the flower needs to be taller or shorter or maybe it could shave a bit off its stalk into order to be smaller? How ridiculous does that sound. You don’t look at a flower in that way. You don’t want to change anything about the flower. Flowers come in different shapes and colours and sizes. You might have your favourites, but they are all beautiful, and we all have our preferred flavours, right?”
Me: “Hmmm I do like flowers…”
And what about my higher self, thoughts?
Higher Self: “You are a divine goddess. Own that shit.”
Me: “Got you.”
So, the point is, the self-criticism isn’t your soul. It is mostly a mind game, largely influenced by social constructs, or experiences that were not in alignment with who you really are. The more you get caught up in those self-critical thoughts, and the more you look for evidence of them in your experience, the more they can embed themselves in your psyche and become beliefs or stories that you repeat to yourself over and over. But it isn’t your soul saying those mean things! It isn’t your higher self, because your soul would never put you down. Your soul vibrates on a different level and knows that the lower level human mind stuff is not the truth. Our thoughts can be irrational and intrusive, but if you can find a way to move beyond the mind to the higher part of you, and see yourself as a divine miracle (because you are), that part of you will always reveal to you the truth of you, which is that you are totally enough. I’m not suggesting that self-love is that simple, but when you are struggling with your thoughts, it’s a good place to start.
"I guarantee you your soul thinks you’re the bomb."
See if you can find a way to access the higher part of you, the part of you that knows that you are magnificent and perfect and just as you should be. We will all have our own ways - it might be through meditation, or yoga, or getting outside in nature, or through doing the things you love, or it might be in those quiet times where you sit with a cup of tea, or at night in bed, or you might pray…however you do it.
Sometimes when I catch myself getting stuck in my head I go for a long walk or a drive and I listen to music. Ever notice how music connects you to that higher-level vibration or source energy? It has the ability to elicit joy almost immediately. And even if you can't find joy, find something that gets you out of your head and away from the thinking you, and so you can connect with the real you, the soul you. Sometimes, as strange as it may sound, I even imagine the goddess in me emerging, and I acknowledge her, because she is always there!
The more you honour and connect with you, the soul you, the easier it will be to access that part of you in moments of self-doubt or self-criticism. And the more you connect with your soul, the more you will want to honour her or him through self-care, appreciation and through fulfilling your souls purpose and the things you love. And the more you do that, the more self-love you will feel, and the more self-love you feel, the more you will want to honour your soul and so on…
A little humour, and perspective is always helpful too!
I guarantee you your soul thinks you’re the bomb.
Contributor: Rochelle Smith, founder of The Honour Project