A few years ago when I was studying to be a Spiritual Psychotherapist, one of my fellow students whispered to me as we were heading into class.
He said "I just wanted to tell you that you are very pretty today, even though you don't think so"
I had to pull him back from our other classmates and get the low down. Having to take 100 hours of personal therapy just to graduate the course meant that I was already in self analysis big time. Like most people, I had my insecurities, but not in a way that I thought badly about myself or put myself down.
I had worked for years on my self esteem.
I thought I was in a good place. My dear friend, (who was not hitting on me by the way) said that when a group of us were out having lunch together, someone had complimented me and I had reacted with look of "yeah right" and mumbled something.
Not only did I not remember the conversation or compliment, but I absolutely did not remember my reaction to it. So that means I was running on darth ego autopilot and thank goodness for friends who are there to mirror back to us where we truly are in our spiritual practice.
One of the most important things I have learned about having a spiritual practice is that it has levels of learning, just like video games.
You start out with a mission, this can change. You encounter mazes, familiar and new, you collect things, have conflicts, overcome obstacles and you lose energy and have regain it. You gradually learn which paths will take you where you want to go the quickest and where you are going around in circles, repeating the same thing. Just like in the levels of a video game, practicing over and over takes you to the next level of growth in your life. Being self aware means you know at any point where your confidence and self love is at. Confidence and self love are the power ups in the game.
It is discipline that brings you back to the table time and again, even when you most want to give up or feel unworthy or undeserving.
I liken spiritual discipline to a compass. You have to realign and reorient yourself when you get lost or forget who you truly are. This will happen many times and it will usually be preceded by a difficult, trying or spiritually deficient experience. You will find yourself taking a deep breath and saying "Okay, put on your big person pants and get back in the game" Or as the Buddhists say more eloquently "Begin Again"
Not feeling beautiful is one of the ways we play and stay small.
In 1999, one of my favorite female groups was TLC. They were the epitome of cool, sexy, beautiful, rebellious, strong young artists and their message was about empowerment. There were many other artists that had a similar message but there was something different about TLC. The overalls, the condoms they wore as accessories, their take no bullshit attitudes, or maybe it was just that they were aware and responsible enough to produce the song Unpretty.
How ironic that the video starts with the girls in meditation, (not something I practiced in 1999!), but a place where I go now time and again to align. It is my first place of practice.
It took me a long time to realize women who truly feel pretty do not focus on their looks, they exude a strong feeling of being Enough
That exactly where you are at right now is right and enough and gorgeous and wonderful. Truly there is no one who smiles the way you do.
I hope you enjoy the video and know that you are Beautiful!