By Dr. Heather Clark
“You can’t change a sow’s ear into a silk purse,” was a phrase I heard often in my childhood. It was part of my mother’s ritual for going out of the house. She would get dressed, fuss with her hair, apply rouge and lipstick. Then she would grimace. For a long time I didn’t know what the phrase meant, but even at a very young age I knew that she was not happy with her appearance. Of course, until she taught me differently, I thought she was beautiful.
I grew up being told that I looked just like my mother, so I adopted her self-assessment as my own without even knowing it. I began to believe that I was essentially defective. Thankfully, in my early thirties, I had a mystical experience that marked the beginning of a whole new life. Through study, I began to realize that all the forms in my life were a reflection of my consciousness. I worked hard to find which beliefs were healthy and which ones were dysfunctional.
Through journaling, prayer and meditation, I built upon the healthy beliefs and eliminated or shifted my limiting beliefs. My life experiences began to change. Relationships, career, health, prosperity, travel — all changed through my altered perceptions.
I knew that my inner self was beautiful because I could feel the Presence of Love within me. But truthfully, when I looked in the mirror, I still saw something ugly and grotesque.
It is a fact that we are bombarded by the media with images of what we should look like. Although less than 5% of the female population can ever look like these airbrushed images, it is what we are confronted with every day. We are sold on the idea that we are not enough without certain products, or procedures.
It is interesting to note that if we attained a “Barbie” appearance we would have chronic lower back pain, be missing some essential organs and topple over because we were top-heavy. Eventually we would die of malnutrition.
Recently I received a heart-wrenching email message from a cherished, younger friend who lives far away. This woman has always been very attractive and has always struggled with self-confidence. Rhetorically, she questioned, “Why did I end up so ugly?” Then she rallied at the unfairness of life and ended by saying, “…the only thing I ever cared about was being pretty …it was the only thing I ever wanted…”
I felt so sad for her that she could not see her unique beauty. I felt sad that the only thing this brilliant woman wanted was to feel pretty. I wondered how all the achievements of a successful career; a happy marriage and many friends could pale in the light of self-rejection.
How accepting are you of the women in your life? Do you see them as friends to enjoy or projects to be fixed? The more self-love you have, the easier it will be to accept everyone in your life exactly as they are.
I believe that we live in a Universe that is forever reflecting back to us our beliefs. So the bitter irony about all our self-absorption and self-criticism is that what we see in the mirror starts first in our mind. The way the Universe works is to simply manifest whatever it is that we have accepted as being true. Every time we perceive a new flaw — a wrinkle, an unacceptable size or shape, we are actually creating a prototype for the Universe to fill. How many times have I said, “I am getting so fat!” simply to find that the scale soon agreed with that command.
I have worked on my own issues for many years and today have varying degrees of success with self-acceptance of my physical appearance. There were many years when I would not walk out of my home unless my hair and make-up were done. As I have been working on accepting myself exactly as I am, I have become a little easier on myself. I realize no one is evaluating my appearance. No one is going to take a picture. I could go past the mirror without grimacing. My affirmation is: “I love myself the way I am. There is nothing I need to change.”
One day I had a few errands to run; I was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, bare-faced and with hair a mess. One of my errands was to apply for a new driver’s license. I knew that they would not take a picture because they had simply been renewing the old picture for years. I was wrong! When I look at my ID, I smile at the wonderful opportunity I created to “love myself the way I am.”
How healthy is your body image? Are you willing to release the old ideas and embrace the Truth about yourself? You were made in the image of the divine feminine which is Beauty and Wisdom. If you really knew that you are a divine being, how would you treat your body? How would you speak about your body? If you do not love your body what will you miss out on? If you do start loving your body, what good could come of it?
You can use the mirror as a powerful spiritual practice. Stand naked in front of
a full-length mirror and look at your entire body. Spirit has taken form by
means of you. Affirm yourself. Claim your beauty. You are so beautiful. You are
Mirror, mirror… on the wall
Who’s the fairest one of all?
Dr. Heather Clark has been senior minister of Capistrano Valley Church of Religious Science since 1999 and a minister since 1992. Her honorary Doctorate of Letters was awarded by Religious Science International in 2005. She is known for her gentle devotion to teaching the principles and practice of Religious Science. She will be a workshop facilitator at the Wise Woman Weekend Retreat in , February 4-6, 2007.
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