Friday, June 20, 2008

Seeing With Eyes of Love

How do you see yourself? How do you love yourself? How do you feel about your body? Did you know that the relationship between you and your body can become one of the most beautiful relationships of your life? Our minds can be so cruel to our bodies, can't they? The mind usually says things like, "No, I don't like this part of my body. Look at my nose; I don't like my nose. My ears--they are too large. My legs are too short, or too long, or too whatever. But the secret is, your body is perfect the way it is. We all have some crazy misconceptions about what is right and wrong, what is good or bad, what is beautiful and ugly. They are just concepts, but we believe them, and we judge ourselves by them. We have an image of perfection in our mind and we expect our bodies to somehow try to meet this image and be a certain way...if it is not that way, then we think we are ugly and imperfect.

Look at what you think about your own body, do you love it and accept it, or do you hate it and reject it? If you accept your own body, than I think you can accept almost everyone, almost everything. If you reject your own body, what can people expect from you? Do you inwardly criticize others to make yourself feel better? I think accepting your own body is very important in your relationships with others. If you reject your own body, when you are sharing your love with your partner, you become shy. You think, "Look at my body. how can he love me when I have a body like this?" And in the process, you kind of reject yourself, and you assume that everyone else will reject you too for the same reasons.

To create a relationship that stands happily on solid ground, you have to love your body. You have to respect your body. You have to let your body be free to give, free to receive, without being shy, because shyness is nothing but fear.

You know, there is really no problem with being gorgeous. With thinking that you are the cat's meow. If you walk through a crowd of people (especially a crowd of Italian men in Florence) and they tell you, "Oh, you are beautiful!" and you can say, "Thank you, I know," and keep going- (which sounds really arrogant, but I am thinking more about the thoughts you have in your head when someone compliments you). Their compliments don't really make a difference in how you see yourself. However, it will make a difference if you don't believe that you are special and beautiful and wonderful. If you don't believe that and someone tells you you are beautiful, then you are going to say, "Am I really?" Their opinions can impress you, and draw you to them, and yes, in a street full of Italians, make you easy prey. You feel that you get worth from their words, instead of finding the worth inside yourself. You are going to believe that they are responsible for making you happy, which is a big-BIG relationship no-no.

What is important are not all those opinions from others, but your own opinions. You are beautiful no matter what your mind tells you. That is a fact. You don't have to do anything because you already have the beauty you need. To be beautiful you don't have any obligation to anyone. Others are free to see what they want to see. If others see you and judge you beautiful or not, if you are aware of your own beauty and accept your own beauty, their opinion doesn't affect you at all.

Beauty is really nothing but a concept, nothing but a belief. It can get to the point, which I sadly think that it is in our plastic-beauty-world, where you may base your power on that beauty. Time passes, and you see yourself getting old. Perhaps you are not as beautiful as you were from your point of view, and a younger woman comes along who is now the one who is "beautiful". Time for plastic surgery, to try and keep the power because we believe that our beauty is our power. Our own aging starts to hurt us. "My beauty is going away!! Will my man still love me if I am not as attractive? Now he can see other women who are more attractive than me."

We resist aging; we believe that because someone is old, it means she is not beautiful. This belief is so wrong. If you see a newborn baby, it is beautiful, perfect. An old person is also beautiful, every stage of life is precious and beautiful. The problem is the emotion we have in our eyes to perceive what is and what is not beautiful. We have all these judgments, all these programs that put limits on our own happiness, that push us to self-rejection and to reject other people also. Can you see how we play the drama? How we kind of set ourselves up for failure with all these beliefs?

Aging is something beautiful. Growing up is beautiful. You are what you believe you are. You are beautiful.


Stina said...

What a wonderful post! A good reminder for all of us for sure. I was raised to have incredible self-esteem. This has led me to wonder at times if I almost have too much confidence in myself b/c I definitely have "let myself go" a number of times and not been in shape or eat too much. But I have always been comfortable with myself and try to focus on being physically healthy rather than being physically attractive. My high self-esteem has also led me down the path of many hairstyles in my life, many of which were questionable judgment calls, but I still had fun with them.

On another note, being pregnant has led to another understanding of my body. I am amazed that it knows what to do to grow a baby by itself - without me doing anything or thinking anything. It is automatic! Unbelievable. Thank you, body, for taking care of this baby.

Sugar said...

Who is that Gorgeous Glamour Girl?

You mentioned legs. Mine are shorter than average. I used to hate that. Anyway. I love to buy what I call "Sophia Loren" skirts. I wear them mid calf. One day I was in BCBG where I had recently purchased one and saw how it was "supposed" to look on a 6'2" model. I don't think I ever thought my Sophia Loren skirts were supposed to look any different than how they did. I had a fleeting moment of I'm not tall enough to wear that." But then I honestly thought, "hmmm... I prefer wearing mine mid-calf."

And I absolutely love my skirts!

D'Arcy said...

It's a photo shoot of a friend I did last winter, isn't she beautiful! I love capturing these amazing images!

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

Hey D'Arcy, I almost had my comment done earlier then my daughter came in here and sighed (very dramatically) and told me that if she didn't "feed her Webkinz, they were going to die".
(Far be it from ME to allow a virtual pet to die of starvation....)

Anyway, this was a great post. I think probably 98% of women struggle with this self-love issue, in large part due to what our youth-and-beauty-obsessed society tells us is beautiful. It's really crazy. I see it starting already with my 10 year old. She got my curly hair and she doesn't like it (because right now the style is straight). She also got my fair skin, and wishes she were tan. It's heart-breaking, and I frequently feel it's a losing battle, BUT I am bound and determined NOT to let society tell her what is and is not beautiful. We are ALL "fearfull and wonderfully made" and we're ALL one of a kind masterpieces - truly!

For me, personally, the older I get the more comfortable I am in my skin. Ironically when I was younger, "prettier" (as far as popular culture judges it), and thinner, I was also much more insecure and obsessed with my looks. Now I really am much more relaxed. Most days my hair is in a ponytail, and I don't wear makeup. I am a Low Maintenance Woman.

And I really have to "second" what Stina said about being pregnant - it is really a time when a woman develops a newfound respect (and a PROFOUND respect) for her own body. That fact that your body is growing a new HUMAN is really awe-inspiring. (Congrats, Stina!)

Great post, D'Arcy! :-)

jomama said...

d'arcy, this is JUST what i needed to hear right now. i felt like you were writing it just for me, so thank you. beautiful thoughts.

boylingivylilac said...

Amen and amen. Thank you for your insight D'Arcy. I think your point on being kind to yourself and accepting yourself is at the heart of being kind and accepting others.

Thank you. Em

Alisa said...

Love this post, D'Acry. I think that the criticisms we make of other people are really showing our own lack of self-acceptence. I think we need to be gentle with ourselves and gentle with others. Some people feel it is a duty to offer unsolicited advice on another person's body ("You have a lovely face; you just need better eyebrows" or "This guy I've lined you up with is really picky; you'll want to slim up for him"). These seemlingly innocent remarks can hurt others and interfere with their own process of self-love, which in turn makes them critical of others, etc., etc. While we're probably all guilty of making these off-hand remarks, I hope that I can definitely decrease the frequency in which they come out of my mouth!

D'Arcy said...

Stina, I agree, your body is amazing. I never really thought of that before, but yes, that creation of life going on inside of you...without you even thinking about, awesome.

Sugar, you and i have opposite problems, I love it, they are always too short on me. But I don't care, you keep rocking those amazing skirts. I want to see one when i visit you in August.

HappyWifeHappyLife--I think that's one of life's cycles, we finally get ok with ourselves, and then you have a daughter and you watch her circle through, there really isnt any avoiding it, but the fact that she can have a mother who is secure in her beauty, who teaches her what is really important in life, that's a lucky girl.

Jo, you are beautiful and you and I have a lot of the same thoughts, so I am not surprised that you needed to hear this post as much as I wanted to say it.

Em, I am coming to realize that more and more each day.

Alisa--it's true, we say a lot of things innocently enough and don't quite realize how damaging they may be. That's a big goal i have, to not talk too much about looks, put too much stock in them, or make them part of my thought processes when looking at's hard, we all do it. But the more we are ok with ourselves, I really do believe the more we become able to accept others too. (maybe why the young, chic girls in high school are always so judgmental of others, it's really just reflecting a lot of their own insecurities.)

Chelle said...

This is so true-the already being perfect is something I have recently discovered and it is so freeing. Its funny, when I was in my early twenties, I always thought that aging was so scary and that the good part of my life would be over by, I don't know twenty three. And back then, I wasn't comfortable with myself, because I was always waiting for something, thinking I needed to do something more. I guess I could just never fathom life past that. Now that I am thirty, it's crazy because I feel so much more comfortable both with my body and also my mind and feelings. I think they are all very interrelated.

Gustav said...

Dear D'Arcy

Chelle is right. The body, mind, and beauty are all interconnected. The most beautiful people have connected these three dots.

As Chelle also says there is nothing freer than being happy with who you are and what you are about.

Finally, can I say in a very respectful way, that you and your blog are beautiful to me.

D'Arcy said...

Chelle and Gustav...thank you both for your comments. My life is better because you two are in it!

Hey, It's Ansley said...

This is such a hard concept for me. I am noticing those aging changes. My eyes looks so tired sometimes. I'm sure it doesn't help that I'm awake at 3am. I'm trying to learn that, like you said, I have control over how I feel about my body. I can control how much time I spend trying to make it better by applying lotion but actually staring in the mirror finding all the imperfections. Or how much time I spend working out and doing things that actually do make me look and feel better.