Stop the Terrorist In Your Head

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You are beautiful. Stop. Stop the terrorist in your head that says, “I don’t this, I need that, I could, I must have to be beautiful.”  In her book, “Women, Food and God,” Geneen Roth describes “the promise of a diet (cosmetics, skin care, exercise) is not only will you have a different body (look); it is that in having a different body, you will have a different life.  If you hate yourself enough, you will love yourself.  If you torture yourself enough, you will become a peaceful, relaxed human being.”  In print the idea sounds as foolish as it is.

This insane idea that self-hatred leads to love and that self-torture leads  to relaxation hypnotizes us into believing the promises of the make-up counters, infomercials , and get thin-quick diets.  The allure is that if I do all this (diet, exercise, buy what they are selling), I will be beautiful and therefore be loved, promoted, treated better, or finally like myself.

“Truth, not force…Awareness, not deprivation…Presence, not shame, changes how you see yourself and what you rely on,” says Roth. She quotes the poet Galway Kinnell; “sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness,” How?  Stop telling ourselves the stories of our own ugliness.  They are just stories, propagated by the media, our families, friends, society.  The damage comes when we internalize the ideas that without this or that I am no longer lovely. How often have you reached the certain weight, bought the dress, or gotten the perfect hair style, only to feel, “this is it, this is all the beauty/happiness/since of well -being that this particular change or purchase brings?”

If you dare, stop and listen to the words you say to yourself about yourself for one whole minute.  Now could your best friend tolerate such criticism from you?  Would such a critical review motivate her to change?  Stop looking outside for answers.  What brings your true divine loveliness out?  Freedom from the ugly story is to stop telling it to ourselves. Stop abdicating responsibility for your own loveliness to the next cosmetics counter, diet, or exercise machine. Learning the difference between” what you love and what you think you love because you can’t have it,” opens the door to the following freedom questions according to Roth; “What exhausts you?  What sustains you?”

Is going for a run life giving and rejuvenating? Do that. Does fixing your hair and make give you time in the morning to think about the day and relax?  Do that.  Does having your figure nails painted give you the since of self- love and care? Do that.  Does getting a spray tan lift your mood?   Do that.  Does prayer or meditation center you? Do that. Be truthful and present to yourself.   You have the power to release the loveliness in you.

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