“Vulnerability is about having the courage to show up and be seen.” ~Brene Brown
When I was twenty-seven someone told me I had old looking skin.
Up until I heard this comment, I had never given much thought to my skin. Ever since, however, it’s been the only thing I see when I look in the mirror.
Lately, I have been diving deeper into the inner areas of my life that still need further integration. Making themselves most apparent as top priorities are self-love and acceptance.
A good friend recently told me that she has started to look at herself in the mirror every day and say “I love you,” and really mean it.
She said when she first started this exercise, all she could see was the line that was between her eyebrows. Her one flaw.
Before my friend mentioned this line in her face, I had never really noticed it.
My friend has big, beautiful, blue eyes, and those are all I see every time I talk to her.
This conversation was quite eye opening. It made me admit that I do the same thing.
The only things I see in the mirror are the lines in my face, and I think, “maybe I need to get a facelift.”
I am committed to loving and accepting myself fully and changing this behavior pattern.
My friend said, “Polly, you have to see your lines in a different way. Your lines tell the story of who you are! Your lines show all of your many adventures, all the time you have spent outside kayaking, surfing, and cycling. This is the story your lines tell. Your lines have made you who you are. Love your lines!”
Love my lines! Really?
Love my biggest insecurity? Accept my flaws as they are?
What if I loved my lines? What if I saw them like she did?
They are the story of who I really am.
I have not been wrapped up in cotton wool, sitting in a cubicle, and my face shows it.
What if I even honored my lines and said thank you?
Thank you for taking on the elements.
Thank you for protecting me and allowing me to do all the sports I love outside for hours in the sun.
Thank you, lines!
Well, this is revolutionary!
Self-acceptance, gratitude, compassion, and forgiveness are my practices today. I forgive myself for letting someone else’s opinion of me dominate me. For giving away my power, and allowing my sense of self to come from outside of me.
In his book The Presence Process, Michael Brown says:
“The behaviors we generate in order to feel safe and accepted in the world are a substitute for real peace and aren’t who we are. By embracing responsibility for our experiences, we embrace the capacity to change them.”
In taking responsibility for my life and experiences I can see that I have allowed my worth and value to be dictated by one person’s superficial observation of my appearance.
I now take back my power. I now change my story. I can choose a different path. I can love and have gratitude. I can forgive this person and myself. I can focus on my gifts instead of my imperfections.
It is commonly believed that the eyes are the mirrors of the soul.
When I talk to people I always look in their eyes. When I look at myself I hardly ever look in my own eyes.
Why? What would I see if I looked beyond the surface? What have I been distracting myself with by only focusing on my skin?
What if I saw who I truly am? What if I saw my own soul? What if I let my light really shine?
Digging deeper, I see that perhaps Marianne Williamson is right when she says,
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?”
If I fully accept and embrace my imperfection, and believe Marianne Williamson, then what?
Is my deepest fear that I am powerful?
Does my light scare me?
What if I truly let my light shine?
What an amazing gift this would be! To myself and to the world.
This is all I really want.
To be my most authentic, whole, true self. To let my light shine. To be comfortable in my own skin.
I believe this is the point of life, and that my inner work is to see beyond my lines—to see who I truly am.
I now am showing up and having the courage to really be seen. Lines and all!
I know that if I honestly allow this, I will be free.
That no one outside of me can do this for me.
I have begun to edit video footage that I took of myself last year, when I was on a self-searching walk by myself. I spent thirty-two days alone in the wilderness and recorded my journey on video. I haven’t shared these videos because I was self-conscious about my skin, and, as a result, I have been holding back the potential of letting my light shine.
Letting my light truly shine means following my heart and inspiration. Allowing my gut instinct to rule, even when I don’t know why. Smiling big. Saying hello to people with my heart open. Seeing others as a reflection of myself. Asking, “What can I give?” rather than “What can I get?” and being present with everyone I come into contact with.
If I feel like dancing, I get up and dance.
Shining my light means sharing my gifts with generosity, and getting out of my own way. Putting myself out there and allowing my voice to be heard. Through writing, dance, film, art, and by simply being my whole, authentic, true self.
It is well and truly time. Time to get over the insecurity, the reverse vanity, and practice self-love and acceptance.
The only one who needs to love and accept me is me, and I know that once I do this what you think of me really doesn’t matter.
We can all let our light shine bright—you too.
Stop focusing on your perceived imperfections and recognize your inner light.
Look yourself in the eyes in the mirror and say “I love you” or “You are amazing,” and really mean it!
See yourself as your friends see you (without honing in on physical flaws).
“Show up,” however that looks for you, and allow yourself to be seen.
Call back in your power—from all people, places, and situations where you may have given it away.
We owe it to ourselves and to the world to step into our full power, and shine our full brightness. Allowing ourselves to be, express, and create gives others the room to do the same.
Our unique, authentic selves are here now, ready, and waiting for our permission to shine!