Shouldn’t we focus more on our soul than our bodies?
Shouldn’t we be celebrating our inner beauty?
Aren’t we more than just our bodies?
Isn’t it more important to be a good person inside than to celebrate our outer body/beauty?
These are questions or comments I get every once in a while on a photo or blog post, that focusing so much on our bodies doesn’t seem right (to them) and shouldn’t we focus more on the amazing spirit inside that body?
The answer I have is Yes. And No.
Yes inner beauty and our spiritual path (as in exploring our relationship to that which is beyond ourselves) are so vital. Yet I don’t see them as disconnected from the path of learning to love our bodies.
The journey to finding self-love for me and to being my own beloved has been both an internal and external one. Of befriending myself, filling up my own well, sitting with my loneliness, untangling stories of self-hate. It has indeed been about finding my own inner beauty. It has about becoming a person who is in tune with kindness as a core value both towards myself and others.
Yet these things are happening within a body. About a body. To disconnect the self-love journey from my body is to discount a whole deep well of potential healing.
Here is the truth I see around me and with so many folks who have come to join me for Be Your Own Beloved. They tell me that they’ve been on a self-love path for a long time but had been avoiding with dealing with that remaining piece of self-hate that hand been lurking in the shadows or in the way they saw themselves in photos. We are looking everywhere else for peace within without thinking of the possibility that external body-love could help us.
Because it’s supposed to be egocentric or vain to want to love our external body, right?
Learning to love your body isn’t vain or egocentric, especially when so many of us are coming from the opposite of ego.
You have the right to choose to love yourself.
Our internal and external selves are connected and if we love our personality, our drive, our mind, but still hate our bodies, we are living in hate. If we are focusing so much on our inner selves but still have hate towards our outer selves, that is yet another spiritual door awaiting us.
While the process of taking selfies is indeed about how we relate to our body in a photo, the photo is the tool for us to learn to love our bodies in our everyday lives too. It isn’t just about getting a new Facebook photo (though that is always a plus). It is about using the camera as a doorway to a more peaceful, compassionate relationship to ourselves and our self-image.
Which includes how we see our bodies from the outside be it a sideways glance in a store window and the reaction we have about seeing ourselves, or how we see our bodies each morning when we look in the mirror. Or, of course, how we see ourselves in a photo. Our relationship to self-image is a place where many of us have the potential to shift our relationship from a place of critique to kindness.
It often feels that using selfies as a tool for healing our body image isn’t as much about the photo we get itself as the journey we go on to get it and the way we choose to relate to the photo itself. It has felt like a deeply spiritual journey, far more connected to purpose than vanity.
But to me it is inherently related to our bodies.
To say we aren’t our bodies or we want to focus on our inner beauty leaves our body shame waiting for us, still hanging out waiting to be heard.
So to answer those questions of inner vs external beauty I wonder if we could reframe it:
What if our bodies and that our inner beauty can be strengthened by healing our relationship with our outer beauty. We have this deep & rich potential place of self-learning that feels deeply spiritual, with our body as our guide.
What if re-learning to love your external body when you have lived in a place of self-critique or dare I say self-hate could be a doorway to deep love, the same kind you might be looking for in meditation or as you create your altars.
What if we do indeed focus on exploring our inner beauty but stay open to seeing it as not disconnected or more important than the potential for compassionate and unconditional love for the body you are in.
I know it’s a scary process for a lot of us to step into. But what if selfies could be that unexpected tool that brings you to a greater place of peace with our self both internally & externally?
I know this isn’t the standard perception of what ‘selfie’ is but I know when we’ve tried everything else on our path of healing, sometimes we need to seek out tools in unexpected places. And if you aren’t sure where to begin on that path, you might want to come join me for the November Session of Be Your Own Beloved and I’ll help you take those first steps to heal that rift between your inner relationship to self & your external perceptions of your body.