Once I decided to dedicate myself fully to my spiritual path and personal growth, many things began to happen to me that seemed exaggerated and wild. Imagine your life suddenly feels like a movie playing at the IMAX. That means that every little pimple has a magnifying glass, a huge spotlight and mirror all focused on it. So really, it is just a pimple…..right?
Two months after that fateful February day in which my life collided with my spiritual path, I decided to stop wearing make-up. This was an extreme decision, in direct response to my desire for change and spiritual growth. And, if you are unaware of this fact, there are parts of our country, where not wearing make-up really puts you in a category of ‘odd’. To say the least. That is where I lived.
There were a couple of girls where I worked who did not wear make-up. However, they were both members of an extreme Christian church that did not allow make-up. On this particular day, I was asked to ask myself why I wore make-up. After some very deep soul searching, I could not come up with a valid reason. My answers were somewhat defensive. Like, “I have worn make-up since I was eleven.” Or, “Everyone wears make-up.” If you are following this, those responses do not answer the very clear question, “Why do I wear make-up?” Really, the answer was, “Just because!” Clearly, that was not good enough for me in the moment. I was learning about consciousness and wanted to be very clear about what I was doing and why.
The very next day, I went to work with no make-up. This was very hard to do. Early into my day, my boss walked up to me, stopped, stared and then commanded, “Go put some lipstick on!” I could not believe my boss would even dare to have an opinion about my make-up! After that, my resolve was complete! I was not going to wear make-up!
While I was very proud of my strong spiritual efforts and statement, it came with a very powerful side effect. Within a week or two of stopping the make-up, I could only perceive myself as very ugly. Logically, I kept telling myself that I really was beautiful. However, the reaction inside of me took over and I was just plain ugly. In fact, it was so bad that I shuddered when I looked in the mirror! I actually felt a physical repulsion when I saw my reflection. Consequently, I stopped looking in mirrors.
About a year after that, I moved into a house that had a very large bathroom. The shower doors were glass and the shower was situated precisely across from a wall to wall mirror. Now, not only did I have to suffer from looking at my ugly face, I had to add to that my ugly naked body! This, was almost unbearable. Although, being dirty would have been worse (then I would be dirty AND ugly), taking a shower became a low point of my day. Thoughts of myself and beauty and ugliness were constantly spinning in my head. I felt doomed to live a life of extreme unhappiness within my experience of my lack of beauty.
Randomly one day, I decided, that after I would shower, while I was still naked, I would stare at myself in the mirror and tell myself I was beautiful. The first day, everything inside of me screamed. “No, I’m not.” “You are fooling yourself!” “This is stupid!” “It won’t change anything!” “You are really ugly!” I cried. I tried again the next day. I fought back! I said, “I don’t care what you say, I AM beautiful!” Days went by. Weeks went by. I kept doing it. Everyday a fight. But I persisted.
Months later, I was still telling myself how beautiful I was in the mirror. By this time, I had added going through all of my body parts and facial features one by one and saying that each one was beautiful. The screaming negative voices had gotten quieter. At this point, I was doing it just as a routine in my day. Therefore, I was quite taken aback on the day that I looked in the mirror and actually saw, really saw, a beautiful woman staring back at me! It was miraculous! Unexplainable! But real! I WAS beautiful. How had I missed it? How had I so definitively seen myself as ugly? Who cared!
I AM BEAUTIFUL!
And factually, SO ARE YOU!