I don’t remember being bothered about how my body looked when I was a young girl, I just remember being full of joy, loving people, playing, drawing, and dancing.
It was not until I was about 10 or 11 years old that I remember having feelings about how I looked. I remember getting my hair cut short and being teased about it and called a boy.
It wasn’t until I went to high school that I began to have issues with my body. I’m not sure how or where this started but I do know it wasn’t something that ever crossed my mind as a child.
The older I got, and the more I was exposed to:
- Other people’s comments
- Beliefs and ideals about the way girls and women should look
- Celebrity culture
- Comparison and competition – which girl was prettier, thinner, more beautiful, accepted and liked and/or loved by others…
… the more I began to compare myself to these images and ideals and the more I began to associate how I looked on the outside with:
- Getting attention
- Whether I was accepted and liked
- Whether I was seen by others to be beautiful… or not.
Throughout my teenage years and well into my early thirties I became obsessed with how my body looked; this was not outwardly obvious, but underneath there was a choice made to allow a driving force to have a perfect body that was thin and looked great. It was a form of control that made me feel safe in a world where I felt it was not safe to show how delicate, lovely and sensitive I am. It was never about being underweight or super thin, for me it was more about wanting a body that looked super fit, perfect and healthy.
There wasn’t any one person I would class as a role model, more just a general impact of the ideals and beliefs I observed and chose to take on from the world around me. However, the older I got and the more I exercised, the more I wanted a body like I saw in fitness magazines – strong, and what I thought was sexy, but now looking back it was really just hard and a form of protection.
It was like I had a point to prove to the world – that I was worth being loved.
There was no joy or love in the relationship I had with myself, my body or the food I ate, it was all very much about obsession and control, only allowing myself to eat certain things, and exercising not to support or love myself, but to extremes to look a certain way. I had come to believe that only if I was thin, with a perfect tummy, bum etc., then I was beautiful. I had given up on being and letting out the amazing joy, playfulness and love I was as a child – and I still felt within – not caring what anyone else thought about me.
Now in my late thirties I can absolutely say that I love my body, I am beautiful and super sexy, playful and cute, and I know that first this all comes from within.
When I feel beautiful, this shines out no matter what, and is felt by everyone.
Why? Because I feel beautiful and confident from within.
For me it is no longer about how I look on the outside first, but the quality and connection of the relationship I have with myself. I no longer compare myself to others, wish I was thinner or fitter, or look like GI Jane, as I love being me. There’s no perfect bum in sight but it is super cute; nor a six pack but a gentle, lovely curve.
I’m exactly the way I am meant to be.
I eat to support myself, not to control the way I think I should look, and when I exercise it is not to burn calories, lose weight or to get the ‘perfect body’, as I now know this does not exist.
I exercise because I love myself and I want to make that commitment to me, knowing that my beauty first comes from within.
You might ask how did this change come about from someone who was so dedicated and committed to pushing her body hard and training in a way that was in complete disregard of the delicate, petite woman I am. It was through meeting Serge Benhayon, attending Universal Medicine Events and practising the Gentle Breath Meditation that my life began to change. It didn’t happen overnight and there were no rules or quick fixes to follow, they simply presented to me that there is another way of living and being that is about love first; in other words, making self loving choices for myself and my body – which naturally unfolded into all areas of my life, from work, to relationships, to family and how I feel about myself.
It has been through these loving choices that I have made, and continue to keep making and deepening, that my life and my body has changed.
It’s not that I have lost lots of weight, but there is a quality, a lightness, a joy and a beauty that shines out from within. For the first time in my life, since I was a little girl, I can feel the grace, delicateness, beauty, sweetness and joy that I am, and I no longer hide this away.
By Gyl Rae, 37, Scotland
~ Self Esteem is no longer an Issue – Appreciating, Celebrating and Loving My Body
~ Raising our Girls – Supporting True Beauty
~ The True Beauty R-Evolution
~ Is True Beauty Really In The Eye Of The Beholder?