The Ultimate Voice Guide to Self-acceptance
I Am What I Am and What I Am Needs No Excuses
It took me a long time to realise I wasn’t a skinny 6ft blonde, but instead a curvy 5ft 4in brunette.
Shopping expeditions would involve taking armfuls of clothes along to the changing room with hope in my heart, only to try everything on, sigh, and return every single item to the ‘not wanted’ rail outside. Every time I put myself through this process, I felt a little less cheerful, a little less gorgeous and a lot more dissatisfied.
But then, joy of joys, in a rush to find something to wear for an unexpected meeting, I went to the shops and spoke to the sales assistant to see if she could help me in my quest in a hurry. She said it was time to celebrate the curves I had, and disappeared for a couple of moments only to return with a simple black dress and jacket that were to be my salvation! This simple black dress was nipped in at the waist, and the jacket was tailored with structured shoulder pads and, again, a good nip in at the waist. I had finally found the right outfit for my body shape, and every time I wore it, compliments would come flying my way – this felt good. The way I felt in this outfit was a little less less, and a little more more!
Now, I know that nothing had really changed – I’m still the same person whether I wear a bin bag or the Little Black Dress & Jacket, but in my head, I had moved a mountain. I accepted my curves as a good thing, and a part of me, and all I had to do was go with them, rather than fight against them. I accepted the way I was made – simple.
There are so many aspects to the being part of humanness that we need to notice and accept, but seldom do. In my work coaching teenagers, I see groups of girls and boys who base their levels of self-esteem on their weight, hair, and general appearance and ignore who they are inside. They compare themselves to the airbrushed, over-coiffed, starved images of their celebrity idols, and find themselves falling short. We do an exercise called ‘The Power of You’ where we look at people we admire be it their Mum or Granny, Barack Obama, Fifty Cent, Rosa Parkes, Oprah Winfrey or Cheryl Cole, and then explore reasons WHY we admire these people. The qualities that come up are discussed and are always admirable – strength of character, dedication, discipline, inspiration, sense of humour etc. As the exercise goes on, we spend more time exploring those attributes of the people we admire, and less time on how they look. We then take a peek at ourselves and see if we or any of our peers in the room has any of those attributes. It’s usually a noisy but positive exercise, and every single teenager in the room leaves with a special card with a list of their positive attributes to keep. Not a single card mentions the individual‘s hair, weight or appearance – this is a valuable exercise!
In my experience, beauty of any kind comes from the inside out and not from a surgeon’s knife or a make-up artist’s brush. If we’re accepting of ourselves, we can make mistakes and forgive ourselves (and clear up any messes created). We are also far more able to forgive others readily because we realise that everyone in the world is beautfully flawed – that’s what makes us interesting.
If we can accept who we are and what we have to offer the world and people around us, then we can lead by example. We will also be a lot happier. So find your gifts and share them. A good way to start is to ask your family and friends where they think your gifts lie, and listen carefully while they tell you. (If a compliment comes your way, don’t forget to say thank you!) Then share your uniqueness with everyone you come into contact with.
I’m told my humble gifts are bringing people together in a fun way, listening to others and singing and I spend my life and career doing these things all the time – it feels great and more than makes up for the missing 8 inches and blondeness! You want to be beautiful? Start with the inside –there you’ll find a full and fabulous wardrobe of attributes that come with you everywhere and always fit perfectly. Share you with the world – we’re ready for you.