Today is Wednesday, September 26th 2018. Stop to take a moment to think when was the last time you looked at the mirror and said right now I look and feel so beautiful. Was it this morning as you were getting ready for your day? Was it yesterday? a week ago? or was it such a rare sentence you uttered to yourself that you don’t even remember?
I ask you because today I felt unbeautiful (ugly feels like too strong of a word to use). I hated that I cut my hair short, I looked at my body and found a million and one flaws in it. I even went to the bathroom’s mirror and looked at my face thinking: ugh why is my skin like this, why is my nose this big and the list goes on. I am sure countless women have done the same.
Imagine after a self-hate session (which is often mistaken as a self-improvement session) sitting down and looking at old photos of yourself when you were supposedly skinnier and younger. I found myself looking at pictures of only a year ago when I did a photoshoot for an online interview (read full interview here). I remembered that day feeling so self-conscious in those dresses and I remember telling my good friend and photographer, Megan to tell me if I looked fat and if my face looked ok. Point is I did not feel beautiful, but today when I look at the pictures (shown below) I say what an idiot I was for not feeling and seeing it, because damn it I am beautiful (and so are you beautiful reader).
All of a sudden it hit me, I have lost so many days not appreciating myself. I had no idea I was beautiful then, I didn’t see it or feel it. And today, with my short hair, my one year older self I still don’t know or feel beautiful. But that is not right and is definitely not sustainable.
Why do we put ourselves down so much? Wouldn’t life be much more beautiful if we enjoyed it while being comfortable in our own skin and feeling beautiful inside and out (without being egotistical about it)? I have seen too many incredible women, including myself standing up for other people and trying to show them that they are super women but most of us forget about the most important woman - our individual selves. Enough is enough.
We will always need to improve ourselves, always. But we need to start to learn how to better love ourselves in this beautiful, messy and rollercoaster of life. There is nothing wrong in seeing yourself as beautiful. God after all has created you. As the Prophet Muhammad in Islam says:
To end this blog post I leave you with some practical things you may do if you have the same problem as me. For any problem I face I analyze and solve it with the same 3 ingredients: Looking into my thoughts, words and actions. Nothing is neutral in life and every thought, word and action you have is either taking you closer to something positive or away from it. So in our topic of today of seeing yourself as beautiful and building your self-confidence, below are some things I will be personally working on and I truly hope it helps you too:
Early-morning: As soon as I wake up I am going to take a few minutes to express and feel gratitude for being alive, for having the basics I need, for having a body, being able to speak and get out of bed.
Morning: Take 5 minutes to stretch but this will be no ordinary stretching. This will be stretching with awareness, gratitude and love. As I stretch my legs I want to really feel them, feel their ability to move and look at them with love. I want to be aware of the tiny devilish thoughts of: Aida your thighs are so big, you need to run more. I want to turn the thought into: Aida your legs are beautiful and we will work on making the more beautiful through running and honoring this body.
Mid-day: Go to the bathroom and just say I love you, you are beautiful. then repeat and said I love you, I am beautiful. I started with you because it feels awkward to say I am beautiful to myself immediately so I will work its way in slowly.
Night: As I clean my face from the day’s dust, I will clean it with the emotion of pride. Pride in the sense of being proud of my accomplishments of the day, proud of being brave enough to have gone out and put myself out there, and proud of working on loving myself more and more every single day. I aim to ending the day with committing to trying harder tomorrow which means loving myself a bit more and hopefully unconsciously giving women more permission to love themselves more every day.