'You Are Beautiful. Now Say It'

The author of the 'Simple Abundance' series helps us see our own beauty and worth.

Excerpted from "The Simple Abundance Companion" with permission of Warner Books. Copyright 2000 by Sarah Ban Breathnach.

Welcome to You

Undoubtedly, we become what we envisage

.



--Claude M. Bristol



You are beautiful. Right now. Today. Just as you are, just the way you look as you read those three words: You. Are. Beautiful. Say it slowly aloud, as if the phrase were a foreign language, for it probably is.



You are beautiful. Now say it in the first person singular.



I am beautiful.



Do you know that? If so, remind yourself of this glorious fact every day. If not, it is time to become beautiful in your own eyes. This will require a makeover of sorts, but not the kind you think. Learning to love the way you look has nothing to do with starting a diet or reshaping your eyebrows. Accepting and embracing your authentic beauty means seeing yourself from the inside out.

I love me, I love me not--I love me

.

Beauty may only be skin deep, but there is nothing superficial about the complicated relationship that a woman has with her appearance. How you see yourself and how you think other people see you—your body image—is deeply connected to how you feel about yourself.

The effects of a negative body image can be devastating. If you don't like the way you look, you probably don't like the woman you are. And those feelings of worthlessness, self-consciousness, and inadequacy will insinuate their way into nearly every area of your life—into your friendships, your career, your romances, and, most importantly, your relationship with yourself.

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A positive body image is equally powerful. It is not an instant solution to all of life's problems, but a starting point, a spark that can set off a fabulous chain reaction. Loving how you look when you catch a glimpse of yourself in a mirror or store window paves the path of self-love, and with that acceptance comes self-esteem, confidence, and authentic beauty, a radiance that glows from within. A beauty that is more than skin deep.

Sowing the Seeds of Self

Self-admiration giveth much consolation

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--Gertrude Atherton



Looking in the mirror is a startling subjective experience. When facing her reflection, one woman may say to herself, "I wish my hips were smaller," or "My fat hips make me ugly." Or she could say, "My curves make me sexy." In each example, the hips are the same—it's how a woman feels about them that's different. But where do these feelings come from? Whether or not you realize it, you've spent your entire life developing them, honing them, cloning them. Transforming the messages communicated by society, your family, your friends, your rivals, and your enemies into cellular memory.

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Sarah Ban Breathnach
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