Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Gratitude 1/2/08 - Seeing Ourselves

I'm lucky -- and grateful -- to have some people in my life who remind me that I am a good person. It's easy sometimes to get caught up in the inner voices so many of us have that tell us we are not good enough, or not smart enough, or not pretty enough, or whatever nonsense our inner parts foist on us.

Today's Daily Om addresses this topic in a useful way.

You Are Beautiful
Seeing Ourselves

Many of us do not take the time to notice and acknowledge how beautiful we are as humans. We may be great lovers of beauty, seeing it in the people, places, and things around us, while completely missing it in ourselves. Some of us feel that it is vain to consider our appearance too much, or we may find that when we look at ourselves, all we see are imperfections. Often we come to the mirror with expectations and preconceived notions about beauty that blind us from seeing ourselves clearly. As a result, we miss the beauty that is closest to us, the beauty we are. Sometimes we see our beauty in a shallow way, noticing how well we are conforming to social norms, but failing to see the deeper beauty that shines out from within and that will continue to shine regardless of how we measure up to society’s ideal.

If we can cut through all these obstacles and simply appreciate how beautiful we are, we free up so much energy. We also become less dependent upon the opinions and feedback of others since we become our own greatest admirers. Many of us know that after a great yoga practice or a long, deep meditation, we are more able to see how beautiful we are. This is because we have released some of our baggage, thus unburdening ourselves and summoning forth the spirit that dwells within us. It is the heady combination of the divine spirit and the human body that conveys beauty more accurately than anything else.

To keep ourselves in touch with our own beauty, we can surround ourselves with images that reflect our beauty back to us—photos of a relative or child who has our eyes, images of teachers who embody spirit, or self-portraits that capture our essence in a way that allows us to see ourselves anew. The best way to keep ourselves in touch with our own beauty is to keep looking deeply into our own souls and opening our eyes to the human being we see in the mirror every day.

It can be useful to look at our faults, since that is the only way we can correct them. But if that is all we focus on, we lose sight of our inner and/or outer beauty. Meditation is a good way to become more objective about these things, partly because this is a good way to distance ourselves from those critical inner voice. However we do it, though, we need to be able to see our own beauty and to accept that as a part of who we are.

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