A transformational moment, which changed my relationship with beauty forever, happened when I looked through a camera lens and saw my naked body. I was taking part in Christine Benjamin’s i Of The Beholder photography project. Initially, I thought I was participating to empower and support other women, in having a kinder relationship towards their bodies. However, my attention did not go to the huge scar and empty space where my right breast used to be. My eyes went directly to my remaining breast and the rest of my body, finding flaw upon flaw. I was shocked and devastated by my reaction. I cried for being so mean to myself my whole life, and I wept for every woman who has ever thought she was not enough. I tell that story, and the huge impact it has had on my life, in the first chapter of Third Time Lucky: A Creative Recovery. Those tears helped to uncover a story line that pulses through the veins of every modern woman.
Commercial societies feed off the notion that beauty is a commodity whose value increases when women believe they are “not good enough.” We listen to popular culture’s distortions about how to become beautiful. But true beauty is innate, silently and patiently yearning for each of us to turn inward, to reject the “according to” mentality, and to get curious about what makes each of us unique and magnificent.
There is no time for self-hate; there is too much hatred in the world. We are in dire straights. Now is the time for each of us to become compassionate witnesses; time for us to soften our gazes and open our hearts to the beauty and light shining within; time for us to cultivate self-acceptance, self-compassion, and ultimately self-love—what some call sacred feminism, which includes men too.
This is not just a woman’s issue. It doesn’t matter what part of the country I travel to, where people come from, how rich, attractive, talented, or educated they are. Everyone I meet through my work struggles with their own self-worth.
It is time to get it: you are already enough.
You are worthy.