[The title is from the commercial I’ve sited below]
Happy almost-Thanksgiving to those of you who read this and celebrate the day. I ignore all of the negative undercurrents that surround Thanksgiving, and instead focus on GRATITUDE. After all, the day is exactly what we choose make of it, right?
This post is about my self-image and my HAIR.
In previous posts, I’ve written about my deepest insecurity: “I’m not good enough.” This insecurity has plagued my life in many multitudes of ways, including [but definitely not limited to] HOW I SEE MYSELF. Not just what I think about myself, but also literally the way in which I see myself when I look in the mirror. [Check out this amazing Dove commercial which shows the difference between how we see ourselves and how others see us]
I have watched that commercial before, and when I just re-watched it, I still cried. I think it’s an incredibly powerful message…and definitely one that I’d benefit from taking to heart.
I am more beautiful than I think.
Growing up, I used to get complimented on my looks pretty often. To the point where I was 3 years old and when someone told me I was pretty, I responded, “I know.” I still think about that little 3 year old, so clear and so CONFIDENT about her beauty [although perhaps not very humble about it…]. In the years that followed, I slowly stopped accepting compliments, and would usually deflect compliments about my looks with a, “tell my parents that” or a “yay for good genes!” I rarely let the compliments into my heart. Because I didn’t believe that they were true, or if I did believe that they were true, I didn’t think that they had anything to do with more than who my parents were.
But here’s a weird paradox: I KNEW that I was beautiful. Based on 28 years of feedback and double-takes, getting hit on and complimented profusely…I knew that I was beautiful. But for a long long time I didn’t think that I was. I KNEW I was, but didn’t THINK I was. Paradoxical, right? Well, either that, or it’s just plain Crazy.
In the last few years I have been embracing my beauty, both inner and outer. And that combination, to me, has made the biggest difference. Acknowledging my INNER beauty, the light that I shine in the world…the part of my beauty that isn’t necessarily controlled by science & genes, but is what I think of as being completely 100% ME. The Me that I’ve become throughout my 28 years of looking a certain way.
Here’s what I have learned: my inner beauty lets my outer beauty be truly seen. When I am showing up by being my Authentic Self and am focused on personal development, my inner light bursts through and my outer beauty shines. And when I’m not taking care of myself and am in a bad space within myself, that also shows on the outside.
In reading The Four Agreements, I’ve really been working on that second agreement [which I mentioned toward the end of this post]: Don’t take Anything Personally. It’s an interesting concept, and what I’VE taken it to mean is this: when I’m clear on who I am and how I’m showing up in the world, compliments will mean nothing to me. Now, don’t confuse compliments with feedback [as I used to do]…I love and always appreciate open & honest feedback. But when I get to the day when somebody complimenting me doesn’t affect my day — I’ll be thrilled.
You may be wondering why, so let me explain. When I wear clothes for ME, when I take care of my body for ME, when I wear my hair a certain way for ME, and etc. only for ME…then in my mind, I’ll have reached true freedom. I won’t be worried about what other people are thinking of me anymore. If they like my clothes, great! If they don’t like my clothes, great! I’m not wearing my clothes for you, I’m wearing them for ME…so if I like my clothes, then that’s all that matters!
Ok, that might’ve sounded bratty, depending on what tone of voice you read my words in, but that is not my intention. I’m basically saying that I want to be happy and confident in myself. Never in a way that’s disrespectful or rude, just in a way that’s about me be authentically and confidently ME!
Which leads me to my next topic: hair. Hair, hair, hair. I don’t like my hair. Or rather, I haven’t accepted or embraced my hair…yet. I have a myriad of complaints about my hair: it’s too thick, it’s too frizzy, it’s too BLAH, it has a life of its own, etc. Everyone around me seems to disagree, but I tell myself that it’s because they don’t KNOW my hair.
Well, ladies and gentleman, I’ve decided to step WAY far outside of my comfort zone to “get to know” my hair better…and I’m doing that by getting a sidecut. What’s a sidecut, you ask? Oh! Let me explain: it’s when I shave the side my head!
Excited, yet? I AM. And here’s why: I was inspired by my friend Haley to get this hairdo when she came home from a trip to Israel sporting a fresh sidecut. She told me that part of the reason why she did it was to let go of her attachment to her hair. In looking at her and talking to her, I thought two things: 1) BADASS and 2) SUPER BADASS.
I loved her reasons for doing it, and I also think it looks super sexaaaaay. Sooooo, I “decided” to get one too [in a vacuum where people outside of my closest circle basically didn’t exist] that day that I talked about it with Haley.
But guess how long it has taken for me to actually decide [in the real world] to do it? Almost 6 months. Why? Because as soon as I decided I wanted to do it, I immediately went into “what are other people going to think?” mode. And I’ve spent most of the last 5.5 months in that place. Whenever my innermost ME screams out “Just do it already! You know you want to!” my Crazy yells back “What are people going to think of you?! What if they think it’s ugly?! What if they think you look ridiculous?!”
I’ve spent so much time and energy in my life worrying about what other people will think, and as a result I’ve chosen to do & not do a lot of things that I wouldn’t or would’ve done if I was clear on who I am and what I stand for.
So I’m taking a stand. Now. With my hair. And also in life outside of my hair.
I’m happy to say that with my hair situation, I’m finally at this place with my decision: I WANT TO DO THIS! So it doesn’t matter ONE BIT what other people think of my choice. All that matters is that I want to do it!
[There are always some underlying other statements that go along with the statement of my doing what I want, and those are “and it isn’t hurting anybody and it’s not actively disrespectful to anybody.” I say “actively” disrespectful because my intention is NOT to be disrespectful…how other people choose to take my actions is on them.]
It’s in situations like this that I feel SO empowered by not caring. So FREE! And it’s all just by being so clear in my choice.
HOW FREAKING COOL IS THAT?! Squeeeee!
Now…whether or not I’lllike it remains to be seen! But I’ll surely give you my honest opinion on the matter once I’ve had it done.
Geez, who would’ve thought that a decision about a hair cut would be so integral on my path of personal development?! I definitely didn’t realize how big of a leap this would end up being, but now I’m clear that it’s a huge deal for me. And a big step towards truly embracing my Me. AND I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT IT!!! WEEEE!
I’ll be posting about The Cut after I have it done this weekend!!! [update: click here to read about The Cut]