Growing up, it always felt easier to hate myself than to love myself. I was just a little too pudgy. My face constantly broke out. The boys I liked rejected me. I had only a few close friends. I was always desperately trying to change myself into someone who would be more lovable. I devoured books and took on the personalities of the main characters, looking for myself in each of them. I enjoyed studying theatre because it meant I could be someone else entirely — someone, I thought, who was much better than me. It seemed to come down to my appearance — if only I was more beautiful, everyone would like me and I would be happy. I picked at my face daily trying to scratch all the acne away. I coated myself in cover-up and accentuated my breasts in an effort to distract. But it never worked. I was keenly aware of my flaws and had a feeling that everyone else was, too.
As I got older, my acne calmed down some but never went away entirely. I became very cynical about love — I didn’t actually believe it existed, never wanted to be in a committed relationship, and used sex as a way to garner attention. I definitely didn’t love myself. College was the first time I was ever actually pursued by guys — which back then was my personal measure of my self-worth. Even though my confidence was boosted, it was still only barely there. I couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror, oddly grateful for my near-sightedness as it kept me from getting a detailed look at my face. And of course, that extra fifteen pounds never seemed to go away. But I was dating my now-husband at the time, who took a nutrition course and insisted we shift our eating and exercise habits. I agreed, reluctantly at first, but the Capricorn (overachiever) in me took over and, eventually, I was treating my body better than I ever had. Because I was really into weight training, I stretched often. Everyone told me that I’d love yoga but I never could muster the confidence to go. I also knew deeply in my soul that I would love meditation (having suffered from anxiety through my teens) but just couldn’t get around to doing it — for no reason at all, except my own laziness. And so I worked on my physical body for a couple years, ping-ponging between loving myself and hating myself. A cleaner diet and regular exercise cleared up my skin a great deal, though I still broke out horribly on my period and from time to time. Even with the somewhat clearer skin, something always felt like it was missing. I didn’t know it then, but it was the self-love. I had been practicing the “fake it until you make it” method for self-love and confidence so long, I didn’t realize that I still didn’t really, truly love myself. It was entirely conditional and still largely based on my appearance.
Luckily, I wound up working on an organic farm as part of the tomato crew. All Summer long, amidst harvesting tomatoes for ten hours a day, we talked. I learned about manifestation, reiki, Wayne Dyer, moontime rituals + practices, yoga, and so much more from my co-workers. We listened to podcasts, shared books, and ate every single ripe-on-the-vine tomato there was to eat. At the end of the season, I began practicing asana yoga regularly. And very, very reluctantly, I attempted to meditate. I started with a twenty minute manifestation meditation from Wayne Dyer, but just wasn’t excited about it and, because of that, it didn’t work for me. Looking to invoke abundance in my life, I stumbled upon a three minute Kundalini Yoga prosperity meditation and felt a strange pull. At the time, my husband and I were back in Texas, living with my mom. I made very little money from my Etsy store, was killing myself doing volunteer work for an online community in hopes of someday earning money for it, and spent my days bored. I figured I had no excuse not to spend three minutes of the day meditating on increased prosperity. So I did.
Within weeks, I had an opportunity to attend a Kundalini Yoga retreat and, through the meditation, I manifested the money to make it happen. After the retreat, spending a week steeped in the teachings, I had accessed enough energy within myself to commit to a Sadhana, a daily spiritual practice. I chose a practice that was well-known to make you radiant, and, with hopes of becoming beautiful, set out on the path that has led me to this moment. I didn’t become beautiful, because I realized that I cannot become something I already am. Instead, I cleared away all of the subconcious, self-sabotaging, programmed bullshit that had been blocking my light and keeping me small for my entire life. And today, I absolutely experience myself as more beautiful as a direct result of this practice. But, like I said, it didn’t make me beautiful. It made me me — which is inherently beautiful. Learning to see my own true beauty was the path to loving myself for real, no more faking it! Witnessing my own divinity, grace, beauty, magnetism, radiance, wisdom, strength, intution, and vibrancy on a daily basis (through my Sadhana) has given me this gift, the one thing that was missing for so long. Of course, like all things in life, it’s a practice that I work with moment to moment. Thankfully, though, I have the tools, wisdom, and energy to stay on this golden path and in love with who I truly am.
“Your wealth will increase, your values will increase, your projection will increase, if you simply love to live, just love yourself and live yourself.” Yogi Bhajan
I particularly love this powerful mirror meditation practice. It works to self-hypnotize into a state of compassion and love for our divine, complex beings. We are already hypnotized by our past experiences, familial and societal conditioning, and media — this practice allows us to break that spell and re-wire ourselves to see the inherent beauty we all possess.
PRACTICE :: Stand naked, in front of a full-length mirror. Stare into your own eyes. Repeat the mantra, “I am bountiful, blissful, beautiful. Bountiful, blissful, beautiful am I.” Practice for one to eleven minutes daily. I personally use this practice in my skincare ritual, repeating the mantra whilst massaging Frankincense Beauty Balm into my skin with a Rose Quartz Gua Sha to promote radiance, healing, and self-love at all levels.
"If you feel just one thing in your life—that life is nothing but the gift of God—you are divine and the most courageous person. Try it! Try it as a thought. The moment you feel that life is a gift, you’ll become prosperous." Yogi Bhajan