Celebrate the Most Beautiful Person in the World
You wake up. Go about your morning routine: breakfast, coffee, shower, brush your teeth, and then you glance up in the mirror to see what is staring back at you. Beautiful YOU.
You who is about to full-heartedly embark on the day despite the rain and other obstacles in the way. But as you stare into your own eyes, (perhaps with fine lines and wrinkles creeping in day-by-day like mine) what do you say to yourself? Generally, as a whole, we get so bogged down by the daily grind that something seemingly as simple as positive self-talk rarely occurs. And WHEN or IF it does, I will be the first to admit that it is not always the most favorable reflections.
“Whew…well Good Morning Sunshine. You are looking rough today.”
A few months back, my wheels got to churning about how to routinely celebrate one’s true beauty. I just so happened across a blog from a youthful writer and inside-out beauty advocate for girls, Emma Malouff, which begins like this:
“True beauty is so hard to define. The official definition of beauty is: a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight. But I have a different definition for beauty: a combination of qualities, such as confidence, poise, joy, self control, patience, truthfulness, kindness, persistence, and loyalty, that can shine through a person, making them a positive role model for everyone around them.”
After reading Malouff’s take on true beauty, I couldn’t help but agree that beauty is not merely what we can see with our eyes but rather in characteristics that stem much deeper, even to the very core of our individual beings.
Over the years I have learned the favorable impact that my practice of yoga and mindfulness can can have on my ability to reflect positively about myself. However, I still questioned: How do I cultivate this positive thought into my morning routine as if it were a habit just like my coffee, breakfast, shower and brushing my teeth? So began my own 21-day Practice to Habit Challenge and this is how it went.
Day 1: Last night I placed a sticky note on my bathroom mirror to remind me of the habit I am trying to create and maintain. This morning I stood brushing my teeth staring in the mirror. Instinctively, thoughts of the day and things that must get done crept into my head, more so than thoughts of myself. After brushing, I forced myself to stare into the mirror for a whole 60 seconds and repeat to myself “You are beautiful!” A minute felt devastatingly long. I confess I felt no different than previous days.
Day 2: I planned to do the same as Day 1, but this time after my minute was up I asked myself, “what is beautiful?” Throughout the day, I thought about what beauty meant to me.
Day 3: I set my timer for 60 seconds and decided to describe beautiful in words like strong, independent, smart, funny, energetic, compassionate, etc. Not all of the words that came to mind resonated with me personally but I was beginning to better understand what true beauty looked like to me. During the day, I began making mental notes of characteristics I noticed about myself that embodies this beauty.
Day 4: Back to the mirror for a minute. This time I began with things I noticed about myself the day before. “I am loyal, smart, gentle, energetic, funny” I said aloud to myself. A minute seemed to go by fast today. I am now paying close attention to things I love about myself that make be uniquely beautiful.
Day 5: I start just like the previous day attempting to tack on more qualities I am noticing day-by-day. I go a little over 60 seconds because I am lost in thoughts about my beauty. Today, a client told me that he appreciates my passion and how genuine I am. This got me thinking about how others perceive me.
Day 6: I set my timer for 90 seconds today because I want to list the things I think make me beautiful and take some time to recall things others have told me about myself. During the day, I continued to look at myself objectively and listen to those around me. I’m learning more about my true beauty than I could have ever imagined.
Day 7: I’ve decided that a minute and a half of my time for positive-self talk takes little to nothing away from my typical morning routine. In fact, I can sometimes do it as I brush my teeth. Killing two birds with one stone. GO ME! Today is similar to Day 6.
Day 8: 1 minute 30 seconds beckons my timer but something interesting happens. I noticed the lines on my forehead. Given my profession, my face is often used to show empathy and care to my clients. Hmm, caring and empathetic. MIND BLOWN! That is definitely a moment in my life that I will forever recall fondly. I went over time by a good two or three minutes, but it was worth it!
Day 9: On my phone, I set my 90 second timer and started saying aloud “I am empathetic. I am gentle. I am smart. I am energetic.” But I stop myself after a few sentences in. I question the impact saying these things to myself truly has. How does this connect to my true beauty and core values? I go about my day but ponder on that very question a little more.
Day 10: Same as yesterday, I begin by thinking to myself, “I appreciate my energetic fortitude. I value my adaptability.” Believe it or not, this felt better than simply stating what I am. Rephrasing my evolving morning mantra brought me a lot of peace.
Day 11: I am now up to about 2 minutes in time so I go ahead and set my clock as I brush my teeth. I repeat the words I started with the day before and recall things others tell me they like about me. I am still learning!
Day 12: I am looking forward to my time for self-talk in the morning now. I am struggling finding the right words when I talk to myself though. It just feels a bit less organic and genuine than I had hoped when I repeat “I appreciate, I value, etc.” So I thought about other ways to cultivate the feelings I desire from this habit.
Day 13: I set my stopwatch for 2 minutes which has been a good time frame, but this time I play a relaxing song in the background as I talk to myself. Music soothes my soul and makes things feel much warmer today.
Day 14: Today I am still struggling with how to word my sentences to myself. I play my music and set my timer. I experiment a little with ways to say things that make me beautiful: “My friends tell me that I am adventurous,” or “My co-worker says I am professional.” Changing up the wording helped me connect to the things I personally value about myself, as well as those that others see in me that I still want to capture and appreciate.
Day 15: Much like yesterday, I am still playing with wording a bit and enjoying my music.
Day 16: Wording is becoming easier and more fluid but still not fine tuning a bit. The peaceful music is proving to be a great way to toss thoughts about things I have to do during the day and bring me into a more mindful state.
Day 17: I have a 3 minute and 7 second song that is soothing and working well for my time frame. I am now creating a flow of words almost like a step-by-step process that is reflecting positively in how I feel and act during my work day. It is remarkable how this practice is improving my quality of life with little to no change to my typical morning routine.
Day 18: I am focused on words more today because it is important for me to distinguish those things that I feel make me beautiful as well as the qualities others might admire about me. So I took a few minutes while drinking coffee to jot down ideas, this is what I came up with:
Fill in the blank.
- I appreciate my____.
- My friends tell me that I am_____.
- My family tells me that I am_____.
- When I look in the mirror I see my____.
- My Colleges/Clients tell me that I am____.
- I value my______.
- I am_____.
I tried this immediately after, and as I said these sentences to myself, it felt right.
Day 19: I applied what I brainstormed the previous day and it looked like this:
- I appreciate my light-hearted nature.
- My friends tell me that I am adventurous and funny.
- My family tells me that I am caring and vivacious.
- When I look in the mirror I see my determination and resilience.
- My Colleges/Clients tell me that I am passionate and professional.
- I value my adaptability and ever-growing intellect.
- I am BEAUTIFUL!
Along with the calming music, this is proving to be my favorite practice yet.
Day 20: I am dedicated to starting my mind in a healthy state and reflecting on the things that make me truly beautiful.
Day 21: This is something I can see myself continuing long term. I feel more confident, self-assured and self-aware. I am noticing little things about myself and even others that I would not normally hone in on had I not committed to this 21 day challenge. I am excited to maintain this practice for mornings to come and remind myself that beauty is not only skin deep! I actually feel BEAUTIFUL!
What I learned during my 21-day Practice to Habit Challenge
Self-beauty is merely confined by the restraints we allow to be placed on ourselves. In fact, sometimes what is beautiful about true beauty is that even our flaws can make us more beautiful, kinda like my forehead lines. So I challenge you to take time to remind yourself what makes you uniquely beautiful today, tomorrow and the days to come. After all, YOU are the most beautiful person in the world to someone!
– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC