Note: The religious references in this are based on my understanding, which may be incorrect, and if so, my apologies. This is not intended to offend anyone’s religion or beliefs.
What if you woke up every morning simply knowing that you no matter what size or shape, you were beautiful? What if, when you looked in the mirror, you did not see flaws but only the good, and your thoughts were not about how you looked but how you could make your inner self as beautiful as the outer self? What would that feel like?
This is essentially unheard of among most women I know, but when I talked to Sara Schwartz at the Portland branch of the organization Slim Peace, she said that for the Muslim women she had met, this is the norm.
She said that Muslim women believed that God had made them beautiful, and that they did not have the same body image issues as the other women. This made me curious, so I looked up more information about Islam, I found an article about the hijab, which included this thought by Saba M. Baig: “How beautiful I think of myself and knowing that Allah finds me beautiful makes me feel beautiful.”
For most women I know, this concept of considering ourselves beautiful because we were made that way is likely hard to grasp. So many instead instantly think of the negative aspects of their body, how much weight they believe they should lose, how unsightly certain parts are, etc.
I thought it would be wonderful to start thinking this way myself. The only problem is that I don’t believe in god, or any deity. Then I remembered an entry in my journal from the summer of 2010:
I once tried to shun the physical world, live only in my head, but no longer. My body ties me to this world, its atoms composed of stardust and the molecules of my ancestors, and this is all to be celebrated, not ignored.
And I realized that I don’t have to subscribe to a particular religion in order to believe that I have been made beautiful. I understand that for some, the belief in a deity creating them this way is very meaningful and powerful, but this approach does not have to be restricted to them. We can all find our own way of coming to that idea.
For me, thinking of evolution, of the sheer wonder of my body, and knowing that we are all comprised of stardust is enough for me to know that I am made beautiful.
I’m now going to try keeping that in mind when I think of myself, and I invite you to join me, in whatever way works for you. Let’s see what it feels like to consider that we are lovely by design.