There is often a common thread that runs between conversations I have with clients from young women to those in the latter years of their lives - a feeling of low self-worth. Although this may not be true of everyone, it is certainly true of the majority. Low self-worth rears its ugly head in many forms. I call it ugly because it is often related to how women feel about the way they look. Even ‘beautiful people’ seem to feel ugly. The term that has now been popularised in tabloid magazines and newspapers ‘body dysmorphia’ seems prevalent.
Low self-worth, as we know, isn’t just limited to looks, but includes a whole range of other areas of our lives too; income, job status, how our partners, family members or friends make us feel, unfulfilled life expectations, and the list goes on and on. For some, it is a complete mystery as to why they feel so worthless.
From a societal point of view there are many factors that can feed into this. Particularly for women, but on the increase for men, is the whole body image thing that is compounded by the media. Having images continually thrown at us of young, beautiful body perfect women (and men) can significantly distort our idea of what real beauty is about.
I wonder what would happen if we put the same emphasis on ‘inner beauty’. How beautiful would we be if all our inner thoughts and feelings were exposed to the world? How beautiful would we look? If we all paid as much attention to our inner beauty as we do to our outer beauty I wonder what impact this would have on the world; on our relationships with each other, both on a personal and global level and on our individual sense of self-worth.
I think this is part of what counselling and psychotherapy is about. A process of untangling our thoughts, feelings and behaviours to get clarity about who we are as individuals and what we feel life is really about. Maybe some of our deepest, most beautiful thoughts and feelings are buried by all the other stuff that says we’re worthless. I believe the experience of seeing and tapping into all that inner beauty can spill out in a powerful way into our outer worlds. The consequence of increased self respect, can also enable us to maintain the boundaries we need to keep us protected from the negative messages coming from unhealthy relationships, and the never ending hounding from the media that we’re not good enough.
How about getting to know, tending to and nourishing your inner beauty, so it can shine out – so you can be beautiful from the INSIDE OUT.