Embracing Beauty From Head to Toe: A Step in the Right Direction {05.10.11}

I used to hate my toes. I know it sounds odd, but I was so convinced they were ugly that I wouldn’t even wear sandals during my early 20s. Truthfully, I wasn’t really fond of anyone’s feet, but I thought mine were particularly hideous.

And then I had a baby. Like many infants, he fell head over heels for his tiny toes. He stared at them in awe, wiggled and kicked them, touched them and tasted them. Even I thought his itty bitty toes were undeniably adorable.

One night, while giving our firstborn a bath, my husband and I lovingly pointed out parts of our sweet baby’s body and decided which gene pool they came from. “Where did you get that thick head of hair? Mommy! Where did you get those big brown eyes? Daddy!”

When we got to our baby’s toes, there was no question: they looked like miniature replicas of mine, without the polish! And that’s when I had an epiphany. How could I love every inch of this baby, I wondered, without accepting and embracing every inch of me? His toes, like mine, were perfectly formed in the womb to help him walk, run, and dance. If I hoped to teach my children to love themselves, inside and out, I knew I had to live by example. Fretting about my feet was not serving me and it certainly wouldn’t help them.

That summer, I discovered the relaxing power of a pedicure and the sweet comfort of sandals. How had I deprived myself of those little luxuries for so long? Don’t get me wrong; it was nerve-wracking at first to step out in open-toed shoes. But I realized pretty quickly that it was wasted energy; no one seemed to be concerned with my toes but me.

We all have parts of our bodies we’ve deemed to be less-than-beautiful. And it feels perfectly natural – even a relief – to gripe about our thunder thighs or flabby arms. In fact, scientists have coined the term “fat talk” to describe the discussions female friends commonly have about their bodies. Research shows that when girlfriends get together, once one person complains about her appearance, all the others typically chime in and complain about their own bodies. In addition to undermining our self-confidence, studies show fat talk also normalizes women’s dissatisfaction with their bodies. Ever known a woman who feels completely comfortable in her own skin? They’re a rare breed.

Negative self-talk chains you to old beliefs, drains your energy and convinces you that your story – like the one in which I thought my toes were ugly – is true. Rewrite the story, concluding that every bit of you is beautiful. It may be hard to believe at first, but practice makes perfect. I’m a work in progress. So, what part of you will you learn to love today?

Note: This is one of the essays you’ll find in my collection of Beauty Lessons – pieces I’ve written over the years for my site and others’ about honoring beauty, love and magic.


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Liv Lane

Liv Lane

As an intuitive adviser, author & teacher, I help brave-hearted women illuminate their paths to purpose through powerful classes, individual readings, workshops and writings. This blog, started in 2006, chronicles my journey and offers light for yours. Thrilled you're here!
Liv Lane