We are our worst critics and in doing so there is big chance of losing ourselves in the things we don’t like. I at least did that for long.
I don’t like my body. It is coarse and lacks the fine and delicate features women have. It doesn’t fit how I feel and yet I have to cope with it, as most of the time I am in male mode and if I am out as Liv, I can’t really change that. Obviously there are ways to change some of it, but the core structure isn’t something I can change.
At my coming out, seeing myself with makeup and a wig for the first time, I was overwhelmed. I could only see the woman in front of me. But after that, during the process of accepting myself more and more, I kept seeing things I didn’t like about myself. It was as if instead of looking at a painting from a distance, I kept getting so close I could see the cracks, and strokes in the paint. Being a perfectionist, this was definitely bound to go in the wrong direction, as I really wanted to be happy.
My focus on perfection, made even things I owned should be perfect. A scratch would cause me to be unable to look beyond that. The scratch would stand out, and I would start to like it a little bit less. With other people I am able to see their beauty. But for myself I started to focus on the things I didn’t like. The five o’clock shadow, my build, my hands, feet, so many things that are not perfect. I am very glad my therapist John helped me reframe this.
He told me to look at the scratches, as stories, as memories that added to the object. As elements that made it unique, one of a kind. Like the Japanese art Kintsugi, which literally translated means “golden joinery”. In this art they repair broken pottery with gold. In doing so they are even highlighting the cracks. Just like John said they see this as telling the history of the object rather than hiding it.
I have read articles of scientists searching for when we find faces attractive. They found that while we perceive faces with some symmetry as attractive, perfectly symmetrical faces are seen disconcerting. So in a way following this research, it is imperfections that makes us more attractive.
John urged me to show more love and compassion for myself. To be gentle and let go of judgement. To be proud of what I have done and achieved in life. He helped me reframe my view on myself, accepting and embracing who I am, with all my imperfections. Unlike Kintsugi, I am not looking to accentuate them, but I do accept them as part of who I am and part of my history. Letting go of judgement and the focus on the imperfection, opened up to see the full picture again. He asked me to every morning spend time and say some positive things about myself in the mirror. Now when I look in the mirror as Liv, I see a lovely smile and a glow in my eyes. I see confidence and positive energy.
It helps me accept who I am even further. Yes I dream of having a curvy body that reflects the woman within. But focusing on the memories rather than the imperfection, helps me to feel more confident and loving towards myself. Instead of focusing on how I don’t like my bulky arms, I think back to my youth, when I used to work out with a dear friend. We always had so much fun. It is not that I don’t want to change and move forward, but looking at my imperfections in another way, makes it easier to be in the moment. It makes that I can enjoy more of what I am doing now. The imperfections are part of me, I can get caught up in them, or just see them as part of my story.
I hope that you find some inspiration in this small post. That you find a way to be proud of who you are, what you have achieved and where you are now. Be proud to show who you are, with all your perfect imperfections that make you unique, beautiful and true.