Finding Beauty Beyond the Voice

Photo by  Ashlie Woods

Photo by Ashlie Woods

How often do you listen to the voice in your head? Like really, stop and listen. Are the things that it's saying kind, motivating, and confident? Or are they negative and degrading? I heard an interesting perspective on this in a recent yoga class. The instructor invited us to take the things the voice is saying and make it about someone else. Would you say to another person what the voice is telling you? You're Ugly. You can't do that. No one likes you. Chances are you wouldn't say those things to another person, so why do you say them to yourself? 

For most of my life, I believed the critical voice in my head that told me I was not beautiful or worthy. I was constantly trying to make myself look good (hair, makeup, style...aka put together) so I could pretend I was confident and accepting of myself. 

I hit a low point in the Fall of 2014. There were a lot of changes happening around me; I was approaching the big 3-0; and I wasn't where I thought I would be at that stage in my life. I was depressed and felt little to no self-worth. I continued down this path for many months.

At the beginning of each year, rather than making resolutions, I select one word to define my year. In 2015, I chose the word freedom. I was tired of being unhappy and knew something needed to change. Through the encouragement of some of my close confidants, I started seeing a therapist and enrolled in a 3-month Effectiveness seminar through Landmark Worldwide. Things were starting to look up. I had a breakthrough in my first session with my therapist and started breaking down barriers that I had been holding onto so tightly for most of my life. 

Freedom was becoming more and more present for me. Isn't it funny how the universe responds when you speak something into existence? Fast forward to August of 2015 when my transformation and freedom really took a turn. I had seen a post by my dear friend Ashlie Woods about offering a Celebration photo shoot. The voice in my head (which was usually pretty critical and mean) nudged me and told me to do it. 

Photo by  Ashlie Woods

Photo by Ashlie Woods

That photo shoot and experience changed my life. Ashlie held a creation call with me prior to our shoot to define 3 words that I wanted my photos to embody. I chose Freedom, Joy, and Beauty. We also discussed style and a location. I had always had a vision of having my pictures taken in an abandoned warehouse. Ashlie found the perfect building on the outskirts of downtown Dallas. Although the building was not abandoned (rather it was available for lease), the doors were barred. We did what any logical person would do and found a way in (aka crawled through a small opening in the barred door). 

The photo shoot was extremely freeing and fun. Ashlie is an incredible coach and artist. She brought my vision to life and exceeded my expectations. For the first time, I was able to fully grasp my beauty - both inside and out. And without sounding narcissistic, I think my photos show a girl full of joy, freedom, and beauty. 

2015 was the start of my transformation and has played a huge part in who I am today. And while I still have that negative voice in my head, I am better equipped to know what is chatter vs. what is real. 

Do you listen to what your voice is telling you? And do you believe it when it tells you you're not good enough, beautiful, or capable? 

I invite you to try on making that voice about another person. Does it change the meaning for you? Can you allow yourself to let those thoughts pass and instead tap into your inner beauty and find your full self-expression?