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A New Year of Self-Love and Body Freedom

Written by Bridgett Burrick Brown

"To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don't need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Embracing mindfulness with myself and others is something that is important to me -it's how I discern the kind of person I am in the world, and I always want to be the best version of myself. But as I get older and wiser ;) -the definition of what this means and how I get there is changing. More than ever, finding the best version of myself means tuning out the external noise and pressures and really listening to myself.

Our world is saturated with constant messaging telling us how to look, behave, and incessantly pursue more.

Anyone else constantly feeling tired and like their schedules are too busy?

There's an overwhelming pressure to conform to society's predefined notions of success and worthiness, and these influences are everywhere, and it starts when we are young with our family and friends. Then it comes on strong with our media, advertising, and, notably, the increasing impact of social media.

Growing up, I learned very early the role of a caretaker, dedicating years to caring for everyone and anyone before myself. Now, as I redefine beauty and refine what it means to be my best self, I honor the voice inside of me because I have learned that if I abandon myself, I will never feel or be the best version of me! Not only will I not feel like the best version of myself, but I notice, I am often left feeling anxious, exhausted, and confused. I am learning that caring for my needs and wants is a fundamental commitment to my self-respect. And at the end of the day, we cannot effectively caretake anyone if we abandon ourselves.

These days, not only do I take moments to be discerning about how I am in the world, but I also consciously reflect on how various aspects of my life affect me—be it my relationships, the media, or other external influences. As I shift even closer towards self-compassion, I acknowledge that, just like those around me, I, too, deserve nurturing and attention --listening to my authentic voice within is always at the top of my to-do list.

I want us to redefine the narrative that often guides our goals not only in the new year but our entire lives! We often subconsciously listen to all the societal pressures that demand we do more, be "better," and, per usual -- reshape or shrink our bodies to fit unrealistic standards, and from my research at the Beyond Beauty Project, most of us don't even realize we are letting all these message guide our lives!

Instead of fixating on shedding 10 lbs or adding something else to our to-do list as markers of self-improvement, what if we moved towards a journey of healing, self-love, and full embodiment? And how do you sift through this noise amidst the "new year, new you" messages inundating us from advertisers and influencers?

You return to yourself.

You return to your intuition.

You listen to your needs and wants.

You intentionally decide only to take what works for you.

You decide right now to reclaim your body and start reshaping your self-worth by listening to your rules.

If we take the time to stop and ask ourselves what is best for us, we will hear the answer. We hear it in the little voice in our head; we feel it when something makes us feel comfortable ...or uncomfortable or when something tells us we "should" be doing that vs. "hell yes, I want to do that."

In a world that bombards us with images and ideals, urging conformity, especially when it comes to our bodies, it's crucial not to lose sight of what truly matters—how we feel—how we feel about ourselves, our lives, and our happiness. At the Beyond Beauty Project, we encourage you to reject the lies that convince us we need to do more, be 'better,' and measure our worth by the size of our bodies, the smoothness of our skin, or the illusion of perpetual youth. Reclaiming our bodies, being, and self-worth is a soulful rebellion against a culture profiting from our self-doubt.

As we embark on a new year, let us remember that true beauty lies not in conformity but in the unique things that make up each of us. Embracing ourselves, reclaiming our bodies, and genuinely listening to our authentic voices are the keys to embracing our self-worth and beauty within. Here's to a year of self-love, authenticity, and that being beautiful means being ourselves—all the way.


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