If you’ve been here a while you know that every year I like to dive deep into Shadow Season. Like, let’s hold NOTHING back deep! And as I was thinking about what to incorporate into my upcoming class content, I got the perfect idea for this blog – to show you 6 ways to confront the shadow of beauty. If you’re just looking at the title you may be thinking, “What in the world does the shadow have to do with beauty” or, “What could possibly be wrong with being beautiful?” One reason it’s so hard to see or wrap our heads around is that the shadow side of beauty has become the norm. It’s normal to judge ourselves, pick out flaws in the mirror, and on the opposite side of the spectrum, be entirely too vain about our looks. So here’s my take on how to acknowledge the shadow and take a more mindful approach to beauty.
6 Ways to Confront the Shadow of Beauty
1) Own up to judging others based on looks
It would be ridiculous to suggest you stop judging others based on appearances. It’s probably not even possible for most of us. Judging is that ingrained in human behavior. But, you can be aware of it and own it. Anytime you honestly acknowledge something you’re doing, the potential for change arises. So, before you set a firm intention to stop judging others based on how pretty or ugly they appear, start by paying attention to when and how often your beauty judge comes out. Really listen to that inner, and sometimes outer, voice as it criticizes, shames, and makes fun of how people look. Nature’s “survival of the fittest” battles are very present in everyday city life. Looking at another woman and focusing on her flaws is you trying to elevate your status. It’s normal to compare yourself to others and the ego loves to feel superior, but you can choose how much power you give to this habit. When we judge someone else as less attractive, we’re exercising our arrogance muscles by proving we’re better. It’s always about YOU and when you really get that, the judging game changes.
2) Realize what you see in the media isn’t real
I’ll be the first to say I spend a lot of time on Instagram. It’s so easy to lose track scrolling through post after post. And I can admit sometimes it makes me feel creative and ready to start my next project, and sometimes it makes me feel like I’m not doing enough. And, it’s not just Instagram that can make you feel this way. It’s every billboard, commercial, movie, TV show. I mean how many shows have a female character who gets a makeover and then suddenly her life does a complete 180 for the better? A ton. Social networks and the media, in general, make it all too easy to believe that this is the normal way of life, but it isn’t. Make a note every time you start comparing yourself to someone online or in a picture. Remember that this isn’t real. The picture in that magazine is photoshopped and the person on Instagram is only showing a highlight reel of the good stuff, not the bad. If you find yourself feeling jealous or making comparisons, try to shift towards feelings of inspiration instead. You can be inspired to walk more and exercise or wear your hair a new way. Be kind to yourself, and don’t get caught up in trying to achieve a beauty standard that isn’t real
3) Take the ego down a notch
We’ve all been there, those moments when our egos are so big they could fill a room. Now, there’s nothing wrong with having some confidence, but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about being vain and superficial. You are not too pretty to respect the people around you, and you’re not too gorgeous to put in the work. If you find yourself rolling your eyes or scoffing at others, you may have symptoms of an inflated ego. We are all equals here. And besides, when you’re conceited and rude to others they aren’t going to catch you when you fall from your pedestal.
4) Don’t be afraid of a little ego
We did not come into human form to be egoless. Ego is part of the package, but it’s easy, especially in spiritual circles, to blame it and then attempt to deny or get rid of it. A healthy ego is a GOOD thing! If you were meant to lose your self-identity, you wouldn’t have been born in the first place. We can all agree that too much ego causes all kinds of problems, but I’m suggesting you appreciate its spiritual purpose – yes, the ego is part of spirituality. Your ego gives you a unique personal identity with special gifts and talents so you can fulfill your life’s purpose. Beauty and appearance are part of this package and a resource that can be used just like creativity or determination. If one of your special gifts is beauty, be proud of it and share it, but don’t get too attached. Just like everything of the material realm, it will change.
5) Start defining beauty on your own terms
Take a minute to think about it – where did your current definition of beauty or desirability come from? Was it your family? Cultural background? Social media and the dating scene? How do you feel about it? If the beliefs you have about how you or anyone else should look feel unrealistic, unattainable or simply makes you feel bad, it’s probably time to redefine what you think beauty actually is. Beauty as a concept can have limitless meanings, and your own opinions about it can change as often as you want. There’s no one ideal – it’s totally subjective and always shifting. Remember when glasses were considered nerdy and uncool, and now they’re stylish and distinctive? Or when “nerdy” itself was an insult? It’s currently a compliment! But that could all change again by next month and get replaced by a whole new set of what’s hot and what’s not. So why continue to chase trends that make you feel like you’re perpetually missing the mark? Your thoughts and feelings about beauty can and should evolve with the rest of you. You can’t fall short of something that grows and changes along with you, especially when you’re the one defining it. So let your heart and mind open to an expanding concept of beauty that can hold you and everyone else lightly and with acceptance.
6) Stop hating on age
Let’s face it – most of us don’t look forward to getting older, and pop culture, the media and even the people in our lives can make us feel like aging means becoming unattractive, insignificant, and even invisible. This is not a global opinion – there are many parts of the world that revere and celebrate aging as a movement towards greater wisdom, personal power, community contribution, and a deeper level of beauty that comes from the richness of lived experience. As long as you continue to stay alive, you WILL age. It’s inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be a source of dread. You may not be able to control your physical youth, but you can absolutely feed and nurture your inner youthfulness! Vitality is the golden ticket here. It’s about actively engaging with your life. Embrace new experiences, seek out opportunities for learning and personal development, lovingly care for your body, and welcome new friendships and social connections. Open up instead of shutting down or settling in. Don’t let aging convince you to fall to the periphery of life – you are the main event! Your excitement and passion for the adventure of living can give you a glow that no “miracle” skin serum can touch.
Your Monthly Cosmic Forecast🌛🌝🌜
Libra’s on its way and this Venus-ruled sign is paying attention to appearances. It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. During these next few weeks, ask yourself, “What would Venus do?” Here’s some of the cosmic activity you can look forward to in September:
September 13 – Full Moon in Pisces: How are you manifesting love? When the Moon is full in Pisces, we feel our capacity for compassion and ability to love without expecting anything in return. With Pisces, there are no limits, especially in Love. Is your heart open?
September 14 – Mercury Enters Libra: While Mercury transits Libra, try communicating visually. If you usually say it or write it, give something else a try – like drawing, sharing a photo, or even giving an object. See if you can get your point across without words.
September 14 – Venus Enters Libra: Bring out your charm, Goddesses! When Venus transits Libra, beauty opens doors and a pleasant, cooperative attitude wins over domination every time. Cultivating the ability to truly work with others is a life skill you’ll never regret mastering.
September 18 – Saturn Direct: After almost five months retrograde, Saturn resumes forward motion, nudging us all to get it in gear and act on those promises and commitments we’ve made to ourselves and others. The time for thinking about what you “should” do is over. Get to doing it.
September 21 – Jupiter Square Neptune: We talk about our Highest Truth a lot here at SG. Personal truth is personal and just because it’s true for you doesn’t mean it’s true for everyone else. This Jupiter-Neptune square challenges us to resolve the tension in differing beliefs. Let’s not spend so much time focusing on what separates us and put our energy into what unites us. Whether we like it or not, we’re all in this together.
September 23 – Sun Enters Libra: Welcome to Libra season! Libra’s known as the interior decorator of the zodiac, so take some of that energy and see about redesigning your own life. It could be as dramatic as a complete wardrobe overhaul or as small as moving the items around in your bedroom. Whatever it takes to shift the flow so it looks and feels better.
September 28 – New Moon in Libra: There’s no better time than New Moon to replace old negative habits with new positive ones. With this Moon in Libra, let’s pay attention to those seemingly external disturbances. “If you spot it, you got it!” Start a new cycle of owning your projections and you’ll be amazed at how that mirror changes.
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My Favorites for September
Chakra: Heart. Located over your physical heart, the Heart Chakra is known as the seat of love and is the center of your body’s energy system. When your Heart Chakra is aligned you can love yourself and others openly, and feel that love. This is the chakra to focus on if you feel disconnected or unable to give and receive warmth and affection. A healthy Heart Chakra shows up as happiness, kindness, forgiveness, generosity, and compassion for humanity.
Tarot: The Devil XV. Though not a card traditionally associated with beauty, The Devil gets to the core of beauty’s shadow because it urges us to look at the parts of ourselves that cause us shame, guilt, pangs of inadequacy, and sometimes even disgust. This card encourages you not to get hung up on them, but to acknowledge they are simply part of what makes you a whole, multifaceted human being. The key here is being aware of them and understanding how they get triggered so you can make choices from an empowered place. That obsession with how the people around you look, the addiction to makeup or diet products, the body dysmorphia that makes you want to hide under a tent of baggy clothing – it’s okay. Just see it, give yourself permission to not feel so great in the moment, then remember that you have the power to lift yourself up and out of that lower vibration. The Devil reminds you to own ALL of who you are. After all, your shadow is also where your passion, creativity, and sexy magic live. It’s raw potential.
Spirit Animal: Swan. In Ted Andrews’ Animal Speak book, the Swan represents “Awakening the True Beauty and Power of the Self.” We’ve almost all read or heard stories of this snow-white elegant bird, such as the ugly duckling who grows into a graceful, gorgeous swan. With its long neck, the swan is a symbol of the bridge between above and below and within and without. Swan Medicine teaches us to recognize and honor the balance of inner and outer beauty. When swan comes to you in nature, oracle cards, or in a dream, you’re being called to see the beauty in yourself and others, beyond the surface and society’s standards.
Oils: Rose, helichrysum, geranium, rosehip, calendula, chamomile
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