By sharing my experiences and opening up about the beauty and strength I’ve found in my journey, I hope to encourage others to look beyond the surface and embrace the depth, resilience, and authenticity that exists within each of us. After all, life is full of diverse and unexpected moments, and it’s up to us to find the beauty in them, no matter how others may perceive them.
Move On and Get Over It
Have you ever experienced something like showing someone a photo—a vacation memory, a childhood snapshot, or just a moment from your life—and hearing them say, “Hey, you should move on, get over it”? I hope not because that would be absurd, right? No matter how significant or not this picture may seem, it is just a part of our life stories.
You may already know there was a time in my life when I had cancer, and I have some photos of myself with no hair, eyebrows, or eyelashes. When I look at these pictures, I see purity, vulnerability, beauty, openness, acceptance, and resilience. I see the true me shining through this body of mine.
For me, losing all the hair on my body was a beautiful process of self-discovery. Without hiding behind hairstyles and makeup, I felt bare, raw, and beautiful in my authentic truth. Naturally, I faced challenges, pain, and unexpected revelations. But those moments were simply obstacles to overcome, much like any other hurdles I’ve encountered in life.
As chemotherapy stripped my body of its hair and superficial identities, it allowed me to see beyond those boundaries. I saw past the hair and eyelashes and even beyond the beautiful skin enveloping my body. This experience let me acknowledge the beauty and purpose of my body and delve deep within. I felt translucent, light, and glowing from within.
Yet, when some people see these pictures of me, their reactions can be quite different—horror, disgust, fear, discomfort, pity, or confusion. They tell me I should move on, but I was never stuck in the first place. This experience is just a part of my life story. And even though it is a beautifully profound chapter in my life, I have no particular attachment to it. I’m looking at those pictures with the same sentiment as my baby pictures. So, what is it that they’re actually seeing? Could it be their own fears, insecurities, and pain?
Uncovering Hidden Truths in Our Reactions
I understand that we live in a world where beauty is often defined by certain physical attributes, such as having hair and conforming to specific norms. We’re taught these ideals from a young age, and they shape our beliefs and self-worth. When we encounter an image that challenges these ideas, it can be unsettling and stir up various emotions, like fear, confusion, and even sadness.
For some people, the pictures might evoke fears of not being loved, feeling lonely, or dealing with illness, which forces them to face the fragility of life or the vulnerability that comes with confronting a serious health condition. It may remind them of their own mortality or the unpredictable nature of life.
You know, these reactions might also stem from insecurities about their own self-image or how they seek validation through appearance. So, my ability to embrace myself this way, free from the trappings of external beauty standards, can be confusing or confronting for those who have not yet come to terms with their own identities and self-worth.
By delving deeper into their reactions, I’ve gained a better understanding of the complex emotions that arise from our deeply ingrained beliefs about beauty, health, and life itself.
Another thing I understand is that some people might have a difficult time with my pictures because they could be reminded of loved ones who went through a similar predicament in life. Seeing my story might bring back memories of their own experiences and challenges, making it hard for them to appreciate the beauty and strength I’ve discovered to appreciate within myself. This connection to their personal experiences could evoke a wide range of emotions, from sadness and grief to empathy and understanding. I recognize deeply the importance of acknowledging that everyone’s experience is different, and our reactions can be shaped by our unique personal stories.
Discover and Embrace
So, when unexpected emotions come up, how can you navigate those moments? Here are some gentle suggestions to guide you:
- Reflect on your feelings: If something or someone stirs up strong emotions, take a moment to consider why. Could there be deep-rooted beliefs or fears influencing your reaction?
- Observe without judgment: Rather than labeling your thoughts and emotions as good or bad, simply allow them to be and try to understand them. This approach can help you uncover the core of your reactions while fostering self-compassion.
- Focus on your breath: If emotions escalate, shift your attention to your breathing. Taking slow, deep breaths can help you find calm and create space for reflection and understanding.
- Loving-kindness and Just Like You practices: Nourish compassion and empathy for yourself and others with Loving-Kindness meditation and Just Like You meditation.
- Cultivate gratitude: Cherish the experiences and people in your life, even those that challenge you and encourage growth. This mindset helps you appreciate life’s diverse moments and build resilience.
- Communicate consciously: When discussing feelings or reactions with others, listen attentively, speak gently, and share your thoughts honestly and openly.
By embracing these practices in your daily life, you can deepen your understanding of your emotions and reactions, nurture personal growth, and unlock a new level of appreciation for the innate beauty in yourself and others.
When the Mirror Speaks
So, all things considered, I’ve come to realize that each person’s reaction to my photos is a reflection of their own journey, emotions, and experiences. Next time you find yourself wanting to tell someone, “You should move on, get over it,” take a moment to look within yourself. Perhaps there’s something inside you that needs attention or healing. It’s essential to approach these situations with understanding and compassion, recognizing that everyone has their unique perspective shaped by their life stories.
You are what you see, not what you are looking at. By sharing my experiences and opening up about the beauty and strength I’ve found in my experience, I hope to encourage others to look beyond the surface and embrace the depth, resilience, and authenticity that exists within each of us. After all, life is full of diverse and unexpected moments, and it’s up to us to find the beauty in them, no matter how others may perceive them
By exploring our reactions with curiosity and honesty, we can learn more about ourselves and others and uncover hidden truths that help us grow. By weaving mindful practices into our lives, we can develop a deeper understanding and compassion for our emotions, beliefs, and diverse experiences that shape our unique perspectives. So next time you’re faced with a challenging situation or emotion, you can approach it with an open heart and mind – you might just discover something amazing about yourself.
Be Alive 🌱
Love ❤️, Julia
Feel More Connected and Less Alone 💞
GUIDED MEDITATIONS 💗
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