The conditioning I received as a teenager was that my value as a human being and woman was dependent on my *beauty* and sex appeal.
My purpose, so the story went, was to successfully attract as much male attention as possible.
Getting that attention felt good if it came from the ones I wanted.
Not getting it OR getting it from those I didn't want it from (ie. work-men on the street who passed comment or wolf-whistled as I walked past) felt horrible.
Those who got the most attention were to be admired or envied. They were the lucky, pretty, sexy ones.
I wasn't one of them. I was the intellectual, sensitive, sporty one. Qualities that didn't attract boys, nor the support of my family.
With a 16 year-old daughter who reports back to me from the "front line" and the experience of holding space for women for 16 years, I see this narrative still prevails.
And I just want to call it for the bullshit that it is.
Look around you at the messages in magazines, tv, retail, social media, society and culture.
Notice the pressure on women to conform to a particular notion of beauty and turn themselves into pleasing objects with fetishised body parts.
Question the £millions spent on hair, skin, body, nails, cosmetic surgery and what this says about your/our values.
Are the products you use toxic? To you, the environment? Are they tested on animals? Do you care?
Look at the tendency to compare yourself or envy and admire others for what is on the surface, but not in the deep.
Do you really believe that your *beauty* is what will determine your happiness, success, quality of relationships and well-being in life? (My 16 years' working with women tells me not).
That message is a lie that disempowers you. Seeded through your ancestors and hammered home right at your blossoming into womanhood with menarche.
It is a reversal of the truth that blinds you to your innate radiance and value, teaching you to give away your power and require external validation to feel whole.
Setting you up to be a beggar for love, a malleable consumer of things, until such time as you finally take a stand and dismiss this lie from your consciousness once and for all.
The truth is, dear woman, you are inherently worthy, radiant, magnificent, stunning, erotically alive and supremely power-full. You don't need to acquire or paint such qualities on. In fact, you really can't.
Whatever veneer you are wearing will quickly fade. Though it's possible to spend your life dancing in the illusion, your heart and soul will never be content. Your gifts never fully expressed. Your insecurity repeatedly tripping you up.
The true gifts of the feminine are sorely needed right now in our world. In your embrace of this much deeper and eternal essence, you are beautiful from the inside out. And age, size, shape, colour or creed has nothing to do with it.
Resolve now to release the limiting beliefs and imprint of comparison and competition that keeps you separate not only from your self and your sisters, but from true connection with your brothers too.
It is high time.
My Dancing the Goddess practice and Awakening Shakti online programme are both effective pathways for you to step into embodied self-love and empowerment. I also offer one-to-one mentoring for women wishing to deeply embrace and embody their Divine Feminine essence.