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Embracing Our Imperfections

There will never be a better time than now to embrace your beautiful imperfections, like the well-loved Raggedy Ann doll.

“ When my daughter was young her favorite doll was a Raggedy Ann and she fell asleep each night rubbing her nose against the doll’s cloth face. Over time the face became threadbare and the cotton stuffing bulged from the splits in the fabric. The painted features faded. One day I suggested that it might be time to replace the Raggedy Ann with a newer version. My daughter was horrified. ‘ If I had an accident and my face got ruined would you get a new girl? I love her how she is.’ My child’s wisdom humbled me. We did ‘fix’ the precious doll with masking tape and an indelible magic marker. So Raggedy Ann stayed beautifully imperfect.” This story, by Annie Dillard, poignantly illustrates how we assess beauty primarily from the surface.

As we approach middle-age,we often view ourselves through a glass darkly, concentrating on our imperfections. Each of us is her own worst critic.In my years as a clinical hypnotherapist, I have worked with hundreds of women, each shackledby her inner critic, who keeps her imprisoned inside a limited version of herself. Part of the reason is that we are bombarded with advertising images that reinforce unrealistic, unhealthy perceptions of beauty and perfection.

The women who are portrayed in these ads are photoshopped so much that even iconic 1990′s Supermodel Cindy Crawford, says,“ I wish I was Cindy Crawford.”

Top Model Cindy Crawford, in a nod to photo retouching: "I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford"

Hypnosis can be a more effective tool for the realization of a woman’s singular beauty than any other item in her make-up kit. This is because hypnosis finally tranquilizes that incessant critical voice inside. To explain what I mean, let me tell you a story:

Once upon a time… there was a baby girl who, because she was born prematurely, had a coat of dark fur over her whole body. The first thing her mother said was, “ Oh, she’s so ugly. I don’t want her. She looks like a monkey.” That became the family story. To everyone else it was funny. But as that girl grew up she couldn’t shake the idea that she was unwanted because of her looks. No matter how much she tried consciously to change that belief, it didn’t work. Even when someone paid her a compliment, her critical voice would chime in, “Well, you managed to fool somebody else, but we know the truth don’t we, you’re really ugly.” And that’s what she believed. Until one day…she had a powerful hypnosis session that changed her life. In that session her critical voice was silenced and her inner wisdom (unconditional acceptance) was accessed, so she finally loved herself.

As you may have already guessed this is my story. This quality of self-awareness has continued to unfold. Because hypnotherapy granted me the truest sense of my inviolate lovability, I was inspired to enter this field of work, in order to make this quality of transformation available to others; to celebrate our own unique beauty, as well as the beauty around us; and to remember to be as compassionate to ourselves as we are to others.

In zen there is a philosophy known as wabi-sabi which espouses the idea that imperfection is a necessary part of anything beautiful. According to this school of thought, a so called “flaw” is revered as an integral part of anything which is aesthetically arresting.

Alena Guest works with women of all ages using hypnotherapy as a key to unlocking self-acceptance.

You are an original. There never was, is not now, nor will there ever be anyone precisely like you. Honor that uniqueness.  Marianne Williamson says,”Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

There will never be a better time than now to reteach yourself your own loveliness. There will never be a better time than now to embrace your beautiful imperfections, like the well-loved Raggedy Ann doll.

Alena Guest is a Clinical Hypnotherapist with a private practice in Mendocino and she is on staff at the Mendocino Coast District Hospital. Alena is currently working on a book on beauty; and she will be starting a group addressing the subject of Graceful Aging, (From the Inside Out) beginning February 28th. Space is limited. For more information contact her at: alenag@mcn.org ; or call: (707) 937-3072; www.alenaguesthypnotherapy.com

Be sure to contact her, if you’d like to be notified about upcoming events such as: presentations, lectures, groups, radio interviews and publications.

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