She allowed ~ Bella

she allowed
“She allowed herself the space to believe in her beauty and strength.” ~Bella

“You look beautiful in that dress.”

Those words, or some form of them, were repeated by every woman I encountered while wearing the soft cotton, body hugging, strapless beach dress.

The dress was a daring and bold “look at me” tie-dye color I normally stay away from. When I eyed it on the rack at the store, the first thing I did was feel the material. It was the type of cotton that slipped through my fingers. Thinking it would make for a perfect beach cover up, I took it into the dressing room and tried it on. It fit perfectly like second skin.

Most would consider this situation a win, but I stood there looking at myself for a long time analyzing every reason why I shouldn’t buy this dress.

“You will be welcoming eyes your way when you wear this, you know.”

This was my main worry; that people would look at me. My bust and curves would be right there on display for everyone to stare at and pick apart.

But I couldn’t help that the dress made me feel light and free, like I was floating on a cloud.

I’m 38 years old and I’m tired of the conversations I’m having with myself about how I look or what I should and shouldn’t be wearing.

The (soul) work I’ve been doing for the last five years has taught me that these voices don’t ever truly go away. It takes some major suiting up, as if I was going into combat to silence them. My weapon of choice: kindness.

Kindness. This is what the women in my life have bestowed on me. They look directly into my eyes and tell me I am beautiful in this dress.

I’m beautiful? Me? I don’t look too busty? This color, it’s not too much?

Silence.

“Thank you” I say, and I beam because they’re not talking about the dress and I believe them.

On this day, sitting on this beach, I felt an inner strength I had not known before. It radiated through me, and I knew in that moment that something had shifted in the way I see myself.

I allow myself the space to believe, down to my core, that I am worthy of their kindness and that I need to extend that same luxury to myself.

I didn’t buy the dress because I loved it.

I bought it because I feel beautiful when I wear it.

59 Comments

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59 Responses to She allowed ~ Bella

  1. I love this post Bella! I think so many of us can relate to suiting up in our armor. I myself struggle with clothing all of the time. It is that feeling of covering up that is always speaking in my mind. But what if we all stood side by side with kindness and did not cover up anymore? The world would be a beautiful place. xoxo Thank you for these words.

    • What if we did, Jennifer! Totally. I am at my best when I’m encouraged by or being rooted on by the women / sister friends in my life who stand side by side with me. Thank you for stopping by and your gorgeous words. xo

  2. I am standing here at my computer, first time to read this. Tears are welling up in my eyes, and I am moved. Thank you for your bold truth, and even more so, to show up here with your beautiful Bad Self and share your story with us.

  3. i think so many of us have these internal conversations (me included), and it’s so good to offer this up for discussion/acknowledgement.
    i love your conscious decision to engage with kindness…oh, if we all did that, can you imagine?!
    love so much that you’re feeling your beautiful self…

  4. Good for you! So glad you bought the dress and wear the dress. The what to wear and how we look conversation never seems to stop. Even at my advanced age I am presently struggling to find suitable clothes to wear to an upcoming party.

  5. Firstly, welcome to She is Three!

    Secondly, thank you for this post – mostly – thank you for letting me (and basically all females) know that we are not alone with these same thoughts. I have struggled with my self image for years, and now at the ripe old age of 55, I feel that I have earned the right to relax, though it needs lots of friendly reinforcement from my women friends (actual and virtual) to keep it up. You inspire me to look ‘outside the box’ that I have built and dress for me, not the world.

    Connie :) xoxo

    • Connie – thank you for the warm welcome. I am so glad that you found some comfort in my story. You are so not alone. And yes, you have SO earned the right to relax about your self image. We’re all in this one together. xo

  6. i say we all get together for a beautiful weekend, and flaunt our flaws and our beauty.
    this post made me feel beautiful. i love you my sisterfriend.
    xo

  7. i needed this, the reminder that we are all beautiful.
    xo

  8. Thank you for showing up bravely and beautifully to share your story. It’s so lovely to have your honest presence here, Bella.
    (And it’s good to be reminded of the importance of kindness in our inner battles…)
    Xoxo.

  9. This is beautiful and so are you. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing what are my struggles too. xo

  10. Oh beautiful you… I love your boldness and commitment to kindness for yourself. We need to show ourselves kindness in so many ways, at so many times. Thank you love. xxO

  11. Gerri, honey. Thank you for always being right there when my soul needs a lift.
    Your friendship is a blessing. xoxoxo

  12. i too am tired of those internal conversations about what to wear. and then I figured it out. you know what looks good on everybody? confidence.

  13. Lovely, just lovely.

  14. bella. bella. bella.
    thankyou.

  15. I found this quote in a friend’s email this morning. I think you need it, too.

    “There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people.”

    Buddha

    Bella, it’s not so much the dress as it is how you feel when you wear it that radiates your beauty.

    Cheryl

  16. Ohhhh, Bella. Yes. Yes. ♥

  17. Leanne

    Thank you.
    Thank you.
    For helping me feel beautiful, too.

    I am just finding you from Jen Lee’s mention of you, and I wonder . . . where have you been all my life? (Or at least the last few years, as I find myself working on my soul, too.) This post hit my heart today. And I thank you, again, for it.

  18. So much love for you & this, yes. <3

  19. Amy Gretchen

    Bella, your words, beautiful, and something we all as woman need to hear. I am so grateful for your openness and honesty — thank you for always being you and for saying just what I needed to hear. Love you!

  20. I can relate to this post. I spent so many years worrying what others thought I looked like that I forgot to be happy in myself. I blogged, a lot, I moved past fright and into body confidence & now try to encourage others to do the same x

    The Curved Opinion

  21. beautiful through and through… kindness is always the best response to doubt, fear, sometimes even anger (as it is threaded through with the other two!) You ARE beautiful and I’m so glad you bought that dress and accepted the words of kindness from others and yourself.

  22. Bella, you are beautiful. There is nothing else to say!

  23. Oh beautiful, Bella! I’m so incredibly proud of you. Such beauty, truth, and divine wisdom. I love you and all that you do to light up our world. xoxo!

  24. Just recently, I have been talking and thinking about turning thirty “soon” and how strange this seems in that time is now passing in decades. There is something sobering about getting older in that I realize I am still thinking the same thoughts I had ten years ago. Ten years of the same thoughts and they have gotten me nowhere, only farther away from joy and peace. So I am with you in showing more kindness to myself and changing these mental patterns. Thank you for the reminder and the beautiful post.

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  26. You are a goddess. A living breathing goddess!

  27. beautifully written. it’s a shame that we as women keep doing that to ourselves. accepting yourself has to be the hardest thing to achieve in life. not what I would have expected growing up…

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  29. Janet

    This made me tear up, Bella….and it made me think long and hard about my own self-treatment when it comes to this subject! I was once so unhappy with my body when I was very this, because people implied I was ill or anorexic. I have since put on weight…perhaps more than I wanted but likely what I needed and yet, having just been on vacation, found myself criticizing how I looked in my bathing suit and covering up!! Am I never to be satisfied with how I look? Thanks to your post here, I think the answer will be YES! Starting today I will love my body however it looks and will be thankful for my health and happiness!

    • Janet

      sorry – premature send…that should say “very thin” on the second line and I wanted to thank you for sharing this and being so courageous and kind and loving!

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