Over the course of my years, I have encountered so many women who struggle with their looks. It seems to be an eternal theme which crosses generations. I have come to realize the privilege of having a body, even though the joy of being able to perceive our world in it is often accompanied with physical pain of all kinds.

We live in a culture that’s all about need. We are bombarded with advertisements telling us what we need to need, and what we supposedly shouldn’t be able to live without. Women are indeed the perfect targets for them.

Impossible standards for women to live up to have been created by the media. It seems that you must always look like you did when you were 25 years old – young and thin. They suggest to us that if you look this way, you are desirable, lovable and even happy. And if you don’t, there are many products to help you. Most women, indeed most people have the feeling that they are not complete, good enough or whole. This causes shame.

What I have discovered is that shame is not our natural state. It’s something we learn. I noticed when my children were toddlers, they knew no shame. They danced, sang, painted and had positive body awareness. What shame they have now acquired, came from others who told them they had to be different.

I, on the other hand, have known shame. Insecurity haunted me for most of my life. As a child, I wasn’t so much aware of being a girl. As a teenager, I felt awkward for a long time. I knew the pain of embarrassment and the sting of shame when I stepped out of line.

When you fully open and embrace all of yourself, including the shame and the parts you have been trying to fix and make better, you simultaneously begin the journey into a fuller, freer you. Doing so, you can be more fully present to life and all it brings – love, joy, pain, loss, and ecstasy. It takes acceptance, receiving all aspects of yourself, even the frozen or unloved parts of yourself, being exactly where you are at this very moment in a wider embrace of love and self-compassion.

In doing so, you will activate the power of the divine feminine within you, who will call you in an organic fashion into a much more mature, freer and wiser expression of yourself. Remarkable and lasting transformation can take place, which leads to evolution. You will feel that you are coming home in a tender, loving, welcoming way.

It troubles me that so many women don’t love their differences. Wouldn’t it, after all, be a dreary world if all women were the same? I know many beautiful women of all shapes, sizes, and ages. Their beauty is expressed through their eyes and their hearts. They radiate beauty and they exude themselves. It’s extremely catching.

Unfortunately, many women fail to consider that they are loved by their fellow human beings, even if they don’t meet the 25 and thin forever image.

You are not your age, your dress, cup, or waist size. Those are just outward manifestations of the true you. If anyone rejects you because of this, they don’t deserve you!

Rise and shine to be the only one you can ever truly be.

Then you will feel good.

And you will look as good as you feel.

Ruth Bleakley-Thiessen

Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Ruth now lives in the north of Germany. She studied Communications Design in Kiel and worked as a freelance designer, illustrator, and artist. She is also an accredited Journey Practitioner and compliments her work with workshops, programs, coaching and is the author of several books, including "Woman Rise and Shine - a guide for women who want to be themselves", "Flown the Coop - a simple guide to dealing with transformation when the kids leave home" and "Nuffin" - a children's book.