A story about authentically loving your true self.

Shakina the Snake enjoyed growing up in the jungle with all of her friends.  She felt blessed to have so many forever friends.  It warmed her heart so much to know there were always other animals looking out for her.  Yet, sometimes she worried that maybe should wouldn’t be able to keep all of her friends as she started to grow into a larger snake. 

Shakina was keenly aware that as she grew larger and larger something happened to her that did not happen to all her animal pals.  In fact, sometimes as often as four time per year she would outgrow and shed her skin.  She felt like it was a glaring different between her and the other jungle animals and it made her ugly and weird. 

On day Shakina confided in her mom.  “I wish that my body wasn’t always constantly changing, and my skin wasn’t always shedding,” she said.  “I just feel like my friends think I am weird and that they might not love me the same if I change all the time.”

Her Mom was empathetic, as she too had lived through the same struggles when she was a young snake.  She considered what wisdom she might want to offer her daughter, and after a pause decided to tell her what she wished someone would have told her.  “Shakina, honey, the only beauty that truly matters is the beauty inside of you.”  Her mom continued, “Your friends love being around you because you are beautiful inside and out.  You have the biggest heart of all of your friends, and they all know it.” 

Shakina paused a moment to consider her mom’s advice.  She thought back and thought about all the times her friends told her how kind she was and how they hugged her all the time.  She thought that they must not care if she changed on the outside, because they still hugged her just as hard and loved her just as much.

“You know what, mom,” she said, “I think you might be right!  My friends do care about me and have never shrunk away from a big old hug just because of my skin shedding.” 

It took a little while, but Shakina began to accept that her friends were attracted to her heart and because she was a wonderful person on the inside.  As time went on, Shakina developed a deeper love for her internal character.  Over time, her confidence continued to grow, and she continued to bond with her old childhood friends … and even met a few new ones along the journey. 

Beauty is a Character Trait

Shakina’s plight isn’t unique to snakes.  On the contrary, many of us probably felt that way at some point in our own lives.  Perhaps you fell victim to not feeling good enough or like you were the odd one out.  More often than not, many of us and our loved ones have fell prey to the idea that we were not good enough. 

The reason it feels so universal is that there seems to be so much societal pressure to project an image of how you should look and how you should behave.  These pressures can often make it very difficult to embrace our true beauty, our authentic character. 

Once you begin to accept the positive potential of being your true inner self, you might see a complete transformation on how you feel about yourself. 

Our world, our virtual world in social media – they are both filled with so many images that define beauty based on an Instagram model or a Vogue cover model.  So many of these perspectives focus on beauty as a body size, or a sense of style.  While these are not inconsequential, they are not the only thing that define true beauty. 

Lasting beauty, the kind that stands the test of time and the un-photoshopped picture is the content of your character.  Your natural instinct to be kind to others is what makes you beautiful.  Waking up each and every day with a positive intention toward the world and those you love makes you beautiful.  Positively impacting the lives of others shows your character, not you jean size. 

The next time you feel a bit self-conscious about your body or how you might look in that selfie – remind yourself of how much you have contributed to the lives of others and focus on being the authentically beautiful person you are on the inside and out.  Try it – you might find your confidence soars – just like Shakina’s did. 

Reflection Questions:

  1. How might I encourage myself to embrace my shortcomings?
  2. What impacts my confidence?
  3. What is my personal definition of beauty?
  4. How am I making an impact on the world around me?

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