I look down at my belly. Stretched out skin and stretch marks. It used to really bother me. I’d hardly want to look at it.

I’ve been doing yoga in front of a full length mirror in my underwear for a while. It’s been a practice for me to love my body and not avoid it. I’ll never be a girl who’s comfortable in a bikini. Not because I don’t feel my body is meant for one, or the conditioning of our culture’s standard of beauty, but because I don’t believe in being that naked in front of strangers, it’s just not for me. But I can love my body and appreciate the way it looks in front of a mirror and for my own self, recognize it’s unique beauty.

I look at my scars and I don’t hate them. I accept them. They are not flaws. I know that’s just conditioning that media has ingrained into our minds. These scars tell a story, each one of them. Most are from my babies. I’ve expanded and contracted four times for each healthy pregnancy, carrying my babies to term. But some of my stretch marks are from my battle between my higher and lower self. Using food as a way to stuff myself away and run and hide. To not listen to my truth, I’d eat. I got big. I’ve been small. I fought a battle and have found my middle ground. I can truly say that I’ve won. I’ve discovered the root cause of my fears and they don’t scare me anymore. I’m not in the dark. I’m not afraid of my light and I’ve let it shine.

I’ll still have times when my mind would like to try and bring me down. I hear the negativity from my ego and from others egos, the judgements against who I am, but it doesn’t have the power that it used to. I don’t quiver and quake under it. It’s not real what the ego says because it is void of love. I know when others say something rude or judgemental they are either not living in line with truth in that moment or they’re just expressing their opinion. I don’t take it personally anymore.

I look down at my scars and I am reminded that we all have them. Whether external like mine, or internal. No one has gone through life without damage to their soul whether in some small way or some greater way. We’ll never make it through life completely perfect and unmarked by our environment or the people on our path.

We may be vulnerable at times but it is in our times of vulnerablitity that we learn our strengths. We find ourselves, get to know ourselves, forgive ourselves, fall in love with ourselves. And when we do this, it won’t matter what comes at us. We’ll know the truth of our being.

Once we love ourselves and learn our strengths anything that is not authentically us can’t stick. It can’t enter and scar us because we’re wiser.  And the things out of our realm of control that will inevitably leave a mark on us, we can embrace.

We don’t have to see the scars as bad and try and hide them, but use them as inspiration to others. To share our stories and our triumph of light over darkness.

We all have our scars, whether externally perceptible or more inner and hidden. Let’s not judge them as a bad thing anymore. They are a part of who we are and have made us into who we are destined to become… a little wiser and a whole lot stronger.