Beautiful and Lovable, the Yalla! Way
“Forward march, no stopping,” “yalla” in Arabic, or “en avant” in French, is the perfect anthem for adventuresome women who are on their journeys of awakening to their intuitive, beautiful and lovable selves.
Based on my own experiences and my close work and friendships with women, I have surmised that women yearn to feel at ease with themselves, to accept themselves, and to be true to themselves. Also, that, until they do, they will not feel truly beautiful, but will believe their beauty is always subject to external conditions. Feeling beautiful and feeling lovable are inextricably entwined. They feed one another. We can never feel truly beautiful unless we feel lovable. Likewise, unless we know our lovableness, we are forever questioning our beauty. Such a state is quite agitating. It breeds incessant insecurity, forcing our emotions into violent, irregular action.
In order to see and feel our own beauty and lovableness, we need to relax into ourselves. And, we need to rethink or reframe our concepts of beauty. In my Yalla! work with women, we gently redefine “beauty” in new terms. For example, beauty is “the state of being alive, aware of our worth, curious, open, appreciative, humane, intuitive, playful, adventuresome, observant, laughing, compassionate, relational and creative.”
Awakening to our beauty and lovableness is vital to our emotional health and the quality of our relationships. Awakening is an imperative for, if we don’t, we are comatose, dried up, and cannot fully contribute to our world. When a woman is aware of her true beauty, she doesn’t seek validation from external sources and she is not vulnerable to those sources (societal or otherwise), that tell her that she is “not enough unless she…” The drive for validation, approval, attention — in other words, to fill the void within — leads to anguish, damaging choices, shaky relationships, and fear. I speak from my own experience on this.
Concomitantly, when a woman is awake to her own beauty, she approaches others as equals, relaxed, and without a wall of insecurity. This fosters healthier relationships, professionally and personally. There is less self-censorship, self-criticism, and codependency because she feels whole.
Awakening to our own beauty and lovableness comes from reconnecting with who we are, not from flying on auto-pilot with whom we think we have to be. When women are authentic, they free other women and men to be so. We create our own style. We exude beauty by cultivating our lives and bodies with beautiful thoughts, good emotional habits and healthy wisdom. But we need tools and mentors to do this. This is why it is so important for women to gather and share their ancient and collective ways of being. No woman can achieve this on her own.
In order to be fully ourselves, we need to stay alert, think for ourselves, and rebel against all the erroneous media mayhem regarding beauty and lovableness. In fact, we can develop a habit of being awake to our beauty, an inner-knowing of our beauty that can’t be easily blown off course. We can pay attention to our emotions and bodies — our inner gyroscope — to recognize immediately when we are starting to sink. And, we can learn what to do to stay afloat.
Awakening to our own lovableness arises when we accept ourselves just the way we are right now. The drive to be “better” is a denial of our present dearness and of our right as a human being to be an imperfect learner. It leads to constant dissatisfaction. No one ever “arrives.” We learn to know our value, not in terms of what we do for others or in others’ eyes, but in terms of how authentically we are living. We practice acute self-awareness to recognize when our behavior is driven by a need for others to see our value, beauty, and lovableness, – and to know how to regroup and accept ourselves again to live a juicy life. We free ourselves of the relentless self-doubt which makes our hearts heavy. We shamelessly rejoice in ourselves and learn to treat yalla shoot ourselves gently.
Women are extremely hard on themselves. Usually, we show others much more compassion than we show ourselves. We hold ourselves to schedules and to-do lists which twelve people couldn’t accomplish. We don’t give ourselves room to breathe. We see things in terms of either “failure” or “success,” rather than seeing ourselves and all others as “learners.”
What a joy it is to cultivate our compassionate natures. Sadly, we often feel so burdened, hurried and harried, that we neglect to see opportunities to exercise our compassion. We fail to notice another in need, fail to respond to our fellow beings. And this creates a hollow life without soul. Perhaps such a malnourished woman cannot put her finger on what’s missing, but self-orbiting and a lack of awareness of others are gross neglect of her divinity and inner happiness. And it’s boring.
Whether out of self-preservation, a mistaken concept of independence as always “doing it all by myself,” et cetera, women often build a wall around themselves four-feet thick. They become doers, rather than be-ers, and don’t even notice when love comes knocking in its myriad forms.