Perception is reality. We know that. Or do we? Recently, I had occasion to remind myself of a lesson I learned a while back. Yep, this is one of my weight loss stories, but the lesson itself can be applied to all kinds of situations. So, even if you’re not interested in losing weight, keep reading. I think you’ll find it’s worth it.

A little story from my fat days

So there I was, walking down the street one day, having lost about half the weight that I wanted to. I was feeling pretty good about myself. Mostly. I’d swing back and forth between feeling thinner (I could often feel myself shrinking), and defaulting to those horrible fat thoughts. When I was feeling good, I’d catch a glimpse of myself in a store window and think “Wow. Not too bad!” I’d notice which areas of my body were showing the most improvement. I’d focus on my small waist, my collarbone which was just starting to make an appearance, my knees which were looking much less squishy… I’d see a woman who was chubby, but no longer fat, who carried herself with confidence, who was dressed well, who looked nice, and who didn’t have to be ashamed of herself. I saw a woman who was quite attractive.

But when I was feeling fat, I’d catch that same glimpse and suddenly the whole picture would change. I’d see my fat, bulging stomach, my dimply thighs, the bit of a double chin that was still there, how my cheeks looks inflated, how even my hands looked kind of meaty. I saw a fat, bumbling woman who’d squeezed herself into some sophisticated clothing, slapped on some makeup and had done her hair in a pathetic attempt to hide her grotesqueness.

Here’s the thing: I could see both women on the same day. My feelings about myself determined what I saw, not the other way around. This became crystal clear, since I couldn’t possibly have gained 100 extra pounds within minutes. And my makeup and hair, which were generally immaculate, had not suddenly been destroyed. But in those moments of despair, I looked like a caricature. I felt like somebody’s put makeup and a wig on a pig. And yet, just minutes before, I could’ve seen beautiful, shrinking me in the mirror or random reflective surface.

I had a bit of an epiphany

The day I discovered this phenomenon – that my perception was completely determined by my mood and thoughts at the time – I had a thought: We each have an image of what we look like in our heads. We can adjust that image, if we want to, but it takes time and effort. For some time after I’d lost my weight (close to 100 pounds), I’d often be surprised by how thin I appeared in the mirror or in pictures. I expected to see a fatter version of myself, since in my head, I was still fatter. It took some work to reconcile the two pictures.

We think that this image is shaped by our experiences – how others reacted to us during childhood and adolescence, our first sexual encounters, and how we rank against others in the looks department. But, since our experiences (how people treat us) are shaped entirely by our beliefs, we can see that this image we have ourselves isn’t determined by how many men have told us we’re beautiful, or how many women have called us handsome, but rather by what we’ve decided about ourselves. And that decision, that belief, determines what experiences and complements we let through even today.

How did you decide what you look like?

So, you might have decided (as I did at one point) that since no one ever tells you that you’re gorgeous, that you’re clearly ugly (or not pretty, just average, etc.). But if you don’t believe that you’re gorgeous, or worthy of the complement, those who would tell you that can’t even find you. Consider this: What if you’re wrong about what you look like? What if you’ve been perceiving yourself through an ugly, inadequate, homely, just average, so-so, or whatever filter? What if you’re a lot more beautiful than you think you are?

When I pondered this question, it stopped me in my tracks. There had been those in my life you’d always insisted that I was pretty. But I’d never believed them. I always thought they were humoring me, the way one humors the slow cousin who has to wear a helmet – “You’re so smart! Yes you are! Who’s the smart one? That’s right! You are!” They were being kind at best, and secretly smirking behind my back at worst. But what if they weren’t? What if they were telling the truth?

I guarantee that there have been people in your life you have given you complements that you immediately dismissed. And if questioned, you might not even remember the last time you received praise about your looks (or – insert area you’re feeling insecure about here). You might even insist that no one has EVER given you a genuine complement, but that would be untrue. You just couldn’t hear them, because you’d decided that you looked a certain way, and only information that matched your view could get through to you.

Even now, with everything I know, I can look in the mirror and suddenly look old. I don’t even have any wrinkles, but I’ll suddenly look all jowly and my face turns into an old shoe. If I look in the mirror immediately after my meditation, though, I appear like a shining Goddess. I’m almost ethereal. I’m seeing myself through the eyes of my inner being. And when seen through that filter, hoo mamma!

Change the filter

Why not change the filter on what you THINK you look like? Just give the idea, that perhaps you’ve been mislabeling yourself as much less good looking than you are, a few minutes. Does it feel good to consider it? If it does, it means that your inner being is in agreement with this thought. And it if it doesn’t, you’re doing it wrong. 😉 Because you are beautiful. And I don’t mean that in a “we’re all beautiful, even if we look like bridge trolls” kind of way, although I’m going to give that a bit of credence, too. I mean, when you take away all the Hollywood comparisons, and look at people as they really are, there are very few truly ugly people in the world (speaking purely materialistically). But most of us have, at one time or another, felt as though we should be ashamed to leave the house, looking as we do.

And now, the bit about the bridge trolls

The human body is not perfect and it was never meant to be. But it’s magnificent. We come in all different shapes and sizes, with different skin, hair and eye colors. The variety that nature has come up with is staggering. Our bodies can lift, grasp, walk, run, jump, squat, and dance. Our bodies allow us to experience the physical – what it’s like to sing, to shout, to speak, to ride a bike, to squish fresh grass between our toes, to sit, to breathe in a huge breath of fresh air, to feel the salty ocean water against our skin, to smell flowers, to feel the rain on our faces, to taste gorgeous food, to catch snowflakes with our tongues and to have sex (that one alone makes the whole argument, really).

A woman’s body has the ability to grow a whole new human being and give birth. It’s soft and round, warm and comforting, and wonderful to hug. A man’s body is strong when necessary and gentle when called for. It can wrestle danger to the ground or become a climbing gym for his little ones. It has the power to evoke a feeling of safety with a simple embrace. And somehow, inexplicably, it never seems to get cold. How can we ever look at these bodies of ours and not call them beautiful? Just because we don’t look like plastic, airbrushed, photo shopped freaks… We are wonders of nature. Wobbly bits and all.

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  • I loved this post Melody, but then I love all your Posts! The point about filters really struck a chord with me so I tried an experiment:

    Beautiful/Gorgeous/Stunning/Hot – what these words have in common is our society’s belief of what physical attributes they must be associated with, which is why so many of us feel so alienated from these words and the respective physical traits they embody.

    I found a way around this – I googled the synonyms of Beautiful, which are numerous. I then chose a synonym whose definition in the dictionary I could wholeheartedly believe to be true for me and I now use that word for myself to embody the feeling of ‘beauty’. This is amazing! Try it. Keep the word you choose to yourself. Don’t share it with anyone (even close family and friends) until your vibrational resonance with it is utterly stable. I may never share mine with anyone, however stable I get. Remember you are using this word to embody the feeling of ‘beauty’ that most resonates with you so you don’t want somebody’s interpretation of this word to interfere with your vibrational alignment with it.

    When that time comes, which it must, when someone pays you a compliment using the EXACT same synonym you chose, remember to smile, say thank you then remember that feeling of empowerment and delicious appreciation as you recognize that the Universe just winked at you, or rather your filter!

  • I used to believe I am exceedingly beautiful UNTIL I discovered LOA. Everyone thought I was superb. I couldn’t even look at the mirror without staring at my beauty and wondering at how incredibly gorgeous I was. Honestly. I just couldn’t help it. I would look at every glass window, every mirror and sometimes even wake up at night to see how awesome I looked. I woke up, slept, dined and wined and spent the whole day thinking I was most gorgeous for last couple of years until Melody told me recently it is only because of vibration one becomes beautiful or not. Melody’s comment has punched a HUGE FAT hole on my ego – I believed I was gorgeous and now 24/7 I am wondering is it that I am TRULY gorgeous or is it only because of my vibration that I feel I am beautiful? And I am not kidding! LOA teachings created a huge blow to my over-inflated ego! LOA destroyed my self-esteem! Is there a way to regain the lost self-esteem?:)

  • When I was much younger, I had a full-length mirror in the main room of my apartment (not really a “living” room, it was a tiny apartment!), and every time I walked by it, I would glance at my reflection. My big, fat, ugly, reflection. Urgh. One day, I walked past the mirror, glanced at my reflection (as usual), saw my big fat ugly body (as usual) – then realized that the mirror was turned to the wall. I wasn’t even looking at the glass, I was looking at the cardboard backing! I was shocked to realize I had already decided what my reflection was going to be, and I projected that image onto the mirror. I wondered if I even knew what I looked like at all.

    Another time, much later in life, I was out shopping. I was picking over some bins of pretty little knick knacks when I happened to look up, through a decorative window and catch the eye of an incredibly beautiful woman on the other side of the display. She had such a beautiful face, and an interesting look to her. It was a full second or two before I realized I was looking into a mirror and not through a window. I immediately burst into tears. I had never before in my life seen myself as beautiful, and that took me so much by surprise, looking at what I thought was another person, without judgement or preconception, and then seeing it was me. And I was amazing. Wow! 🙂

    • Oh wow Kim! Thanks so much for this powerful story! I totally know what you mean. There was a time when I realized that I’d trained myself not to look in the mirror. I would walk into a restaurant restroom, for example, manage to go to the toilet, wash my hands and spend the entire time in there without even glancing at myself.

      And when a moment would come in which I actually liked what I saw, it would be so shocking, so alien to me, I didn’t know what to do with that perspective. Eventually, though, I learned to look for that. It takes discipline to look for what’s right, to assume it’s even there, but it does add up. 🙂

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience!!

      Huge hugs!

  • I’ve struggled with the exact same thing but instead of weight- my skin. I think I have a really pretty face and nice eyes but my skin lets me down. I get acne breakouts, many blackheads and still have dips in my skin from previous acne. I’m only in my early twenties but the last six months I’ve actually developed two really deep and noticeable frown lines on my forehead.
    If my skin is clear and pale white I feel good. If not it really bothers me as I think I’d have so much potential if my skin co-operated.

  • Hi Melody,

    This post really struck a nerve with me. I’ve always had an issue with my weight and it just so happens that my last boyfriend was less than kind about it. For a long time I let his perception of what he thought I should look like really affect my perception of myself and that if I didn’t have a lack of confidence in myself, I wouldn’t have attracted him in the first place. So I’m working on changing that filter that you were talking about – definitely easier said than done. But a work in progress! Thank you for your post 🙂

    • Hi Taryn,

      You’ve already made a huge and important shift: You’ve recognized that this guy wasn’t in your life because you deserved it or anything like that, but that he was merely a symptom of your vibration. How empowering is that?? It isn’t easy, especially in the beginning. But once you get a little momentum going, the LOA will make it easier for you to think good feeling thoughts. Keep at it. It’s so worth it. First you’ll feel better and then you’ll start to attract people who will support that feeling.

      You’re so welcome!

  • Melody, what a wonderfully well written post. In fact it had me laughing almost out loud. You are so talented! I can totally relate to the ‘mood’ swings we put ourselves through.

    Most days I think “woo mama’ when I catch a glimpse of ‘that person’ in the mirror.

    funny you talk about ‘fat’ … I’m feeling a bit fat these days… ha ha… and really I’m not, I’m just jiggling more that I would like! Being at the resort for much of the summer can really make you either feel like a bowl of jelly, or ‘ok’ when dressed in something other than a bathing suite.

    At the end of the day though I get your message loud and clear.

    I often will run upto the super market with no make up and hair dragged back in a pony tail, just hoping I don’t run into someone. Inevitably I do… and often the first thing they say is ‘wow… you look great!’. This scrambles my head like an egg… and as you say I often dismiss it! LOL.

    You are right though, we are often perceived much differently by others than from our own minds eye.

    Funnily, I am pondering putting together a post ‘similar’… about ‘moods’ and how we can feel so on top of our game some days, then so out of it the next.

    Its a similar ‘thing’ – yet different. I just have to put my thinking cap on as to how to approach it.

    wonderfully entertaining and truthful post.

    Thanks so much.


    PS: Why are men always warm??

    • Oh Thank you Jayne, for your wonderful words.
      OMG, I remember a few years ago, I was really stressed and ran to work one morning after only a couple of hours of sleep. I forgot to put on makeup but didn’t realize it until I got to the office. I wanted to crawl under my desk. But all day, people came up to me saying “What did you do? You look amazing!” Say what? I think the stock of MAC cosmetics went down that day…

      I really look forward to reading your take on this!!
      Oh, and supposedly, men are always warm because they have more muscle mass and have higher metabolisms. That’s the official view. But I just think they’re magic. 🙂


  • Hey Melody
    I think that there is so much more to attractiveness than looks. I’m not saying that Tom Cruise has trouble getting a date. Confidence is attractive. A sense of humor is attractive. Authenticity can be attractive. We get hung up on physical looks and overlook other qualities that determine attractiveness. And I suspect that people that has these qualities have a better chance of enjoying life than someone with mere physical beauty.

    • Absolutely Riley. Appearance is an arbitrary set of criteria that we use to judge each other and ourselves. It has no meaning except the meaning we give it (like everything else.) And many of us are so rigid in what we believe to be “true”, when a slight shift in perspective can completely change how we feel about ourselves. People with those inner qualities will always do better, since they’re not wasting all their energy pushing against themselves…


  • I feel very beautiful and I am working on being healthier. I get lots of words about You are so pretty why don’t you lose weight….I am working extremely hard on that, because even my Dr. presumes I have diabetes and heart disease and joint pain because of my size – I want the outside to match the total beauty package and be healthy.

    I am treated differently because of my size – including a sales clerk in a clothing store who said straightforwardly we do not carry your size (I was looking for my daughter but I just up and left the store without saying so I was so put off to be judged so quickly)

    What bothers me most is when people think I am out of control and stupid because I am heavy…aargh.

    Very good post…I am still working at it…and my financial issues…now there I am not such a total beauty!

    • Patricia,

      You are amazing and beautiful, no matter what you weigh.
      I know the preconceptions that people can have about those who are overweight. I had experiences like yours in the shop, as well. You can get to the point where comments like that don’t bother you, and then they’ll stop. But it starts with your beliefs.

      Anyone who reads your blog knows you’re not stupid. You are a genuine, warm, gorgeous woman. And one day you will fully believe that, too.

      Huge hugs,

  • What a powerful question!

    What if you’re a lot more beautiful than you think you are?

    It’s proven that physically beautiful people according to our culture’s standards are treated better and will be hired before a person who doesn’t meet the insane standards. This makes me believe that if I believed I was more beautiful than I currently am physically my business would be more successful. On the other hand if I don’t own my beauty inside and out I’m failing because of my own negative beliefs.

    • Hi Tess, if you believe in that paradigm (that beautiful people are more successful), then yes, your improved perception of your own beauty will lead to success. This is based on your belief system, though, and not the rules of the Universe. I, personally, don’t think that has to be “true” (it’s also been proven that the expectations of the scientists influence the outcome of the experiment…). Look at the top 100 most successful people in the world. How many of them are classically beautiful? I all comes down to our energy. You can attract abundance, or repel it. You can attract experiences of kindness or repel them. It all comes down to our beliefs and our perception. 🙂


  • Indeed, Melody. We must learn to look deeply into our perceptions with out being too sure of anything. If things are looking grim – look again! Chances are it is our perception that is the problem. For years and years I thought short and bald was an obstacle… now I truly believe it is powerful. Change how you view your life and you renew your life. Let your mind ring with enthusiasm about this!

    • Ahaha Rob. It sure didn’t stop Danny DeVito! Besides, bald is the new sexy.

      Right you are. Our perspective determines everything. You, perhaps someone is a lot smarter than they always thought they were. It’s been proven that if you tell a child they are stupid, they’ll actually do badly in school. If they see themselves as stupid, they will become stupid. We have limited ourselves in thousands of ways such as this…


  • Hi Melody

    This is a sore area with me. I was a ‘fat kid’. Not obese but the brunt of jokes. I still struggle with my looks and probably always will. I did learn early that there was more to me than my looks and I have continuously worked on put them in the foreground.

    • Hi Glynis,

      Thank you for our honest and courageous comment. We all had difficult childhoods in some way or another. Even the cheerleaders hated their bodies. Being heavy may seem like a special kind of kid-hell (I was a chubby kid, too), but I realized some time ago that it’s all relative. The girl with braces suffered just as much as I did. But there were others who didn’t fit the pattern: heavy girls who were still popular. Geeky guys who were somehow cool (this was WAY before geek chic…) They saw themselves differently and therefore everyone else did, too. Seeing your own beauty isn’t the same as accepting your inferiority and being ok with it. It means shifting your perspective until you realize that you ARE actually a lot more beautiful than you’ve always thought you were. It’s a lot to ask, I know, but when you catch a glimpse of that feeling, oh man, it will blow your mind. 🙂


  • From fat to phat?

    Emotions do play into things like weight in major ways. The dynamic I see over and over again is the “abused woman” dynamic, where some guy is treating the woman in question like dirt, but she feels like she “needs him” whatever that’s all about.

    On the guy end, I just always make it a habit to assume how fabulous I am, and if anyone says otherwise, I remind them of my awesomeness by immediately arm wrestling them, offering a duel, or exchanging fisticuffs.

    • Hi Bill,
      I’m actually working on a post about abusive relationships, so I’ll leave that discussion for when that’s published. :o)

      A duel would do the trick. “Admit how awesome I am, or I shall end thee, sir!”, punctuated by a slap with a leather glove. As arguments go, that’s a pretty convincing one… He, he. Although, it doesn’t really matter if they think you’re awesome or not. What matters is that you think so. And since you do, you’ll attract few people who will argue with you. So you can put away your dueling gun and slapping glove. 🙂


  • Nice post, Melody!

    Perception shapes our experiences … One day I affirmed ‘I’m surrounded by beautiful women every day” and from that day on I only saw beautiful women around me. It’s amazing how this works. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

    • You’re welcome Marc.

      When you align yourself with beauty, you let a lot more beauty in. You’re changing the filter. It’s funny. I’ve done the same thing. I decided one day that there were tons of sexy, straight men in this city and as I walked down the street, I encountered one flirty, sexy man after another. They were probably there before, but I just couldn’t see them. We’re surrounded by tons of energy at all times. Our filter determines what we see.


  • True Beauty is internal first before it is physical. I have been blessed with a great physical appearance and attractiveness in this lifetime. I also know that we come here as pure light beings of perfection as well. I would be lying if I said that my physical appearance hasn’t helped me progress upwards in society. =) But, it really does go back to alignment and being comfortable in ones own skin. People that feel beautiful, handsome, or attractive, generally are inside and out.

    • Hi Baker,

      I’ve met “princes”, who when they opened their mouths instantly turned into frogs. And I think everyone has experienced the “average” looking person whose personality made them super attractive. Even though we put a great deal of value on appearance in our society, there’s often a lot of other criteria mixed in. People who shine from the inside out, are truly beautiful and our society does recognize that, which to me, is a huge sign that we’re, on the whole, not as purely materialistic as we might think. 🙂


  • Another very courageous post! In my opinion, a next step could be to get to the point where it doesn’t matter whether our physical appearance can be considered beautiful or not (as opposed to convincing ourselves that we are beautiful). i.e. worrying less about physical appearance, but that’s a tough one in our societies, I’m far from there

    • Hi Cookie!

      For me, the goal isn’t to achieve a state where I no longer care what someone looks like, but to see the breathtaking beauty in everyone and everything. I’m always going to have an opinion about everything I see, that’s the way we’re created – to experiences, and choose via our preferences. There’s a difference between judging things to be “good” and “bad” or simply “I like that” and “I don’t like that”. I’ve had glimpses of that high vibrational state where the beauty of things literally took my breath away. I marveled at the magnificence of evolution, of the ingenious ways in which nature solved problems, and at the pure perfection of everything. My goal is to move into that space as much as possible. It wasn’t that I didn’t care about the appearance of things. I actually became hyper-sensitive to it. The big change was that I saw the intrinsic beauty that was everywhere. I hope that makes sense. It’s a bit hard to convey this feeling in words (but I’ll always do my best…)


  • Hi Melody,
    It’s funny how we let the perception of our mind and others determine how we see ourselves. I believe that this starts early on especially when other kids say that we are fat, nerdy or have bad clothes.

    I see myself as I am, perfectly imperfect and I am fine with that even if others do have a problem with it. I have seen larger women who look hot, I don’t know where this perception of thin is in is a good thing. I would say that curvy is in and always will be.

    • Hi Justin,

      I LOVE that! Perfectly imperfect. 🙂
      And I totally agree. Curvy women are hot. Actually, all women can be hot. We’ve all seen women and men who aren’t classically beautiful or handsome, who are just damn sexy. It’s a quality, not a state of appearance. Thanks for your comment!


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