Chrisse Serville

The ‘essence’ of Chrisse Serville

I haven’t written for a while, and felt compelled to write some thoughts about beauty, self-acceptance and a woman’s ‘essence’.

 “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”
Thich Nhat Hanh(feed.your.soul.forever Instagram)

And I would add to the end of that quote, ‘because you have your own unique ‘essence’ that only belongs to you and no one else’.

That ‘essence’ cannot be copied, it belongs only to YOU.

What is a woman’s beauty? For me my answer to this is, firstly beauty is much more than a physical thing, it begins within always knowing who you are, being happy with what you have achieved in your life, what you can offer to other people and therefore feeling confident in your own skin. If you can understand that about yourself, then your beauty just shines.

I recently heard about a woman in her late 50’s, who feared aging, losing her looks, not being beautiful anymore, and therefore she felt she would become ‘invisible’.

This is not the first time I have heard this and it makes me feel so sad to hear this again and again, because this woman obviously has based her self-esteem and therefore her happiness, purely on her physical looks.

Beauty I believe can never be defined as one thing- it’s has no boundaries, it’s ageless, it’s size less, and it’s in the eye of the beholder. That’s why what we see in the media is just a narrow expression and view of beauty. I have always said, beauty is from within, that’s where true beauty begins. I believe that the way we feel about ourselves and understand our own beauty is linked to our self-esteem. The dictionary meaning about self esteem- is

A realistic respect for or favorable impression of oneself; self-respect.

I know for a fact, that if we base our self-esteem purely our looks we will not find that joy, that happiness, that inner peace we are seeking. Why? for one, physical beauty changes, and two- beauty as seen in social media which seems to have a huge impact on people today, it is a narrow illustration of what beauty can be defined as it is very Westernized. I have always said, beauty is so much more than being youthful, and having no wrinkles. Our self-esteem, our self-respect is about who we are, and what we achieve, not just what we look like.

When people start to discuss aging and aging naturally, I often get people saying to me, ‘oh it’s alright for you, you were Miss Universe’. I actually find this comment upsetting as probably more than anyone, because of my history as a previous Miss Universe and model, my looks are scrutinized more than most. I am also not exempt from the aging process, no one is, so I have to deal with all that comes with the aging process just like anyone else while carrying the public scrutiny of “she was a Miss Universe”, yes in 1983!

Through my work,  I see women and their vulnerabilities’ they feel about the way they think they look and this is where the most important work begins, to make them understand, yes, what their faces and bodies look like is important to feeling good, but it is not the ‘most important’.

The most important, is self-acceptance, and loving who you are. Self acceptance, is taking the time to understand who you really are, not what you were told as a little girl, but who you grew up to be, what you have achieved in your life to date, what you gave, and what you have received.

When I look at my life experiences at the age of 50, happy and sad, this is what stands out for me:

Having a happy childhood, saving enough money to buy my first car, getting my UE accredited, winning Miss Universe, travelling to amazing places and meeting incredible people, starting my own business at 20, getting married at 21, having loved ones pass, especially my Dad at 24, falling pregnant and giving birth to two healthy children, becoming a Mother and knowing that role is forever, getting divorced after 14 years of marriage, parenting two children mostly on my own as all of my family lived in a different city, discovering a love for dancing Argentinean tango, meeting and working with incredible women through my image consultancy business, winning DWTS, falling in love again, getting married for a second time, blended families, dealing with endometriosis, my Mum getting breast cancer, being an ambassador for Child Cancer and now The Breast Cancer Foundation, my husband getting cancer, my daughter at 16 leaving home to live in Australia to study dance.

Along the way, I have had counselling with a psychologist when I needed some guidance to help understand myself more. I have life long friends who love and support me and I know the value of those faithful friends. Through all of these experiences to date, I have come to understand and know in my heart, my connection to a higher source is the most important to my existence as it is my eternal guide, which helps me find my purpose in my life.

How I feel about myself is so not about my looks, it’s about me knowing I have had some wonderful life experiences, and some very tough life experiences and through it all I have grown into the woman I am today and I am proud of it, and there’s more learning and growing to discover. It’s all those life experiences that I know have given me my own ‘essence’ of who I am, that’s what I feel defines me, not the way I look. And I believe that is the same for all women.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand the importance of looking good because it makes you feel good, but this comes in a way of looking after yourself, eating healthy, exercising, living a truthful life so you sleep at night, wearing your right colours and clothes that suit your own bodyshape. But self-esteem and how you feel about all of you starts from knowing who you are and self-acceptance.

I have the utmost respect for all women and what I want for all women, is to love who they are, not who they think they should be or how they should look, as we all have our gifts to share with others that we are all have blessed with, and we all deserve to know we all have a special unique essence that is nobody else’s but our own.

So what’s your ‘Essence’?