3 min read

The biggest transformation of my life so far

Probably the biggest transformation I’ve experienced in my life was when I went from feeling miserable and pressured about my appearance all the time to feeling completely unconcerned about it.  

This change happened around six years ago when I was 40 years old. (It's 2024 at time of writing.) 

How that transformation actually happened: the process of change

So, how did it happen?  In some ways, it feels like a mysterious miracle.  And yet, the actual process is pretty simple.  It goes something like this…

I went from:

  • Having a set of painful, limiting beliefs that looked true.
  • Taking those beliefs very seriously.  
  • Not realising that they were beliefs.  (I thought they were objective facts.)


  • Realising that my experience of life was mediated by my thoughts.  (We don’t directly experience life. We experience our thoughts about life.)
  • Recognising that my experience of my appearance therefore wasn’t coming from the way my body looked, but instead was coming from believing my painful thoughts about my appearance.
  • Realising that I’d picked up a lot of the thoughts I had about my looks from society.  I had LEARNT these ways of perceiving appearance throughout my life.
  • Realising that if I had learnt them, I could UNLEARN them.
  • Getting curious about different perspectives and being open to something new.
  • Taking my old, conditioned thoughts less seriously.
  • Getting more comfortable with, and unafraid of, feeling discomfort, knowing that it's not a sign that there's something wrong with my body, but rather it's a sign that I'm under the spell of punitive and misguided ideas about what beauty is, and where our value is derived.
  • Offering compassion to myself when I was gripped by painful lies about my body.  Learning to self-soothe with kindness.
  • Discovering more of who I truly was beneath and beyond all my conditioned thoughts and finding everything I was looking for was within me.

And that’s it!  

Then slowly over time the old thoughts stopped coming, and I was free of suffering in this area.

illustration of a person with flowers in their head

My healing transformation does not mean that none of the 'old' habitual negative thoughts or painful feelings about my body never visit me.

For the sake of clarity, I want to emphasise that freedom from suffering in this area does not mean that I never get the old thoughts about my body anymore.  And in the early days of my recovery, they would still be accompanied by painful feelings.

However, what's different now is that I relate to those thoughts differently.  And I respond to them differently.  I don't worry about them.  I'm not particularly interested in them.  And if I ever get sucked into giving them attention, I let them go as soon as I realise what's happened.  

I'm no longer afraid of judgemental thoughts about my body.

I'm not afraid of the thoughts anymore, and I'm not afraid of any feelings that might come with them because deep down I know that the whole experience is a legacy of conditioning that holds no interest for me.  

I'm interested in love, kindness, learning, growth, fun and joy.  I'm interested in living a good life.  And I've seen beyond a shadow of a doubt that judgemental beliefs about how bodies should look form no part of such a life.  If I forget that now and again because I'm human, that's ok.  As soon as I remember, I can get on with focussing on things I truly care about, and allow wellbeing to return.

What about 'feeling' beautiful?

People who struggle with negative thoughts and feelings about their appearance tend to think that that 'feeling beautiful' is what will make them happy. 

But that is not how I'd describe what defines my experience of healing so far.  

Instead, my journey towards health in this area has taken me in the direction of seeing the beauty of life as a whole, and trusting that my beauty is assured through being a part of that life.

Sometimes I may see my beauty, especially when I feel compassion and appreciation for myself, and the way that life is uniquely expressing itself through me as an individual.

But my healing has been more defined as moving away from an obsession with myself as a separate entity in need of validation and moving towards a feeling of belonging to a greater whole.  This gives me a deeper sense of security and fulfilment that often manifests as feelings of awe and wonder about life itself, of which I am lucky to be a part.

Craving to 'feel beautiful' stems from ignorance of the fact that our beauty is a given through our very existence.  Yes, we can do things to make the world uglier, but our potential for love, creativity and wisdom is an integral part of who we are, and never leaves us.  And that's what makes us beautiful.  

Knowing this deeply has given me an experience of beauty, but it has nothing to do with conforming with societal standards for how my body should look, garnering approval, admiration, praise or jealousy for my appearance from other people, or getting people to lust after me.  It is much quieter and more wonderful than that.

If you'd like to read more about my views on how people change, check out my post, Are you open to change? What if you're not? And how do people really change anyway?


  • Being unafraid of my own thoughts and feelings is a wonderful gift that has transformed my life.
  • Knowing that I am more than habitual, conditioned, unhealthy thoughts is freeing and empowering.
  • My healing transformation in the area of my appearance has shown me the potential for growth and change in other areas of life.  I continue to enjoy learning more about who I truly am and how I can share that with the world, both for my own enjoyment, and to serve the greater good.

And now it's over to you.  Tell me about your experience of change.

  • Is there an area of your life where you've experienced a transformation that doesn't require any effort to maintain?  
  • Can you describe how that process of change unfolded?
  • Can you differentiate between transient experiences (thoughts & feelings) and your identity?  Who are you if you are not defined by your experiences?

Let me know in the comment box below.  I'd love to hear about your experience and perspective.

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If you'd like my support in achieving your own healing transformation in relation to your body image, check out my free resources or find out how you can work with me.

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