How many times during any given week do you look in the mirror and criticize your appearance in one way or another? I won't lie, I do it several times a day, because most of the time I just don't feel I live up to the standard of beauty ingrained in my mind.
But after hearing about a woman with breast cancer who is hoping to change the way women see beauty once and for all, I can't help but feel pretty darn shameful for not appreciating and accepting the way I look, even if I don't think I come close to measuring up to what society deems as beautiful.
At just 35, Jill Brzezinski-Conley has already endured breast cancer, had a double mastectomy, went into remission, and is now suffering from stage-4 breast cancer that has spread to her bones -- and it's incurable.
And even though her world has been absolutely turned upside down, she's still made it her mission to inspire, uplift, and comfort other cancer sufferers, by encouraging them to feel beautiful in their own skin.
Jill asked her good friend, Nikki Closser, who happens to be a wedding photographer, to take pictures of her breasts in the hopes of submitting them to magazines for breast cancer awareness month -- because "the media never shows what breast cancer looks like."
After taking the photos, Nikki emailed them to Australian portrait photographer, Sue Bryce, and also told her about everything Jill has been through, and her wishes for helping and inspiring others. What happened next was nothing short of incredible -- Sue offered Jill a photo shoot in Paris to help her achieve her dream.
Take a look at this video to hear Jill's whole story, which is humbling and amazing.
Wow. Just ... wow.
And you know what? When I watch Jill in that video, I don't see a woman with cancer. I see a vibrant, passionate woman who is not only beautiful on the outside, but on the inside as well.
I see a woman I'd be proud to know. I see a woman I want to strive to be more like. And I see someone who truly loves herself and those around her wholeheartedly. I see beauty, truth, and pure goodness.
And thanks to her willingness to share her journey, hopefully a lot of other women will too.
What moved you most about Jill's story?
Image via Vimeo