Our internal dialogue is a funny ol’ thing. It takes us on a journey each and every day – bigging us up during our triumphs, sending us into wallowing states of despair at other times, that pesky little voice dictates how we feel about ourselves for better or worse. Many let the words of others weigh in on their personal value but I disagree – people should really be able to say whatever they want about you, but it’s only how you feel about yourself that matters (I’m not saying people should be complete assholes to you but ultimately, how that effects you says more about you than them). What I’ve noticed, especially among women is that the negative voice chatters loudly away under the surface and I got to thinking the other day, why are we so mean to ourselves?
I think it’s the case for a lot of women that no one could ever be harder on us than we are on ourselves. I know so many women with self esteem issues on some level, it’s crazy. Forget something on the shopping list and we’re idiots, our child falls over and we’re bad mothers, mess up at work and we’re stupid, miss a workout and we’re fat, don’t look like a model and we’re ugly – the standards to which we hold ourselves are so high that the slightest mess up has our internal dialogue automatically jumping to how crappy a person we are.
And I say enough of this madness! If someone else were to say those things to you, you’d say they’re mean – so why is it OK to say it to yourself? If you heard another woman speaking that way about herself, you’d tell her not to be silly, that she’s wonderful, that she has all sorts of things going for herself. I see it all the time – especially on Twitter. That’s one of the wonderful things about an online community – see a fellow sister falling and we’ll pick each other right back up. I’ve seen women complain about how fat they are and other women jump to their defense and tell them not to be ridiculous and they rally around that person until they feel good again. That’s a pretty beautiful thing. But why can’t we do it for ourselves?
It’s not egotistical to give yourself a pat on the back. You don’t get points for thinking you’re crap. That’s a very British thing by the way – all this self deprecation. ‘If I get in there and say how rubbish I am first, I beat everyone else to the punch line.’ This is nonsense! It is not an attractive trait to constantly think negative things about yourself and assume others will. I understand this is not a problem that can be overcome easily but how about we start here:
Apologise to yourself for every mean thing you’ve ever said to yourself. Oh sure, this may all be hippy, chakra-aligning, incense-burning clap trap to you, but really think about it for a second. Every time you’ve told yourself you’re not good enough, you don’t deserve something, you’re fat, ugly, a bad parent, sister, friend, worthless, unworthy of love and kindness – apologise to yourself right now for being so mean, for being so hard on yourself. Because you know what, take a look at the sum total of your life and you don’t deserve the grief you give yourself.
Unless you’re a mass murderer, I’d venture to say you’re a good person. Write a list of what you like about yourself. Each day, write a little about what you’re thankful for and something good you’ve done because hey, sometimes we all need a little reminder.
Start learning to love who you are and celebrate your victories no matter how small they are. There’s really nothing more important in life than being comfortable with who you are.