What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you focus only on the flaws or do you focus on your whole being?
Much like a heat seeking missile, our eyes unthinkingly tend to gravitate towards the cellulite, skin blemishes and boobs that have probably seen perkier days (and that includes you blokes). But over and above the physical what do you see? Do you see a person who looks his or her age but accepts themselves, including the flaws or do you see a person who avoids looking at themselves in the mirror and doubts aspects of their self-worth?
The fact is that most of us would change some aspect of our appearance if we had the choice to do it pain and cost free. What I’m talking about in today’s post goes deeper than physical appearance. It goes to our core and the issue of self-belief. The physical is but one facet of this.
In the interests of full disclosure I am declaring that my self-esteem was a hard one victory. And given the journey that was needed to claim that victory I’m going to do whatever I can to defend it. This is not to say I have to always be right or win or that I can’t practice humility – those elements are tied to ego. Rather, what I am not going to do is hand over the means by which my self-esteem can be undermined. Despite how far I have come in my own personal journey, I almost recently did just that by crediting the negative talk that was being thrown at me. I felt myself slipping into old habits and seeking acceptance and it just didn’t feel right. So I yanked hard on my personal joystick and pulled out of the free fall. As it so happened the negative talk had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the fear that the person saying them felt about the situation.
Just to be clear, negative talk is deigned to hurt, manipulate and undermine. It is to be contrasted to constructive feedback. Just like a Hallmark card giving constructive feedback means the giver cares enough to want to help you change your situation. It is a gift.
By listening to the negetive talk I almost bought into believing that I was less than I am. And why? Because the negative external talk triggered the negative self-talk and doubts started to creep in. It was such an emphatic lesson.
We can’t control what other people say to us. We can control what we hear and we can control how we perceive.
We can also control our inner dialogue.
So I choose positive self-talk and self-acceptance and I do so consciously. The added benefit is that I am beginning to recognise the signs when I am moving away from that position and can take corrective action.
They say that writing is a muscle you should exercise daily. I believe the same can be said for self-acceptance.
It is important to surround yourself with friends and those who support you. Make sure one of them is YOU, you will never again feel alone.
The more you accept yourself, the less you need to seek acceptance from others. And there is tremendous freedom in reaching the point where external approval doesn’t matter. There is only one person who can valuidate you and that’s the person in the mirror.
Today I give myself permission to practice self-acceptance.