As little children we listened to our parents and received their feedback as truths about ourselves and others. Their messages were either positive or negative, yet we took them in and used them to define ourselves.
We heard such remarks as:
“You are such a good girl” or “You are such a bad girl.”
“Your brother Johnny is so smart.”
“Show Mrs. Jones how many times you can skip rope without missing.”
Children hear those comments as measures of their worth. Then they live their lives, looking to others to determine their value through comparison and competition. “She is prettier.” “I am smarter.” “He is a better athlete.” “I am a better artist.” This is the process through which we define ourselves. Our self-talk is constant.
- Can you imagine simply focusing on what you want for yourself and going for it?
- Can you imagine living your life admiring the talents of others, whether they are your strengths or not?
- Can you imagine developing those abilities that you desire, and strengthening those weaknesses that undermine your self-confidence?
Women in particular are focused on their bodies, and are often far more harsh with themselves than they would ever be to another. Belonging to a group of thousands of women gave me an opportunity to hear the contempt with which many women judge their bodies.
“I am too heavy.” “My thighs are too fat.” “My breasts are too small.” “My belly sticks out.” “My butt is too big.” Endless put-downs. How many times a day do we repeat those messages to ourselves?
I call this self-hatred — words that you would never say to another.
How can we grow to love our bodies even if they are not as perfect as we wish? How can we grow to love our bodies so that we can take better care of them? We don’t take care of what we hate. We do take care of what we love.
I have a suggestion. When you wake up in the morning, go to the mirror, look at yourself and say:
“Good morning beautiful.”
Look directly into your eyes and tell yourself:
“I am a beautiful woman. My eyes are beautiful.”
Smile at yourself and say: “I love my smile. I wish myself a great day.”
After several days, when that feels natural to you, start from the beginning and add another compliment such as: “My hair is beautiful.” Continue with a smile and wish yourself a great day. Through time, you will come to feel which parts of your body need this affirmation most.
Your positive self-talk is so powerful that it boomerangs back at you. Not immediately, but within a short while, if you stay with it. I found that after I did this for some time, people began to feed back to me exactly what I had been saying to myself.
My message is that the feedback you receive from the world starts with you! Be careful of what you say to yourself. You are the source and the world is your echo.