All too often how we women feel about ourselves depends on how others view us, their opinions of us, and/or the labels they place upon us. You know those labels. You’re not skinny enough. You can’t do this or that. You’re not smart enough. You’re not pretty enough. You’re not… enough. I’m of the mindset that how you feel about yourself has less to do about how others feel about you and more to do with how you feel about yourself. There will always be folks who feel you don’t meet their standards. The mirror in which they view you will always be shattered. Always. So, why bother?
We bother, because being liked, included, and valued are natural feelings to have. As human beings, regardless of how confident we are, being accepted is important to our mental well-being. I get it. The majority of us don’t live on an island by ourselves. Even if we did, to say the least, it would not be a healthy disposition to find ourselves in.
Sadly, living on any island alone would not help anyone who is lacking a positive view of themselves. That old adage of “You can’t run away from your problems.” is true. Further, you can’t run away from yourself if you don’t like you. Until we feel good about ourselves, there is nowhere to run or hide.
Back to the shattered mirror. So, how can you fix that mirror? You can’t. But, what you can do is get yourself a new damn mirror. And every day, stare into that mirror and tell yourself “I am beautiful. I love me. Every curve. Every inch from the top of your head to the soles of your feet.” Recognize that you are unique. There is no other woman like you!
One of my favorite quotes is “Don’t trade your authenticity for approval.” This quote speaks to the acts of betrayal that we women commit against ourselves every time we try to fit in. Every time we try to be someone that we are not. Every time we put more value on what others think of us than what we think of ourselves. Every time we said yes, but what we really wanted to say was no. What we don’t realize is each and every time we do this, we are putting more and more cracks in that mirror, and by doing so, it becomes increasingly difficult to see our true selves. Our own authenticity. How can we? Have you ever tried to look in a bathroom mirror immediately after taking a hot shower? It is almost impossible to see the fullness of yourself in the mirror without wiping away the condensation with your hand or a towel. Without doing so, we can only catch a glimmer of ourselves until the steam dissipates.
Besides getting yourself a new mirror, consider surrounding yourself with a new tribe of folk that are willing to support and build you up, instead of tearing you down. If you are already not feeling great about yourself (for whatever reason), surrounding yourself with a bunch of naysayers who constantly point out your flaws is like pouring alcohol on an open wound. If you’re like me, you already know your faults. You don’t need or want anyone to continually highlight or harp on them. Quite the opposite, you want to be around people who are attracted to your light; your authenticity. Now, let’s be frank. If you’re an asshole then you probably need someone, preferably someone you trust, to tell you about yourself.
This is the real deal right here. We all have something that we don’t like about ourselves. If you don’t like it and you can’t live with it, then make a change. Do the work. I don’t like my nose, but it’s the nose that I was born with, and I have decided that I can live with it for the rest of my life. Getting a nose job is not on my list. I used to have a gap in between my two front teeth. Ever since I could remember I hated to smile, because I thought the gap was unattractive. I’ve had so many people tell me they thought the gap was sexy. But, the gap did not meet MY standards, so eventually I got braces, because it was something that I wanted for ME, not for anyone else.
Perhaps, the things you want to change are not physical, but are much deeper. Again, do the work to make the change you are committed to making.
Any self-improvement should start with some healthy self-reflection. I like to write, so I tend to lean towards starting with the pros and cons of anything that I want to improve or achieve. If the pros of making a change outweigh the cons, I will proceed to develop an action plan to help me achieve my goals. My action plan will include all the actions and resources I will need to achieve my goals. Getting my thoughts and ideas on paper helps me to reflect on the personal strengths I can bring to bear to achieve my goals, as well as the obstacles that I need to overcome. For me, it is important that I establish a timeline with milestones (checkpoints) to help me monitor my progress towards achieving my goals. Having milestones allows me to celebrate the small wins that add up to success. This motivates me to keep going and it can do the same for you too.
On any journey of self-improvement, it is important to accept that there will be slip ups and slow-downs. A setback is not a sign of defeat. Defeat can only happen if you stop, so keep going. You will be farther along in reaching your goals than you were yesterday if you start.
Most importantly do it for you. If you’re not doing it for you, then don’t do it. Be authentically you. Damn that shatter mirror and live your best life.