There is no bigger blow to the self-esteem of most women than trying on a bathing suit in a department store. The unflattering lighting, the awkward mirror, having a chance to see up close what your physical flaws are, and the fact that it nearly always happens during cold weather combine to create one of the world’s worst shopping moments. Now, consider what it would be like to try on a bathing suit in a wonderfully lit room, with a slightly angled mirror that accentuates your assets, after you have tanned, waxed, and worked out. How would you feel about the experience then?
Truth be told, the two experiences are not that far apart. Sure, the lighting and mirror are different, but how you feel about yourself is greatly molded by how you think, rather than any other external factor. But how do you change how you think when the voice inside your head telling you, “You are not enough” is so loud?
Stop Looking For Your Worth In External Sources
You are more than what you wear, what you drive, who you date, and the title you hold at work. Once you stop allowing yourself to be defined by external sources, you begin to focus on the resolute things that are truly important – your beliefs, your values, your personal qualities, your emotional intelligence. The process of turning inward releases the power any external forces have on you, freeing you to not only be who you truly are, but also be comfortable in your own skin.
Turn Off the Negative Voice in Your Head
This is often more difficult if you have allowed that voice to be loud and in control. Your mind might even resist only thinking positively for a while. Like all good habits, replacing negative thoughts takes time and effort. It may be as simple as catching yourself whenever you think the words “I can’t” and adding the word “yet” at the end. This simple addition allows for the potential for change. Thinking “I can’t run a marathon” is far less final than “I can’t run a marathon, yet.”
Comparison is the Thief of Joy
In other words, enough with the Joneses, whoever they actually are. Life is not a race, we are not trying to earn first place. In his book “Mere Christianity“, C.S. Lewis has a compelling quote about comparison, which he terms “pride”. He says, “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man… It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest.” Once we relinquish the need to compare our life’s journey with another, we also allow ourselves to truly be happy for the success of those around us.
From learning new skills to getting in shape, we are our own worst critic and our own worst enemy. We can only experience true happiness and success when we get out of our own way. Of course, having a great mirror and fantastic lighting always help.