Negative self-talk regarding the way we look.
For me it dates back a long time. Perhaps it started from my mother (and I say this merely as an examination of the potential source without any blame or responsibility placed upon her as we are all responsible for ourselves) always telling me that inner beauty is the real essence and what defines beauty; perhaps it begun with her overly focusing on the within versus the outer, on the mind and the spirit…all of which was well-intentional, indeed great and a theory I couldn’t agree more with…
Yet somewhere somehow this little girl’s sensitive soul and innocent brain misinterpreted all of that to somehow mean that I ought to place little or no self-love to my outer appearance. Perhaps it’s something I brought with me. Perhaps I needed a boost more than anything else when it came to the field of my looks and hearing only about my inner beauty wasn’t what I needed. Perhaps…
I know well by now that self-love is not selective but spherical. It begins and ends from loving ourselves as a whole and that of course includes the way we look.
Years ago I attended a workshop of holistic cyprus and amongst other exercises, we were told to look in a pocket mirror placed in front of us and take 5 minutes of not looking away from it but only observing what comes up. Those 5 minutes felt endless and tormenting. The conversation I had with myself was awkward and unpleasant to say the least. There was judgement and roughness and barely any love and tenderness. I realised then and there that I had work to do.
I brushed through that work over the next couple of years until one day I heard my firstborn daughter ask me: “Mum, am I not beautiful on the outside?” Puzzled I replied “Of course you are” to which she casually responded “Oh, then how come you always talk to me about my inside beauty and never of my outside? You never tell me I look beautiful…am I bad-looking?” I was shocked.
I swiftly traveled back in time and heard myself repeating that childhood inner tape of mine to my girl. My conditioned mind had led me to reiterate and reflect that old tape onto her. I came really eye to eye with that destructive self-talk for the first time. Tête-à-tête with the sad reality that any lack of compassionate, confident and kind talk with ourselves can do nothing but harm. Even if it has to do with something as superficial as our outer looks, it still has to be done with love and from a place of love. Loving ourselves means all of ourselves; it cannot be partial, otherwise it can result into rooky paths, hurdles and imbalance.
I made a promise to myself then and there to end it. To try my best to shift my brain and rewire it. To be more alert and quick to catch it whenever it comes up. And not only…For my daughter (for her more than for me) I’d go a step further. I’d make an effort to talk nicely and kindly to myself every day. So that she can sense it in me. So my gaze can reflect that message to her whenever I lay eyes on her.
It doesn’t take much and it surely doesn’t mean you need to convince yourself of being the most beautiful being out there. It’s about replacing that judgment and resentment with love and appreciation. It’s about truly being grateful for everything you have, beginning with things taken for granted such as your sight, smell, taste, voice! It’s about waking up and taking 5 seconds to look at yourself in the mirror and giving yourself a wide smile.
It’s as simple as placing your hand on your heart and saying “Please forgive me. I love you. You are doing good. You’re beautiful. You shine your unique and special light onto this world.” Seeing the beauty and glow in you, means you are then in a better position to see it in others too.
I’d be lying if I said I’ve mastered it but it’s a work-in-progress and I’m optimistic since being aware of it is the number one most important part of any issue.
This sweet tune I run into was something I loved as it spoke to me. It reminded me of my aforesaid aim. It reminded me of the daily exercise I need to do to reach to that truth. It reminded me of the sweet “I love me” message I need to ensure my daughter tells herself by being a living example of it. I don’t resent this experience as it made humble and it made me learn and grow. Besides, I reckon I’ve managed to become aware of it quite early on and to remedy it quite fast. And if I can do it, so can you! 💋
Love and Light,
Tania Pirilidou Karatsi