Why are we so hard on ourself?
If you asked me all the things I hated about myself, I’d pour you some tea because it would take a while to list everything. Physical flaws, personality flaws, my weaknesses, my fears…I probably could spend all day picking myself apart. By the time it was over, I’d need to check into a mental hospital.
On the contrary, if you asked me to tell you something good about myself, I’d probably draw a blank – at least for a moment. I’d most likely come up with a few things, none of which would probably be a physical trait. Every time I’d begin to say something, I’d immediately think of how that could be better or how “it’s not really that great”. I could come up with a few good personality traits, moral traits and probably some professional strengths but, all in all, it would be one difficult task.
The Remodel Job: You Through YOUR Eyes
Why is it so hard to like ourself? I think it’s because we know our flaws better than anyone else, and can’t see how we look to others. Think of our body like our house. People can come to our house and brag on how pretty it is, compliment the decorating, etc but they aren’t inspecting it with a white glove. Only we know what is broken, how dusty the baseboards are and what parts have been neglected because we are the ones who see it up close every day. Despite what needs work, we make it as presentable as we can to share with others. This happens a lot in fitness. We work so hard to remodel ourselves, and maintain our body (like we do our house), that we are aware of our flaws even more.
The Archie Bunker Effect: You Through ANOTHER’s Voice
Another reason we are hard on ourself is because others can be hard on us. Think of Archie Bunker. We all remember what a jerk he was – a funny jerk, but a jerk still. Yet, we know he loved Edith. He adored her actually. However, he was so darn hard on everyone and rarely gave a compliment.
Unfortunately, our loved ones will sometimes point out our flaws more than our good traits, just like good ole Archie. Ironically, they probably could make a list a mile long of all your great traits. They SEE you better than you probably see yourself, but they often TELL you everything they don’t like a lot more. It’s like having one pimple on your face. If everyone points at it all the time, you can’t think of anything else besides that annoying pimple. You’ll feel ugly and want to hide, no matter how great the rest of you looks. But, the same person with the same pimple is much better if no one points it out. They’ll almost forget it’s there if people let them.
I’m not saying we should ignore our flaws – if they are something we can work on, we should be aware of them enough to want to work on them. I believe we should always want to improve. However, we can’t let them get us down because there are still SO many parts of you that are simply amazing.
Things to Consider:
1. You have great traits whether you see them or not. Others do. You just need to open your eyes.
2. When others point out flaws, they are normally the same few flaws they continue to point out. Tell them “you know, you’re working on it” and to be patient.
3. If you focus on correcting flaws every day, allot extra time to focus on your progress. If you need to pull out fat pictures, do it. If you need to keep a package of Ramen Noodles out to remember when you used to be broke, do it. Support a child in need and post his/her picture on the refrigerator to help keep a healthy perspective in life. Do whatever it takes to remind you where you came from so you aren’t so focused on where you are headed you forget to celebrate where you are.
4. Be thankful. Thank the Lord for everything you DO have and for everything you are. God made you and He thinks you are great. It’s hard to be ungrateful when you are talking to God. That’s like telling an artist you think their painting is ugly. Also, you can’t lie to Him and you can’t get him to feel sorry for you when there are people in the world who don’t know if they will survive another day without food. He knows just how truly blessed you are, and will quickly remind you too. You’ll find your mind and heart will open up in a unique way. He’ll help bring you back to reality. Before you know it, you’ll be overwhelmed with life, your health, your friends, your functioning body and all that you DO have that’s truly great.
Write down at least 5 things that you feel are amazing about yourself and write them down. Post it at your desk or vanity to remember every day. Share the love and tell a co-worker, friend or loved one at least 5 things you like about them and right them down so they can post it and remember they are awesome too!
17 years ago today, Steve asked me to “Be Mine” and I said yes. It was such an easy decision, I barely blinked an eye. There is a lot of love in the air around this time of year, but no matter how much love there is to go around, we often struggle to extend that same love to our own self. I have to admit, if my body said “Be Mine” I’d have to think twice. I mean, I can’t help but think there HAS to be a better body out there for me. If only I had the choice to pick it like we get to pick our mate.
If we could just see ourselves through our lover’s eyes. We would be so much easier on ourselves. We wouldn’t even notice the zit on our face or our love handles poking out of our jeans. We wouldn’t be staring at everything that is wrong, but we would be looking at all that was right. It would almost be like we were looking at a different person.
If only we could see ourselves like we see others. We extend our loved ones so much grace, yet we have none left for ourself. We harshly judge our body, so much so, we end up imprisoning ourselves with negative and irrational thoughts.
Even Heidi Klum can rip apart her own smile, yet all we see is beauty. How many times has someone said they wish they had something you had. They wish they had your hair, they wish they had your skin, or they wish they had your eyes. If you’re like me, these comments are hard to accept.
They are hard to accept because we honestly don’t see what they see. Not because it’s not there – but because we aren’t looking at it. We are so focused on all the crappy stuff, we literally aren’t even looking at the good stuff. However, the good stuff is still there, whether we recognize it or not, and it’s normally what everyone else sees first.
The problem with people who are actively working on the “flaws” in our life, is that they become focused on them. It’s difficult to work on something without focusing on it so much you actually become obsessed with it.
Think of marriage and relationships. You can’t just ignore each other’s flaws – there is a certain amount of work that is required to improve flaws so you can improve your marriage. However, you can easily become so focused on those flaws you begin to take everything else for granted. Before you know it, you can’t even see all the good stuff that made you fall in love to begin with.
This is exactly what happens to people who are working to improve their health and their body. The fat you once were accustomed to, and didn’t bother you as much as it does now, and although you probably even have less of it now, it’s all you see.
As you work and work to improve your flaws, it’s important you don’t become obsessed with them. Because you will never naturally think of all your positive attributes, you have to be purposeful when it comes to building yourself up. Our flaws will always try to steal the show so it’s up to us to close the curtain on them and put the spotlight on the real stars – all your awesome traits everyone else loves and you’ve forgotten.
Happy Valentine’s Day!