I don’t know why or how it started. I just know that from as far back as I can remember, when I looked in the mirror I would cringe. All I could see were my flaws. In my eyes, I didn’t have one redeeming physical quality. Having four older sisters, I heard plenty of negative talk when they looked in the mirror too. There wasn’t a healthy self image among us. So it became the most natural, normal thing in the world for me to criticize myself and even call myself loser. On a daily basis!! And Heaven forbid I should accidentally catch sight of my reflection in any random mirror as I walked through the mall! That could really bring me down. And the sad thing is that these same things are true for a large percentage of women today.
Lucky for me, a few years ago I found EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) or ‘tapping’ as it’s often called. I didn’t set out to tap on my lack of self love, because at that point, I didn’t even realize it was such a bad thing. But as time progressed, I started feeling uneasy when I put myself down. I started to understand that nothing good could ever come from calling myself ‘loser’. At that point, I consciously began to tap on my low opinion of myself and I came to five important realizations:
1. It’s not conceited to think positive thoughts about myself.
Part of the reason I could never praise myself or even let a chance to criticize myself pass by was because I felt it would be conceited to do so. What would people think of me if I didn’t put myself down like everyone does? What would they think if I actually complimented myself? Probably that my ego was too big to measure. And for some reason it mattered to me if other people thought I was conceited. I let that thought slide away, realizing that I couldn’t let other people dictate my own beliefs.
2. It’s not important for other people to think I’m beautiful, as long as I think it.
Prior to my huge shift, in my mind, it was a very clear cut situation. I could see by society’s standards that I was not beautiful so there was no need for discussion. I simply was not beautiful, case closed. But suddenly one day I woke up and looked in the mirror and I thought I looked pretty. It was the most amazing thing I’ve ever experienced. And it was at that point I realized that it didn’t matter what measuring stick society was using. It couldn’t stop me from saying ‘hello beautiful’ to my own reflection each morning and truly meaning it!
3. I am as important and deserving of love as anyone else in my life.
I used to spend all my time building others up while I was tearing myself down. An accomplishment by someone else would deserve praise, but an accomplishment by me would meet with internal criticism and derision. Why?? Why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we treat ourselves badly and speak to ourselves in a way that we wouldn’t dream of speaking to anyone else in our lives? That is a ridiculous double standard to which I can no longer give credence. What I came to realize is that kindness to oneself is not a luxury or a sin, it is a necessity. We must show ourselves the same love we show to everyone else in the world.
4. It’s Ok to accept a compliment.
We all know about this one! If someone paid me a compliment, I would shrug it off like it was nothing. Like many people, I would deny whatever credit I was given. Oh no, it was nothing… I was nothing special. Not true! We are all very special. Take every compliment to heart, receive it, accept it and breathe it in. It is wonderful to accept praise. What could be wrong with it? I know, it’s that same conceit issue we dealt with in realization #1. But that’s an old thought that no longer holds water. Face it, we’re all wonderful, so start accepting the compliments!
5. I really am beautiful.
It’s true, I am. As mentioned earlier, it’s not important that you agree. I have come to the point where I see myself in the mirror and smile – all the time. I actually see myself as beautiful. It’s not that I’ve had cosmetic surgery or lost 50 lbs. Nothing has changed but my perspective. It still amazes me. And my life has changed in many ways for the better because of it. My self-confidence soars compared to what it used to be, and limiting beliefs are being left behind bit by bit as l keep working on it. I believe that my new ability to love myself completely will be the catalyst to many new adventures in my life and I hope that all of you are open to this same shift. I’m living proof that it is possible!