Relationships can make you very insecure, and wondering how someone else feels about you is hard not to do. But what’s most important is how you feel about you. I mean what you say to yourself when you look in the mirror, or when something doesn’t go the way you want. Are you kind and supportive like you would be to someone else? Or are you critical and negative, ripping yourself apart? Your thoughts create your feelings, so what you say to yourself creates your self-image, which then influences how you behave. Therefore, self-directed tough love isn’t helpful to your self-esteem —or your relationships.
Some of my clients have tried to reason they’re just “being real” when they call out the things they consider unattractive about their appearance. That’s just evidence that beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. It all depends on how you define beauty. Some people like tall, some prefer short; some like blue eyes, other prefer green. Is someone fat, or are they curvy? Just because it’s not your first choice, that doesn’t mean someone else doesn’t love it. What’s most important is that you think something that allows you to feel good about yourself.
My own personal truth about that is as a teenager I began making a living as a model. For the next twenty years I struggled to keep myself thin for my bookings. I have lots of published photos of me in my bathing suit like the one on the left. I vividly remember thinking I looked “fat” when I first saw that. I’m the one in the middle in the white bikini. Even just a few years later I thought, “I look great!” I can’t believe I thought I was fat.
It’s helpful if you don’t compare yourself to other people. Trust me, at 5′ 6″ I was always comparing myself to taller models. I’m also the shortest girl in that old K-Mart Ad. It just made me feel insecure. However, I was chosen for that ad, so the client obviously thought I looked good. It genuinely is all about perception. You are what you think you are. You have free will to think whatever you choose. So why chose to think something mean?
At this age I have now fully embraced my height. For real life my height doesn’t matter, and I’ve learned to keep my internal dialogue positive. I now don’t say anything to myself that I wouldn’t say to another person. I enjoy helping clients think better thoughts about them too. That’s why I’m encouraging you to try being kind to yourself. So you feel good about you.
Just to clarify I’m not talking about how you feel about your ability to do something, that’s confidence. Confidence is different from self-esteem. I have met (and coached) a lot of very successful people who had tremendous confidence in their work accomplishments, but low self-esteem in that they struggle to feel lovable. They hate to be alone because they are uncomfortable with their own feelings about themselves. Unfortunately, I feel that there is an epidemic of low self-esteem in this country.
Most of my clients who come to me for help after a breakup are feeling bad about themselves because their partner left them. Believe me I truly understand how painful it is to get over an ex you really loved. But the person you need to love most is you. That starts with the things you tell yourself.
When you look in the mirror make sure you find the things that are beautiful about you. Everyone on the face of this Earth is beautiful, and we’re all different. That difference is what makes us unique. Embrace your differences and tell yourself you’re gorgeous. Pretty soon you’ll notice you hold yourself a little straighter, and have a pep in your step. Because you feel good about you. Which in turn helps your partner feel great about you.