I don’t know why I don’t do this more often.
Wow, this was a challenge. Is it really sad that this took a conscious effort to say nice things to myself? Apparently, I’m kind of mean on a regular basis. When I look in the mirror, I focus on the “flaws” that I see. If my pants are fitting tighter than usual or I’m having a breakout or the circles under my eyes look darker than usual, I’ll sigh and think to myself, I wish I looked better.
I even have a hard time accepting praise from other people. I’ll brush off compliments with an unnecessary explanation, but I’m the first to internalize any criticism.
I became aware of how detrimental my negative self-talk can be when a friend told me it made me less attractive and not so fun to be around. She said that nobody else notices the “flaws” that I speak of and if I can’t take a compliment it makes people not want to give them to me anymore.
When people feel good about themselves, it’s infectious. When they don’t, it’s a repellant. There’s a reason Eeyore, the pessimistic donkey in Winnie the Pooh, is always off by himself. Pity parties are best enjoyed solo.
I don’t want to be like Eeyore. I don’t want to push away my friends with my sad-sack attitude about myself. So, I tried to be nicer to myself. I focused on only giving myself compliments with no critiques for a full day. This is how it went.
Instead of starting my morning run with thoughts of how much I hope it will help me lose weight, because I hate my thighs, I thought about how great I felt that I woke up early to do it. I felt lucky to live right next to such a nice park that I can run around. I enjoyed every step because I was happy to be able to do it. I ended the run feeling more energized because I focused on positive thoughts instead of negative ones.
I usually pick myself apart in the mirror before I take a shower, but today I skipped the mirror and instead just tried to focus on the parts of my body that I like while I was washing up.
I washed my hair thinking that I love my curly hair. As I scrubbed my stomach, I complimented my small waist. While washing my face, I remembered my cystic acne from when I was in college and was so happy that my skin was relatively smooth now. I got out of the shower feeling good about myself.
Getting dressed is always a problem for me, because if something doesn’t fit perfectly or like I think it should to be flattering, I can spiral into thinking I’m just so hideous.
In order to bypass that altogether, I just picked my favorite spring dress that always fits and makes me feel beautiful. Easy. No struggles on what to wear. My closet should be filled with clothes like that.
I looked in the mirror, told myself I looked pretty great and I believed it. If you only tell yourself to see the positives, it can change your entire mindset.
When I got in my car, I commended my driving skills, because I’ve only gotten in one accident since I was 16 and that wasn’t even my fault. I even snuck a peek at myself in the rear view mirror and thought, Ok! I look cute today! Even just the thought made me smile.
I sang along to a song on my playlist and thought, I don’t sound too bad. If I took voice lessons, I might just be unstoppable. Not all compliments have to be grounded in reality, but it felt good to think it. It even made me laugh out loud. Laughing at yourself is a pretty amazing joy.
When I was in class that evening, I got a paper back with a 98% score. Normal me would have been hung up on that 2% and probably would have gone up to the teacher at the end of class to ask about it. But on this day, I didn’t. I thought I was a pretty kick-ass student and I truly didn’t care about that 2%.
By the time I got home, I can honestly say I felt lighter than I usually do. Showering myself with compliments all day boosted me up. It put me in a great mood all day. I think that mood showed to others as well.
I had a couple people tell me that I looked happy, which made me feel even better. I also found myself taking compliments in stride. I believed them, which is key. I smiled, said ‘thank you’ and kept moving.
I’m going to make a conscious effort to do this more often. Obviously, I still had moments when little self-critiques tried to creep back in my mind, but I never let them stay around too long. Negativity is draining, especially if it’s consuming your thoughts. I need to be nicer to myself and I know that I can be.
It takes work, but the work is worth my well-being. If you find yourself stuck in a cycle of negative self-talk, I suggest this challenge. Try to only compliment yourself for a full day. I’m sure you will notice a change. Be kind to yourself. You deserve it.