“Wow I look bad in that picture”
“Ugh this dress makes my butt look weird”
“I’m having a bad face day”
Okay the last one might have you going “huh?” but I’ll admit I have definitely said that one to myself. How many of you can remember the last time you said something negative to yourself? Now think of the last time you might have expressed something positive about yourself. If the answer to the first one came quick while the answer to the second one required some thought…then Houston we have a problem. Over the years of having experiences and just plain working in the mental health field I realized how common it is that we focus on the negatives. We could have 3 positive things going on but the one thing I’m focusing on is how my hair is just not working today. Let’s have story time shall we as to why I decided this was an important post to write. So a couple of weeks ago a friend of mine asked if I could help her choose some outfits; going shopping and someone else spending money, “I’m there” I thought to myself. As we walked around the store I picked up a few things and to my surprise she was open to trying most of what I picked up which was great! They were colours she had never worn and pants she would never think to try but yay she was being open minded. So now after picking about 50 things we finally made our way to the fitting rooms. As expected a few things worked and other things didn’t but I started to notice a bit of a pattern. As she showed me an outfit a comment like: “my butt looks weird in this” followed. I even wondered to myself if we were looking in the same mirror. When she loved something the credit all went to the clothing “wow these pants are great” but the negative comment was always finding a fault in herself. Seems unfair. Inspiration for my post came from this particular interaction. A few questions flooded my mind: “why is she not seeing what I’m seeing?”, “why are all her negative comments directed to herself?” and “why is she not focusing on what’s working?” Okay so the answers to some of these might be obvious but let’s explore together:
“Why is she not seeing what I’m seeing?”
Well maybe because I am bringing an outside perspective. I don’t see the things that she might feel self conscious about. When I look at her I just look at her and what she’s wearing. When she looks at her she sees everything.
“Why are all her negative comments directed to herself?”
Well maybe because we are our biggest critic. I’m not going to blame someone else or the clothes, I’m going to blame me.
“Why is she not focusing on what’s working?”
Well maybe because that takes effort. As bad as it sounds we almost automatically focus on the challenges or the unhelpful ways of thinking. How do I fix what’s broken rather than hey at least I have this that’s working.
A more recent experience in the fitting room showed me that this wasn’t just my friend; I overheard conversations in the fitting room which helped me realize this was a common issue. So now after this whole experience with her what did I tell her? Well I told her a strategy I use when I shop. Of course I have my own insecurities about certain things as well but I am giving a lot of power to a piece of clothing when I allow it to make me feel upset about how I look. My strategy: I tell myself “f these pants”. Why do I say that? Because they didn’t work for me. I’m not blaming myself for the pants not working, rather I am accepting that these weren’t the pants for me.
Somehow negative comments are normal but positive comments are equated to bragging. Well how about we give ourselves these bragging rights. Instead of seeking external validation let’s look for some internal satisfaction. Is my makeup making me feel good? HECK YA. Do I need to make sure others like it? HECK NO. So next time you find yourself focusing on all that’s not working, I want you to take a second and think about even one thing that you’re loving. You go out one night and your hair isn’t working, your makeup didn’t go how you wanted but you still wore that gorgeous skirt you love? Well I’m going to focus on how great this skirt looks on ME and how great it makes ME feel- my makeup and hair not working doesn’t have the power to take that feeling away from me. People talk heavily about keeping in check about how we talk to others, I would like to urge people to check how they talk to themselves as well; don’t carry your bully with you. Ellen ends her show by saying “be kind to one another”, I’m going to end this post by saying find ways to be kind to yourself. Until next time ♥️
Denim Jacket: Zara Cami: Zara Jeans: Zara Shoes: Aldo