Self-talk is a critical component in building self-esteem and bringing us closer to the “best versions of ourselves.” I think we as women tend to fall into a trap of negative self-talk, because we’re constantly asked to compare ourselves to other women and ideals of femininity, and made to feel that we somehow don’t stack up. It can be hard to even determine how you talk to yourself because it’s so deeply ingrained in our psyche, that we’re sometimes unaware of how harshly we treat ourselves.
One of the most meaningful exercises I’ve found in identifying my self-talk is writing a letter about where I’m at: how I feel about myself, am I living up to the expectations I’ve set, am I going in the direction I plan, how do I think others view me? Now switch the pronouns from “I” to “he/she/they” as if this is someone else’s letter. How does it feel to hear someone talk about themselves in this way? Does it seem like they’re being too cruel and not giving themselves enough credit? So why do we talk about ourselves in a way that we would never talk about our loved ones?
This concept popped up once again for me about a month ago. A friend and I were all dolled up and taking pictures of each other around the city. To the outside eye, we both looked fabulous. And in our eyes, the other one looked so beautiful. But when we’d go over our pictures, we both hated the shots of ourselves that the other was showering with compliments. All we could see in our own pictures were the flaws we believed we had. But in each other, we were able to see beauty and how stunningly we had captured it.
What is it about your friends that draws you to them and makes you love and admire them? Maybe it’s their bubbly spirit, their loyalty, their determination. I doubt you’d say their hair, their perfect skin, their figure. So why do we struggle to see the beauty within ourselves that makes us unique and shine? If we shift our focus to identifying the strengths within ourselves, honing in on this, and viewing ourselves through the eyes of our loved ones, we may be surprised by just how incredible we actually are.