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Self-Esteem Hack, Part 2

Let’s say you come up with a specific trait you don’t like about yourself and you feel it has nothing to do with what other people think of you. My friends tell me this. “I don’t care if anyone else doesn’t like it, I DON’T LIKE IT.”

So you are tuning in and trying to figure out what it is you judge yourself about and you say, “I’m too bossy.” Or you say, “I’m too lazy about my schoolwork.” Or you say, “I don’t like my face.”

It’s really hard not liking yourself, have you noticed? Feel in your body the moments you are judging yourself. How does your chest and abdomen feel? Your face and shoulders? Notice how you carry yourself when the thoughts are there, “I don’t like myself”, “I don’t like my face.”

NOW – for an experiment, think about the people you love the most, the ones who are really there for you and you for them. The ones who you admire their best qualities. Maybe it’s a grandparent, a mentor, a best friend or your partner.

Do you like them because of their face, hair or whether or not they get everything done they want to get done (not “lazy”)? Do you like them because they have a toned body?

I used to spend a lot of time with my grandma as a child. We would bake sugar cookies, sew little pillows from scrap material, go out and look at the constellations and tell each other stories. Do you think I ever once cared about the way her legs looked or her hair or if she took a nap every day instead of cleaning up the coffee rings on the countertop? I cared about the time we spent together. I cared that she listened to me and laughed when I said something funny. I cared about the way I felt when I was with her which was relaxed, appreciated and seen. I didn’t ever notice if she was 58, 68, or 88.

There’s this sneaky little critic inside the mind and it’s the thing we think other people are using when they look at us. It’s also the thing we are using when WE look at us.

Ask yourself then, what is the part of you that believes everyone else is judging you? What is the part of your mind that believes you aren’t good enough? I mean, what is this thing? You know how this thing feels when it takes over your body. You know what it says to you. It’s that part, this entity, that needs questioned not the specifics it uses to distract you. In other words, it keeps saying, “Look over here, look at your arms, look at your work ethic, look at your this or that” but you don’t ever question the critical part itself. Maybe this PART of the mind is delusional. Maybe it was put in place a long time ago to protect you but now it’s not reporting accurate information. If I never cared about my grandmother’s hair because I loved her, then other people who love you don’t care about your hair either. It’s YOU who is doing the criticizing and it’s only a part of your mind that is afraid of being hurt – it’s not your whole mind.

But earlier I said self-hatred hides because we are not specific about it. So let’s take a specific issue. “I don’t like myself because I am too lazy about my schoolwork.”

Let’s break it down. While you are busy judging yourself, maybe the times you have been “lazy” you have been actually resting, reflecting, or marinating in the ideas before you bust out getting whatever it is done. How do you know what lazy really is then? If it was actually marination time?

Maybe you think your arms are too flabby. Have you every been around someone who doesn’t have flabby arms, maybe they have perfectly toned ones? But have you ever found that person to be really intimidating? So how can you really know your arms are supposed to look like their arms? In the grand scheme of things – the all and the everything of life – can you absolutely know how you are supposed to look to someone else? Maybe you having mismatched socks helps someone calm down. Maybe you not being a certain age helps someone feel like you know what you are talking about or maybe you being a certain race, height, or gender is just exactly what the doctor ordered.

You never really know. This is why the critical part is delusional. It thinks it knows – but it’s just a part that came into existence a long time ago to help you make sure you didn’t get in trouble. But now, you are an adult and you can relax a bit.

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Free Clear Mind Therapy provides in-person therapy in Fishers & Indianapolis and online therapy across Indiana. Specializing in anxiety therapy for teens, adults, and kids.

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