Believe in your selfie

Christine Webber, psychotherapist and health writer, has said, “Stop thinking others are better than you. While it’s fine to think highly of others, it’s irrational to translate this as meaning they are ‘better’ than you. Admire others’ traits, but not at the expense of your own”

I think that this is commonplace in our society today. It has been for me.

A couple years ago I saw a sweatshirt that said, “believe in your selfie.” At first I laughed. But I came to love the message.

How many times do we walk into a room, or scroll through instagram, before beginning to compare ourselves to someone else?

I think that it’s something that we all do, even without realizing it! Theodore Roosevelt once said that “comparison is the thief of joy.” And I believe that. There’s been countless times where I have started a day feeling good about myself, and then as the day went on, and I began to compare myself to other people, my level of happiness and self confidence began to decline. It is so easy to do, and so difficult to control.

Thich Nhat Hanh has said, “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”

I think that we come to accept ourselves better by realizing the strengths that we have and seeking to help others do the same.

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Your Best Friend

IMG_1633The other day I came across this explanation: “Our self-esteem evolves throughout our lives as we develop an image of ourselves through our experiences with different people and activities…When we were growing up, our successes, failures, and how we were treated by our family, teachers, coaches, religious authorities, and peers, all contributed to the creation of our self-esteem.”

I had an enlightening conversation with my older sister before coming back to school. I expressed some of my fears about the upcoming semester, and admitted to her that I was worried about whether or not I would be able to handle the classes that I had registered for. She paused and then said, “well, who told you that you can’t do it?”

I was taken back and didn’t know what to say. It was then that I realized that the person holding me back, was me. I was afraid, simply because I was doubting my own capabilities.  

Christine Webber, psychotherapist and health writer, has said that, “Studies have linked low self-esteem and poor self-image with a variety of problems that can affect anything from the way you look to your career and your relationships.”

That conversation with my sister awakened me to a sense that I needed to believe in me more fully. That I needed to learn to love myself and see my own possibilities. But it’s not just about me, it’s about all of us being able to love ourselves and see our own potential.

In her article, “How to overcome low self-esteem”, Webber lists out eight problems caused by low self-esteem, and how to combat them.

One solution she gave is to “change your internal dialogue”. Negative thinking has been an ongoing process and challenge, but Webber explained that “An internal critic fuels self-hate, so step one is to silence the voice in your head by consciously making yourself repeat a positive response for every negative thought you have. Why be your own worst critic? If you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, don’t say it to yourself.”

As I talked about my fears with my sister, she said, “If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?” I agree with that and also with Webber’s suggestion about how we would address our best friend. It has made me think that we should all become our own best friend, and grow to love ourselves for who we are.

More than a body

Body positivity has been something I have struggled with my entire life. It is something that we all struggle with at one time or another. Ideas and visuals of the “perfect body” are thrown at us everywhere we turn. This message has made me feel that the only value I have lies with how I look. Sarah M. Wylder-a contributor to the Huffington Post-has said, “Change will only happen when we stop criticizing ourselves and other women. When we start to like our bodies.” 

So how do we “start to like our bodies”? How do we start to feel and believe that our value lies in more than the way we look?

Lindsay Kite, PhD and co-founder of “Beauty redefined” said, “The message that ‘all women are beautiful, flaws and all!’ is really nice. But it isn’t fixing anyone’s body image problems. That’s because women aren’t suffering only because of the unattainable ways beauty is being defined, they’re being defined by beauty. They are bodies first and people second.”

Growing up, people have made snide remarks about the way I look. We have all encountered something like this-perhaps our own negative self talk. And it brings a sense of worthlessness and discouragement. But I love the idea that people are more than just a body. That we are more than what we are told to look like, but that we can embrace who we are, celebrate who we are, and become whoever we want to be.