Recently I joined a conversation between two women that had an all-too-familiar topic. The one woman was probably in her early 60s and the other in her 30s. Both were beautiful women, but the older one was sharing what she would have “done” if she could. She then proceeded to mention a couple areas of her body she disliked.
The topic morphed into what we would change if money or risk were no option. Sadly, we all had lists.
Why do we think this way about ourselves?
My ‘dislike’ list for myself is easy to answer and not lacking in numbers. It includes my nose, my thick thighs (well, it used to be just the thighs…now the thickness is less picky and more all-encompassing), my chubby thumbs, and much more.
And that’s just the list for physical attributes. There’s so much more to include if we want to go beyond looks.
Now ask me for the ‘like’ list, and…wait. For a while. Hmmm.
Why is it so easy to be critical and so hard to be loving to ourselves? Why is it that the bad wins big in our world of self-assessment?
Damned if I know.
What I do know is that it’s no good. It’s no good in a world that is already far too critical to add to the negative with a long list of personal dislikes.
We need to hit the ‘like’ button on ourselves.
Have you ever talked to a person who has shared a dislike about themselves that you don’t even notice? Or maybe you do see it but think it’s a beautiful part of who they are? And then you share that with them and you can tell that they don’t believe you?
We are too hard on ourselves.
And it doesn’t work in our favor, either. I may think that being tough on myself results in higher standards or creativity or productivity—or whatever. But the truth of the matter is it just adds to the failure pile.
It doesn’t add to our worth. In fact, it gives our sense of worth a kick in the ass.
Take something as silly as thumbs. My thumbs are short and chubby—just like my mom’s. I’ve had people call them club thumbs, toe thumbs, little fat thumbs, even penis thumbs (lovely)…I have been teased since I was a kid about those damn thumbs. They are indeed different. And all my life, I’ve looked at people with long, slender thumbs and envied them. What? That’s right—I have thumb envy.
Really? Is that a shortcoming (pun intended) that I actually need to feel shame about? Intellectually I know the answer is absolutely not. Emotionally…damn, I wish I had thumbs that could bend a full ninety degree angle.
As I have said here before, I often write on things that I need to hear, and today is certainly a day for that. I must admit that I need to hit the personal ‘like’ button more.
My husband will tell you that I am not great at accepting criticism from others, and that is true. Sometimes I think it’s because I’ve already given myself such a heavy dose of it that I am not willing to gladly accept any more, leaving me fairly defensive. Maybe it’s easier to battle back when it’s someone else doing the talking rather than my own head’s self-talk. Whatever the case, the irony is not lost on me.
Obviously, I don’t have any easy answers to offer here. I struggle with being hard on myself just like so many others do. But I do know I want to change that—that I need to change that. And I hope if you are someone who is reading this and thinking, “me, too!” that you will push yourself to snuggle up and love yourself no matter what. No matter what.
Now, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t strive to better ourselves in healthy ways—because we are all works in progress that can grow to be better throughout our lives. But when it comes to loving ourselves at the core, we should remember a key factor to begin with: God made us…and he loves us—and that ought to be a great place to start in accepting those chubby thumbs just as they are.