How you perceive yourself, every minute of every day plays a monumental role in loving yourself and changing your life for the better. The way you perceive yourself forges the path for attaining true happiness, and once you start treating yourself with positivity and kindness, you will be amazed at what it does to you, mentally and emotionally.
Do you feel beautiful within yourself?
The reason I ask is that I came across this photo recently and I honestly was amazed. I stared at it surprised. ‘Wow’, I thought, ‘I look quite beautiful’ there.
The reason I was so shocked was that I had felt so ugly that day. I really did. I was at an event and surrounded by gorgeous, young women. I was convinced my hair was frizzy. I felt so frumpy and middle-aged.
One of them even randomly said to me in the lift as we left: ‘You’re really beautiful’. I didn’t believe her. But I thanked her: ‘I really needed to hear that today’, I said.
Do I look ugly in this photo? No. Did I feel ugly when it was taken, yes! Perspective is such a weird thing, isn’t it?
It’s a bit like that dress that went viral on the internet. To some, it was blue and grey, whilst others insisted it was white and gold. (For the record people, it was white and gold, okay!?). What on earth? How does that work?
Or as we all grow older when we look back at photos of our younger self. We were never as fat, ugly, or whatever we believed we were at the time. As they say, beauty is wasted on the young!
My photo captured something I couldn’t see that day. When I looked at photos of me when I was young, it is the same. I see a pretty, skinny girl now. One who had loads of wonderful friends and fortunate life. She should have been confident in herself. I was nothing of the sort though, then.
I had this internal narrative I wasn’t good enough. I was desperate to please and always convinced someone would find me out to be the idiot I believed myself to be. I’d whip myself internally over every perceived stupid thing I said or did. My inner voice kept beating me over the head and would never let up. ‘You’re embarrassing! Unattractive! Unlovable!’ it said. I know I’m not alone in this.
Many of us have a story we tell ourselves. One that is far from reality. But it can impact our lives in so many ways.
A negative story we tell ourselves can impact our lives in many ways.
Mine resulted in me staying in an abusive relationship.
My belief I wasn’t good enough meant I was unable to say ‘no, I don’t deserve this’. I couldn’t set healthy boundaries.
It convinced me I was to blame for the violence. That I had to change my behavior instead, to prove I was worthy of his love. Even after he’d almost killed me.
I hear many other victims of domestic violence with the same internal story. It doesn’t help that the manipulative tactics abusive people or narcissists use are designed to play into those insecurities. To keep us on shaky ground, all the easier to control us. But it’s a story that is untrue.
Our perception has failed us too when we see only what we want to see in these partners. When we first meet them, we are swept away by their charisma. Then we continue to project that image onto them, the one they first presented to us, long after the reality tells us otherwise. We choose to believe the nice side is the real them, not the nasty side they are now revealing. And in that need to keep up the pretense that this perception we have of them is the correct one, we even do everything to excuse their abuse.
We’ll change our behavior and accept the blame. Anything but face the truth. Which is: that our perception is wrong.
Our constant search for the image of them we have in our heads is a futile one. Nothing we can do can change this or them. But, that doesn’t mean we’re trapped or powerless. That our life is hopeless.
We just have to change how we see things. This is the key to changing our lives and walking towards living the life we love.