We have started to confuse confidence with arrogance.
I can tell you from many years of discussions, with thousands of people about their bodies and self confidence, not very many of them are arrogant! Quite the contrary actually; most people I speak with are mostly ashamed of their bodies and practice negative self talk nearly every waking moment. They are never “good enough, thin enough, fit enough, smart enough, have enough money, have a good enough marriage, are a good enough parent, or have enough happiness.” I assure you, as a society, we don’t need to work on curbing people’s arrogance. We need to work on teaching people how to self love.
You owe yourself the love you so freely give to other people.
Love takes work. Those of you who are married or have been married know exactly what I’m talking about. Love isn’t just something that exists, but an action. A conscious choice we make each day. We can choose to love or we can choose not to love. This isn’t just true in relationships, but true in how we embrace ourselves as well. Talking about loving others doesn’t usually make us uncomfortable so why does loving ourselves make us squirm? It is because society tells us if we are proud of ourselves, we are somehow arrogant. If we are confident of our bodies we are narcissistic. If we acknowledge our own hard work we are bragging. We have listened to this for so long we have taken on this narrative in our own minds.
Our insecurities and lack of self-love prevent us from being our best.
How do you think you will give all of yourself if you don’t think you are worth much to begin with? If you believe you are incomplete in your current state, you are not capable of giving your best. Would you deliver someone a half eaten plate of food? Or a half full cup of tea? Or worse yet, a half full glass of wine! Of course not; yet each time we diminish ourselves in our own minds we are delivering less than what we have to give to the world.
Stop judging yourself and you will stop judging others.
The more confident you are in yourself, the less you have to find fault in everyone else. It is no wonder there is so much body shaming, political tension, criticism and injustice in the world when we look at how negatively people view themselves. If you are focusing on the fault within yourself, you are sure to find fault in everything around you. We frequently discuss how important it is to avoid judging others but we are taking the wrong approach here. Until we start loving ourselves, it is impossible for us to fully love and embrace those around us. We need to acknowledge our own completeness before we can accept others for who they are.
We know the negative consequences to ourselves and others in the world from our lack of self-love so what do we do to change it?
Talk to yourself like you would others.
The first step in practicing self love is to listen to the internal conversation you have within yourself. This voice has to stop beating you up! I’ll never forget a woman I coached many years ago who told herself everyday she wasn’t good enough. “You’ll never lose weight.” “You are not cut out for this.” “You are so weak and slow.” Obviously I couldn’t hear this conversation but I could feel it. I could see it on her face every time she walked through the door. One day during a workout that involved running, she was crying and kept stopping to walk. She was ready to throw in the towel for good so I ran out to her and said “Stop telling yourself how bad you are and f%cking RUN!” I was so tired of watching her beat herself up and I knew she needed a big slap in face to get her mind straight. She was either going to tell me to hit the road or she was going to wake up and start loving herself. I now see pictures of her looking healthy and vibrant! She chose self love.
Give yourself credit for the work you do each day.
Rather than ending the day with a mental checklist of all you didn’t accomplish, acknowledge the work you did do. Nothing we are working towards happens in a day. It is a journey and each day you need to give yourself credit for the steps you took to move in the direction you want to go.
Speak out loud something you like about you.
We all have things we like about ourselves; a physical trait, something about our personality, our wit, our sense of humor, something. Look at yourself in the mirror and say it! I know this may sound crazy but just try it. You will instantly put a smile on your own face. I love my discipline. Each morning when I wake, I look at myself in the mirror and say “Damn girl! You’re up early again, ready to crush another day!” Trust me. This works.
Do not allow others to define your self-worth.
We will never be able to control what others think of us but we can decide what we think of ourselves. The world is imperfect and full of imperfect people. If we rely on determining our own self worth based upon what others think of us, we will be continually disappointed in who we are. I hold myself accountable to three things: God, myself and my daughter. Usually if I do what is right by God, the other two take care of themselves. At the end of each day I ask myself “Did I make myself proud?”, “Did I please God today?” and “Did I set the example I want for my daughter?” Sometimes the answer is no. But rather than initiating an internal verbal bashing, I layout what I will do differently tomorrow.
You matter and you are worthy of love.
The world needs a little more love and a lot less judgement. Practice this within yourself so you can help spread it in the world.