We all want to love the person we see in the mirror. Sadly, some days are a lot harder than others. Raging (or lack of) hormones, poor sleep or sickness can make you look exhausted. And standing in a brightly lit dressing room trying on a new bathing suit or bra doesn’t help boost your confidence either. But what about the days when the mirror is berating you for no good reason? How can you kindly lift your self-esteem back out of the gutter?
The negativity cycle is vicious. One bad thought leads to another…and to another….and to another. We’ve all been there. You’re about to meet your friends for dinner and you’ve changes your outfit three times. Nothing looks right. Your hair is a frizzy mess, your pants are a little tighter than you remember and you can’t find your favorite pair of shoes. You glance in the mirror and see something else you don’t like—whether it’s a new wrinkle you hadn’t noticed before or that your arms just aren’t as firm as they used to be—and suddenly, you just don’t feel like going out. After all, a movie in your jammies sounds pretty good about now.
If you choose to stay home, it’s time to make a major shift in the way you see yourself. The funny this is this: you don’t see yourself the way others see you. You see your supposed flaws and imperfections. You feel your insecurities. And, because you can feel them, they are real to you. If you ask your friends to honestly tell you WHO they see when they look at you, you will hear a description that is very different than what’s conjured in your mind.
As many of you know, I have been suffering for many months from symptoms of Lyme Disease. And while I continue to improve, I’ve gone through periods of not being able to walk up and down stairs, tremendous bouts of pain at night and mental and physical exhaustion. I didn’t want to see our friends. I didn’t have the energy to leave the house. The combination of lack of sleep, debilitating pain and feelings of depression started a vicious downward cycle of hating the person I saw in the mirror.
Luckily for me, a friend of mine took notice and started asking some really tough questions. She noticed that I seemed different and that I was being really hard on myself. By simply talking openly and honestly about my feelings, she helped me start the process of feeling better about myself. And a week later, I received an email from her that still makes me cry when I read it. She told me how she and some of our other friends “see” me—on the inside and out. I read her email every day for a week and finally started to believe the words she had carefully chosen for me. Thank you Silken.
So the next time you look in the mirror and don’t like what you’re “hearing”, reach out to a friend and ask for help. Share your feelings of insecurity with her and ask her how she sees you as a person and as a friend. It’s okay to let yourself be vulnerable. Remember, you are human. And we, as humans, are here to help each other in times of need.
Please share your stories how a friend has impacted your self-esteem.
Be Thankful for Good Friends,