My son said the most fascinating thing to me a couple of weeks ago, around the time of his third birthday.
The conversation went something like this…
Me: “Who do you think I love most in the world?”
Me: “Yes, and…?”
Milo: “And Nala” (the dog)
Milo: “And you.”
Me: “No, I asked who do I love.”
Milo: “Yes Mummy, you have to love yourself.”
Now I’m almost certain that my just-turned-three-year-old wasn’t actually being quite as profound as it came across, but it really struck me that in his eyes it was pretty obvious that I would count myself amongst one of the people I love the most. That boy has a really good point. It’s so easy to talk ourselves down, and to focus on what we don’t like about ourselves, rather than focusing on the positives.
In my last blog I spoke about reaching the pinnacle of exercise goals, whereby we view exercise as a reward; a gift if you will, as thanks to the body for everything it has done for you. This links in with the idea of self love, respecting yourself, and trying to be kind when the voice in your head pipes up and says things you wouldn’t dream of saying to anyone else!
The troubles lies in the fact that, for some reason, many of us are too quick to compare ourselves to others. I’m terrible for this, and it’s hugely limiting when your brain is occupied with worrying about other people, instead of focusing on number one. This isn’t applicable only to physical traits. Oh no… We do it when it comes to possessions, achievements, you name it. So step number one is not to concern yourself with another person’s waist measurement / new house / promotion etc. It really has no impact on your waist measurement, home or job.
Step number two is to appreciate YOU. This might be really difficult for some of you, but start by focussing on one thing you love about yourself. Perhaps you love your long eyelashes, or your ability to make others laugh, or the fact you can do full press ups! There will be at least one thing you can quickly identify, and you’ll probably surprise yourself and come up with a list of several things. I also think it helps to remember how lucky you are. Truly. Not necessarily in a stark comparison to those who are considerably less fortunate, but just from the point of view that you have choices available to you. You can choose to change jobs if your current one gets you down. You can choose to go out for a walk. You can choose what you eat. You can choose to be kind to yourself.
Step number three is to remember that, whenever that negative voice pops up and chimes in with “Oh I hate my curly hair” or “I wish I were taller”, there’s somebody out there desperately fiddling with a pair of curling tongs, or stooping through low doorways wishing they didn’t tower over everyone else.
It’s human nature to desire what we don’t have, and to be discontent with our lot. But if you can start to notice what IS working, what IS enjoyable, what IS your best feature, you’ll start to love yourself more. I personally have a long way to go one this one, but that little comment from my son was a happy reminder that I’m on the right track.