On many occasions, I have wished that my friends and loved ones could see themselves the way I see them. We all have a friend who really lacks self confidence, or who you can’t see why they’re still single, or simply who don’t realise just how amazing they are. If only they could see what I see!
Because we see our friends for who they are.
We see past their imperfections. We don’t see them as overweight/underweight, too dumb/too smart, etc…
We see their light. what makes them them. We love them unconditionally and are loyal and protective towards them even though they’re not perfect (because really, no one is).
So why can’t we do it for ourselves? Why can’t we be a good friend to ourself?
Our Inner Critic
My inner critic is pretty nasty I have to say. I don’t think I fully realised the extent of it until my business coach pointed it out to me a few years ago. In just a few simple words, she managed to make me change my perspective. Although at the time I think I cried when I realised how horrible I was being to myself. She simply said:
Would you talk to Siena that way?
I remember thinking of course I wouldn’t, it would be really horrible for me to do so. I imagined myself saying those thoughts, how I describe myself, but directed to my then 5 year old daughter. Imagining the hurt and upset it would cause her (and me for making her feel that way)… it was really, truly horrible.
Only then did I realise: so why do I talk to myself in that way?
Admittedly, my inner critic is sneaky about it. She makes me think things almost without me realising I’m thinking or saying it. It would be ways I would describe myself, for example describing myself as lazy when in fact I could simply state that I listen to my body and take time to rest when I need to. But no, she would make me say I was lazy. Which immediately draws a very negative connotation to a trait of mine. (By the way, naming your inner critic can help. Mine is called Sandra and is a right b*tch! Naming her helps as when she pops up I can simply say “oh do shut up Sandra!”, and she doesn’t like that… makes her sulk and go away.)
Generally, our inner critic can be very good at making us focus on our lesser qualities, rather than focussing on out best ones. Think about it… You most probably have a friend who can be a very good Eeyore impersonator, pointing out everything that’s wrong, or more specifically pointing out what’s wrong with themselves when you pay them a compliment.
We’ve all done it. When someone compliments your hair and you respond by saying “thanks, I’ve washed it!”. They compliment how you look and you say “thanks I put make up on!”. Or they compliment your outfit and you feel the need to point out what’s wrong with it / it has a hole/you found it in the bin… (ok hopefully not the last one but you get the jist). I know I’m guilty of doing this. Instead of smiling and accepting the compliment, I feel the need to brush if off quickly by making a joke out of it, and shifting the focus elsewhere. Even though all that’s needed, is a simple smile and a thank you.
Because the problem is, the more you “joke” about what’s wrong you, the more you get used to not accepting compliments but brush them off instead, the more it will affect you. Receiving a genuine compliment can do wonders for your wellbeing and self esteem. It can truly make you feel all warm and happy inside.
But when you turn it into a laughing matter or brush it off, you rob yourself of this golden glow, and instead it’s a slippery slope to a more negative world. And this is never good, or indeed pleasant.
In The Moment magazine explain today’s challenge as follows:
Seeing ourselves as others see us can be really revealing. While we might forget our best qualities, our friends certainly don’t. Ask a friend what they like most about you – you’ll probably be surprised by what they say! Return the favour and say what you like about them too.
The Magic of Friendship
At the risk of sounding like I’m straight out of Ponyville (closet My Little Pony lover here), friendships truly are magic. Not the fake, toxic ones (if you need help cleansing your social media of these read my previous post on how to have a social media detox), but the genuine, filled-with-sunshine ones.
I’m lucky to have a few very good friends, including my family, I have known for over a decade, with who I can be myself. Over the years they have proved to be my greatest cheerleaders and all-round-amazing people in my life. I have made other friends over the years, who seem to instantly “get me”, and have supported me through good and bad. Although I don’t have a huge group of friends, I consider myself lucky to have the ones I have. It’s all quality over quantity for me in this case.
I remember a few years ago, when working on a business project for Emerald & Jade Flowers, I asked my friends for help by describing my business/me in three words. When the messages and comments started coming in, I remember that warm, sunshine glow I mentioned above washing over me. I found myself smiling to myself and feeling really happy and grateful to have such wonderful friends say such lovely things about me.
Changing your Belief
Good friendships can help you change your belief. As stated above with the compliments, even though you might wonder why someone would pay you a lovely compliment, even if you don’t quite believe it yet, or struggle to see what they see, get used to accepting compliments. Smile and say thank you. If possible, add something to your thanks to strenghten your belief.
So for example, if someone compliments your hair, you could say “thanks I’ve changed my shampoo and it smells amazing, I’m really loving it”. If someone compliments your work, say “thank you, it was tough but I’m so pleased with the result”. By simply adding little words like that with your thanks, it will help you believe the compliments, and reap the positive benefits from them.
It is not showing off, it’s all about accepting the compliment, and training your belief thought system to see the good.
It can take time, but keep at it, and you will start to notice a change and might at times ponder on how long it’s been since Sandra showed her face!
To help you along, rely on your friendships. Your friends and loved ones know you, they see you like no one else does.
Whether it’s over a coffee, on a night out, in writing or over the phone, why not ask a friend what they like the most about you. Make sure you return the favour, or even better, let your friends know on a regular basis what their best qualities are.
It could be as a simple as letting them know their hair always smells nice (it really does Laubs, all the time!), or how amazing you find their fitness (yep Chloe… those two races you have coming up look insane! And yet I love how excited you get when talk about it!). It could be letting them know how much you love their work (so many friends to use as an example here but Barry, you do make a blooming good garden!).