Most of the women I know are successful, intelligent, attractive and deeply insecure. Read that sentence again, and think about yourself and the women in your own life. It’s rather sad isn’t it?
I can’t pretend that I’m in any way qualified to explain why this is the case, although there are as many theories as there are women. There is a wealth of literature on how women have been repressed, oppressed, liberated and glorified, all pointing to one reason or another for the downfall of women’s self-esteem.
What I do know is that no matter how intelligent, successful or attractive women are, too many of them feel inadequate and treat themselves as though they are second rate. And we do it all without even thinking. I cannot count the number of times I have heard friends make seemingly off-hand comments that are actually very destructive and indicate that they don’t have any faith in themselves. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve done it myself.
Imagine for a moment taking those comments we make about ourselves and directing them at someone else.
Actually, if you have a friend that will understand what you’re doing, try saying this to each other. “You have eaten like a pig this week and you look fat in that dress”. Or try this one “you’re not nearly smart enough to be in that job”. Absorb for a moment how you feel saying that to someone and consider your feelings on hearing it said to you. Shocking isn’t it. I’ll bet that you cannot imagine actually saying this to someone without feeling like the most horrible person who ever lived.
And hearing it? For me it’s a combination of “how dare you F#$&*ing say that to me!!” and a smaller quieter voice asking “is she maybe right?”. Would you be friends with someone who said this to you? I sure as hell wouldn’t be!
So if it’s completely unacceptable to say this to someone else, why do we allow this kind of self-abuse?
I completely believe that the very first step in overcoming feelings of inadequacy and repairing our relationships with ourselves is to stop with the abusive self-talk. The problem is not only that our subconscious absorbs whatever messages we give it, but it also starts a cycle of self-talk that spirals out of control really quickly.
But thankfully, it’s relatively easy to identify and slow down this horrific self-degradation. Listen carefully to the things you say to yourself, not just when you’re upset but when you feel ok too, and ask “is this something I would feel ok saying to someone else?” If it’s not, TRASH that thought!! Whether it means stopping and saying to yourself, “no that thought is not valid and it’s mean”, or writing it in a notebook and then writing down why it’s not accurate, whatever works for you.
Often seeing it written down is enough to make you realize just how absurd it is to be thinking those sorts of things.
I know one woman who imagines the voice saying these nasty things to be coming from some hilariously silly cartoon character in a really high pitched squeaky voice. I think the idea of a chipmunk telling you that you that you are boring and have no friends would put it into perspective for pretty much anyone!
Whatever method you find works for you is fine, but you MUST deal with negative self-talk.
Stop being so harsh towards yourself and be nice to you!