Do you ever talk to yourself? You spend more time with yourself then anyone else and what you say to and about you matters. Many times, I think we don’t even think about it. Today I want to tell you a story I witnessed that will hopefully change our approach to our looks, our stories, and our hearts.
I’ve been hosting RENEW meetings monthly for a few months now. They are always a lot of fun and every event before I go to bed I write down my debrief notes so I can keep good records and continue improving. When I analyzed my notes later, I found a common trend.
When I taught a class that involved a topic that didn’t include using my mirrors, the self talk in the room was positive, aspirational and even if it was discouraged it was optimistic. The classes involving mirrors had a very different atmosphere. None showed this more clearly than my last class where we spent the first part of the night learning and training our eyes to recognize color then we pulled out the mirrors to apply all that knowledge to understanding our own body’s colors. I kid you not, as soon as I placed a mirror in front of a woman she would make a negative comment about her appearance.
“Oh, my hair looks awful today!”
“I look so washed out!”
“Boy do I look tired.”
“Wow my makeup looks horrible.”
And no one noticed they had done it!
I paused the whole meeting to talk about it. Before the mirrors appeared we had been laughing, learning, encouraging each other, gossiping over the bachelor finale airing that night, and never once comparing. When we weren’t focused on ourselves we were happier.
The event was wonderful all the way through and I think we all went home a little more aware of how we talk about ourselves without even realizing it.
One of my notes to improve future Renew events from that night was to place a handwritten sticky note of encouragement on every single mirror before anyone arrives.
On a more personal level, I’ve started asking myself two questions as I become more aware of my own self talk.
- Would what I’m thinking/saying be something I would want my daughter to say about herself?
- Would I ever describe someone else the way I’m talking to/about myself?
If the answer to either question is no, my mindset needs to shift. And fast!
A man I respect named Ian Cron has mentioned again and again the importance of unconditional self friendship. It’s the idea that we need to learn to love ourselves and be more kind to ourselves. If I asked you if you were harder on yourself than anyone else, chances are we would all be raising our hands. Why?
Do we think it’s a way of being humble?
Do we think it will make us more relatable?
Do we believe we aren’t worthy of gentleness?
I’ve heard women describe their morning routine to me and several of them said they speak words of affirmation to themselves in the mirror every morning. At the time I thought it was cheesy. Saying, “You are beautiful, intelligent and worthy of love,” to a face in a mirror would make me feel silly. Or childish. Or maybe scared because then I might have to face the fears I carry deep down that I’m not.
I’m going to try it though. For the next several weeks I am going to pep talk myself every morning. I am going to speak the words I say to women all the time to myself and see if anything changes.
We all carry heavy burdens that feel normal because we’ve carried them so long. Maybe we have tried to dump them but the predictability of them is more comforting than the unknown. Obviously other people hear our self talk, no matter how we might try to hide it, and maybe they had the courage to speak up about how damaging we are to ourselves.
I’m not sure where you are on your journey but I know none of us has arrived. And we all need a friend. If you feel comfortable, leave a comment down below about your thought life and what you think about all this. If that feels too vulnerable, know my inbox is always open. I’m not trying to boost my place in some algorithm; I genuinely want to connect with you.
For the foreseeable future, I’m postponing my Renew events but am brainstorming ways to bring us together virtually. My plan is to not host publicly streamed events but rather smaller gatherings where we can chat and learn together. If there’s a topic you’d like to suggest, I’d love to hear it! March’s topic of color theory is not one that would compute well to being taught through a screen. The first color theory event was so incredible I will definitely be hosting it again, possibly more than once.
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