Why are we so hard on ourselves?

If only I felt like this all the time.

One day last week, I felt like I couldn’t get my act together.

My hair was at least 25% bigger than usual, which made me look vaguely insane.

I hated every item of clothing I put on my body and changed at least 6 times. I got mascara all over my face, and  then I couldn’t find my car keys anywhere, which made me feel like the universe was trying to tell me something.

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Bad hair day

I wanted to put on a pair of sweatpants and crawl into bed. But I had things to do and people to see. So I did the best I could with my afro and ventured out into the world, feeling enormously self-conscious and pretty crappy.

And then, as I went about my day, the compliments started coming in. From the cashier at IGA, to a colleague at work, and then later from a relative stranger at a meeting, I was getting things like this:

“Hey Liz, your hair looks awesome!”

“Wow, you have gorgeous hair!”

“That’s a great shirt!”

Those kind words worked their way into the depths of my ego and brought it out of hiding.

My self-consciousness slowly melted away. I was glad I hadn’t given up and resorted to sweatpants and a top knot. I stood a little taller than I had when I left the house that morning and walked around with a bit of a swagger.

If only I felt like this all the time.
If only I felt like this all the time.

And then, as I was lying in bed that night reflecting on my day, it occurred to me how absurd it was that I had relied solely on the opinions of strangers to make me feel good.

As women, we’re notoriously hard on ourselves.

And I think for many of us, feeling lousy all the time makes us want to throw in the towel and adopt a permanent uniform of sweatpants and Uggs.

What’s the point of making an effort if we’re not going to feel good anyway?

Faced with hundreds of Photoshopped images on a daily basis, we hold ourselves up to an impossible standard. And as much as we tell ourselves that those images don’t represent reality, it’s hard to really feel that message. When Kim Kardashian broke the Internet with her infamous oily photos, I’ll bet your first thought wasn’t how ridiculous the pictures were – but why you have cellulite on your ass and she doesn’t.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all wake up tomorrow morning feeling great about ourselves? Who couldn’t use a magical dose of self-confidence or an ego-boost elixir.

Until that happens, I truly believe that feeling good starts with making an effort. No one ever feels like they’re at their best when they’re in their sweatpants uniform.

So…

  • Wear clothes that make you feel good. Put on a little make-up. Let your hair down. Or wear it up if that’s what suits you.
  • Accept compliments gracefully. If someone tells you you look great, don’t argue! Smile and say thank you!
  • Dish out a few compliments of your own. You might just make someone’s day.

A little effort on your outside might take you a long way in changing the way you feel on the inside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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