You Should Go and Love Yourself

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Most of us have an inner critic that can be fairly relentless, but on a scale of 1-10, mine is probably a 110.  The older I get, the more I realize that how we treat ourselves is pretty consistent with how we treat others, so I’ve really put some work into figuring out how to quiet the negative and berating voice.  I spent years trying to shut the critic up! I realized it made me feel even worse because I was being critical of how critical I was.  Then I learned an interesting trick.  Maybe I couldn’t get rid of the nasty, critical voice in my head, but I might be able to introduce a flood of more loving voices into the mix.

My husband straight up does not have an inner critic. For the longest time I thought this meant that he was narcissistic and an egomaniac.  He never even so much as threw himself under a bus for the sake of a joke let alone considered that he could have done something better in any given circumstance.  I noticed right when we started dating that he would walk past mirrors, pause for what I thought was an unhealthy amount of time, and fall in love (with himself) all over again.  I  would roll my eyes and thought of it like he had some kind of problem.  When he picked me up for dates, I remember saying to him that his car couldn’t possibly fit the three of us in it  - me, him, and his big fat head.  It wasn’t until I hit my thirties that I started to realize he might be on to something good.

As annoying as it gets that he is endlessly self promoting, he also goes way out of his way to notice and comment on all of the positive aspects that he loves in me.  Not only does he speak highly about me all of the time,  but he only talks about other people in their best light also.  I treasure that about him.  

When my daughter was about six years old, she said something really horrible about herself in the car. I can’t even remember now what it was, but it made me a little sick to my stomach.  I realized that it was probably something I would say about myself and might dismiss as not a big deal.  That’s when the light bulb went off in my head.  Right then and there I asked my daughter and my husband to help me by pointing out every time I said something bad about myself.  They made it a game.  They issued tickets for any negative comment I would make about myself and they would redeem them for long, sweet hugs.  

Around that same time, I started reading books by Louise Hay about the power of self love.  The funny thing is that her prescription to increase self love was, you guessed it, walking past mirrors, talking a long pause, and falling in love with yourself!  I hate it when my husband is right.

I recently caught myself singing that song by Justin Beiber, Love Yourself.  It’s genius, actually.  I don’t think of  it as bitter at all, just a really true and helpful piece of advice:  “'Cause if you like the way you look that much, Oh baby you should go and love yourself.”  Thank you, Justin, I think I might just do that!

PersonalBrenda Hastings