Years ago, I attended a client lunch at a chic, new restaurant. The glass, crystal and all-mirror décor was literally stunning; I didn’t have a clue what was real and what was a reflection and refused to visit the bathroom for fear I’d never find it or my way back to my clients.
As we sat down at our table, I spotted an attractive woman across the room. I thought she looked like a lot of fun. I liked her haircut. Her outfit was great. Over the course of my meal, I noticed that she too was having an enjoyable lunch with animated companions.
Then it hit me…. Ms. Fun-fab-do-and-wardrobe over there was ME!!
I was simultaneously pleased, shocked and overwhelmingly dismayed.
Pleased with how I looked (even if I had only liked the look because I didn’t know it was me).
Shocked that the restaurant’s funhouse décor had utterly confounded me. Even crows can recognize themselves in a mirror.
Overwhelmingly dismayed at the irrefutable proof of how hard I was on myself. When I left the house that morning, I didn’t consider myself to be attractive. I hadn’t admired my hair. And my outfit was merely sufficient.
I’d like to say this experience was a turning point, and ever after I had a positive self-image and engaged only in positive self-talk. But that would be a lie. I’m still self-critical. I still berate myself for things I barely notice in others. I still get mired in occasional bouts of self-loathing. At least now, I can almost immediately derail the train of thought.
I’m learning where the line between gracious humility and reproachful self-criticism is.
10 thoughts on “I’ll have the quiche with a side of self-loathing”
Perhaps if all your friends mentioned it more often, you would find it easier to believe you are wonderful and good looking! This me saying it to you and I am not in the habit of lying or excess flattery. Believe me! That is an order, and I want you to practice in front of a mirror; did you know it takes ten times of saying good things to believe it than it does for every one single negative thought you have to sink in? Practice being Nice to yourself! YOU deserve it! Love from a friend xx
Hi, Husky – I think it’s something that’s very foundational for me but pervasive for women in general. We do get a lot of messages in all the media hyping our inadequacies and pushing us for the next big fix. I mean, look at the upsurge in plastic surgery etc. Having said that, I did have very ambitious and critical parents. I know now they said and did what they did to push us to be our best but I think it also left me hyper self-critical. I do practise positive self talk as you recommend but it’s got a lot of bedrock to permeate. 🙂 p.s. ignore any typos. I can’t find my reading glasses! LOL!
Yah! You are realizing what so many have known (but perhaps not said enough) for years! As the saying goes… Better late than never.
Thanks for this post. It’s a lesson not to hold back on compliments. Now we’re both feeling better.
Gillian, I’m a little slow on the uptake here and just “got” what you were saying. Thank you! I’m learning everyday and I’m sure that, and helping our fellow travellers along, is really the whole point of being here.
“I spotted an attractive woman across the room. I thought she looked like a lot of fun. I liked her haircut. Her outfit was great. Over the course of my meal, I noticed that she too was having an enjoyable lunch with animated companions.” Replace “my meal and lunch” with “the party evening” and that was my reaction watching you last night…
Wow! Thank you! It was a party and a group of people that cast everyone in their best light.
Incredible Honesty. Thanks for sharing and being so transparent.
Thanks for that feedback, Steve and nice to see you here. If I can’t be honest here in this blog, then when? It’s good psychic medicine.
OK-this is where I meant to reply. I felt I was there-too fun! Loved the story! We can all learn and pay attention from this one-I’m sure we’ve all been there. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
I think you’re right, Pat. With minor changes in detail, the human condition is pretty boundless and timeless.