When we hear what we say about ourselves and other people coming out of the mouths of children, it sounds pretty extreme doesn't it?
It's not that I don't have insecurities. I do. We all do. But the way I see it is this ... we have three paths:
1. Change the things we don't like so we can move on to more important things
2. Accept the things we don't like so we can move on to more important things
3. Do neither of the above and let these insecurities instead define us
I've been down path number 3. And it's not a fun place. It's madness.
Not only does path number 3 lead to self-destruction, it sets in motion an aftermath much bigger than you'd imagine. The more you believe in your "perceived" flaws and insecurities, the more it becomes truth in the mind of others. The more you speak negatively about yourself, the more others start to doubt what you think of them. The more your children hear you comment on what you don't like about yourself, the more insecure they also become. It's madness.
It breaks my heart to hear the people closest to me speak ill about themselves - that they don't like their body, aren't good enough, or can't muster the strength to let their uniqueness shine instead of hide. We do ourselves and the people around us an enormous disservice when we are not kind to ourselves. It causes us to instead live in fear rather than focusing our time and efforts on more important things in life like our relationships, doing what we love, and following our passions. And the worst part is that it causes us to be more critical of the people around us because we've built a foundation on judgement. It's madness.
I acknowledge that limiting negative self-talk is not an easy thing to do. And attempting to quell ALL insecurities (which I believe to be impossible) usually leads to guilt because the moment we slip up, we beat ourselves up over beating ourselves up. It's madness.
But what is possible is learning to challenge them to make you a better person or brush them away like a piece of lint on your lapel rather than letting them grab ahold of you and your entire identity. I believe that confidence stems from assuming a bit of risk. To be exceptional, you can't be afraid of it. You can't be afraid to be you. And you can't be afraid to let people love you for you - "perceived" flaws and all. I believe in the power of mindful confidence - confidence that's real, humble, and requires maintenance. The most genuinely confident people know that it takes work and they know that the work starts with self-acceptance.
Let's stop the madness of negative self-talk. It starts with you and you only by accepting and loving yourself first.
Shauna is the creator of the YES DIET, public speaker, and founder of Best Kept Self, a community of experts who believe in the power of self-care for the self-employed. For more tips on self-care and mindfulness, follow her on Twitter and Instagram.