I’m too fat. I’m too skinny. I’m too ugly. My teeth are too crooked. My skin is too wrinkly.
I’m too stupid. I’m too useless. I’m too weak.
I’m too far gone. I’m too late. I’ve done too many bad things.
Do some of these “I’m too ______”s seem familiar? What are some of these sorts of statements that you tell yourself? It might not even be consciously, but you probably say something negative to yourself – and sometimes even out loud to others. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t say some variety of these statements. But let’s be honest. Almost all of them are lies in the name of self-deprecation, self-pity, or just self-hate.
Let’s talk about lies for a few weeks – lies that we tell ourselves – lies we allow ourselves to believe. We take them in and they begin to root themselves as truth in the center of our minds. After a while, they begin to control us. They take over our lives and impact our relationship with ourselves and our relationships with others. They change the way we view ourselves, when they have no right to do so.
Here are five true statements to help you (and me) combat the lies that we tell ourselves every day:
1) How we see ourselves is hardly EVER how others see us.
I’ve always had this weird idea that I was bigger than anyone thought I was. When I walk around, sometimes I feel like people have to go around me because, in my mind, I’m three times wider than I actually am. But everyone has always told me how small I am. People don’t view me as fat. It’s all a lie I tell myself to make me feel bad.
There have been many people I’ve known that think they are too skinny. When they say that, I’m surprised because I’ve never thought of them that way. The same with people that tell me they’re fat.
Most human beings (the halfway decent ones at least) don’t look at other people and judge them for how they look. We should see beauty in each other. If they do view us a certain way, it’s probably because they are insecure with themselves, or because they are just plain mean.
Don’t tell yourself something another person wouldn’t tell you.
2) Repeating lies to myself will only make me feel worse.
Science tells us that when we think negatively, we slow down certain parts of the brain. We need optimism if we want to thrive. By believing that you are too _____, you allow that negative thinking to cloud other aspects of your life – your health, in particular. You make yourself more prone to depression, loneliness, as well as to other physical effects of stress.
Don’t make yourself feel worse. You don’t need that. You don’t deserve that. And that, my friend, is the truth.
3) I don’t want people to lie to me. So, I shouldn’t be lying to myself.
We’ve all known liars. From our youngest years, people have lied to us – whether it be about the Easter Bunny or about something more serious (sorry, Easter Bunny). It’s not cool. Again, you do not deserve to be lied to no matter who you are or what you’ve done.
We don’t like when people straight-up lie to us, but we don’t give ourselves the respect we want from others. That’s not fair, is it?
4) Self-harm begins with lying to yourself.
You don’t do good to yourself by allowing your inner voice to put you down. It’s a form of self-harm to lie to yourself. Do you feel good when you tell yourself that you have too many freckles – that your arm is too flappy? No. No, you don’t. I don’t.
When you tell yourself unnecessary lies, you hurt yourself. And when you hurt yourself, you hurt your family. You hurt your friends. It’s a downward spiral that we all need to look out for and get out of before we get trapped.
Let’s not dwell in self-deception. Let’s not live in self-pity. Find a truth and make yourself feel better. You have beautiful eyes. Your hair has a nice colour to it. You take care of yourself and you look good naturally.
5) Taking a step back from the mirror might reveal some reality.
I’ve caught myself at times looking in the mirror, using a mental microscope, scouring my body for any and every so-called imperfection. I get closer to the mirror and all I see is that one blackhead, that one pimple, that one stretch mark, etcetera.
But, I’ve learned to take a step back. To look at all of me. My worth is not revealed by that blackhead or that stretchmark – not by the bags under my eyes or the fat on my abdomen. My worth is in who I am. When I take a step back and see all of me, I let myself think that I am beautiful. A work of art. I let myself think of the good inside of me and how my smile can send joy to others. Who I am and what I look like is my story to others.
Take a step back. Look at yourself. Love yourself. You have so much to give. We just have to stop believing the lies.
You’re not too anything. You may be medically obese or medically underweight. That just means you need to take care of yourself. But it doesn’t define who you are as a person. You are a human being. As such, you are wonderful.
I’m sitting in a café right now and I count forty-six people. Not one of them is ugly. As I look around, I see beauty in all of them, joy in some faces and stress in others. Some are laughing, a little child is screaming, many are wrapped up in gossip and still others are simply enjoying the friendship that goes with stopping in the middle of the day for a cup of coffee and a chat. None of them, no matter their size, are too anything. They are just right in themselves. And I believe that to be the truth.
Change and happiness will come when you simply tell yourself the truth: You have beauty. You have worth. You are a work of art. If someone painted you and put that painting in a museum, you would not be passed by. The truth is that there is an art to every person. Believe in that.