Sunday, June 28, 2020

Mirror, MIrror on the Wall

(This post was originally written, but not published, last year.)

Self-deprecating humor is my thing. I didn't set out to make it my thing; it just sort of happened. I open my mouth and a stream of sarcastic put-downs aimed at myself rolls off my tongue with absolutely no effort. I suppose, if I'm honest, I'd say it stems from a lack of confidence. It's somehow safer to preemptively make myself the butt of a joke before someone else does. Humor covers a multitude of insecurities, and really, this works fine and dandy for me. Or well, it did. Until I heard Lexi say, "I'm ugly."

"What??? Why would you say that? You're not ugly at all! Don't say mean things to yourself. Would you ever say that to a friend? No. So why would you say something so awful to yourself?" I asked, shocked and saddened by her proclamation.

"You do it. You say that you're fat or stupid or old or ugly all the time, Mom."

Punch to the gut moment.

She's right. I do. I put myself down all. the. time. Friends at work get on my case about it regularly and tell me I need to stop doing that. I tell them to relax; that I have a sense of humor so I don't take myself seriously; that I'm not hurting anyone. But apparently I am. And I'm disgusted that my kids have picked up on this bad habit. I always try to model the behavior I want my kids to emulate. It doesn't always work. But I try. Unfortunately I really dropped the ball on this one.

I just don't know how to be one of those people who exudes confidence. I made a comment to the deputy at my school (who most people agree is an attractive guy) about another deputy who had covered for him one day last week. "You should have that guy come back again, "I told him. "He was really cute," I said referring to the other officer who had filled in. Our deputy looked puzzled, and eyebrow lifted in incredulity, matter-of-factly responded, "What? No one is cuter than me." 

Seriously, how does one go about attaining that level of confidence? Or well, maybe not quite that level of confidence as I'm pretty sure he has trouble walking through doorways what with the size of his head, but maybe somewhere in the vicinity of that level of confidence.

I've been making a conscious effort to try, but I kind of suck at it. Even when I avoid putting myself down aloud, those negative feelings still permeate my thoughts. And I wonder what it would be like to have an abundance of confidence. [After I wrote this paragraph, I noticed that I put myself down in that first sentence where I talk about trying not to put myself down. How sad is that?]

Have you ever seen the movie I Feel Pretty? The protagonist played by Amy Schumer is an average girl who feels unattractive and lacks confidence until an accident where she hits her head causes her to see herself as drop-dead gorgeous. Suddenly, feeling like she's beautiful, she has the confidence to do all sorts of things she never did before - apply for her dream job, get a boyfriend, join a bikini contest, etc. I really liked this movie. It's funny and hits close to home. How many of us can relate to standing before a mirror while critiquing all that is "wrong" with us? :::Raising my hand:::

How great would it be to look in the mirror and see not your flaws, but see yourself as God must see you? Especially if you didn't have to endure an embarrassing spinning accident in order to see yourself as the jewel you are.

Now how does one go about doing that?

I went searching for some scripture that would encourage those of us who might have a difficult time with self worth and I found this article HERE with 25 encouraging Bible verses.

1 Peter 3:3-4  Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

2 Timothy 1:7

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Ephesians 2:10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

I'm going to try, really try, to see myself in a different light and stop berating myself lest I pass those ideas on to my kids. I definitely don't want them viewing themselves with such a critical eye. 


DLL said... mind was blown a few years ago reading the verse “Love your neighbors as you love yourself”.......and realized — How in the world can I love my neighbors if I don’t even like me?.....

Anne Birdsong said...

Hi Dawn! My name is Anne, and I have the Life on the Funny Farm blog. I used to blog and "visit" other blogs quite a bit, but I've been away from it for awhile. Yours was always one of my favorites, and I just saw a new post pop up. So glad see you writing again! We have a couple things in common. We are both single Moms of 3 boys/3 girls. Anyway, just wanted to pop in and say hi!

Kristin said...

#1: I am SO GLAD you posted has been so long since your last post and I have missed reading your words.

#2: Lean into what makes you feel strong and believe in yourself. I know your faith is deep and profound, so embrace those scriptures. Tape them on your mirror, write them in Sharpie on your palms, put them on Post-It notes on your dashboard.

#3: Remember Lexi: our kids are watching and listening and emulating. Let your desire not to instill those negative thoughts in your kids drive you not to talk about yourself that way.

#4 FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT! You've been through so much in your marriage to your divorce to your move to a new job to financial and insurance issues, to your health (AND TEETH!). It's so hard to "own it" and be your best self and be confident when there is so much going on in your life, but force yourself not to say negative things about yourself. Force yourself to say positive things about yourself, even if only in front of the mirror and to your kids (more importantly to your kids). Will yourself through reading scripture and being more positive around your kids and to yourself to feel better about yourself. And when other people start to comment that you seem different, you seem happier, you seem more confident, you look beautiful, your hair looks amazing, etc., etc., you'll realize that a big part of how people perceive is about how you present yourself. It's hard, but own it. Embrace it. Do these things until you feel it and believe it. Then make it your new normal.

Ernie said...

Ouch, I am surprised that your awesome sense of humor came back to bite you, but given the example - yeah, self-deprecating in front of our offspring might not be the best - says a fellow self-deprecating fan of yours. You have much to be confident about, so be proud. You got this!

Cindy said...

I'm guilty of this too. I try (probably relying too much on my own strength instead of the Lord's) to change my self-talk into positive, encouraging words. The Word tells us to take every thought captive, and to think about things that are lovely and true and just... we have to remember who we are in Christ! It reminds me of The Lion King (my husband and I think it's a subtle version of the Prodigal Son) when Rafiki finds Simba again and shows him the Father in his reflection, "He lives in you. Remember who you are!!" Gets me every time.

dpinyan said...

What a joy to find you in my e-mail box this a.m. Welcome back.

Nicki said...

I understand the negative self voice all too well. It is so difficult to navigate and try to explain to our kids why it is not correct, but at the same time being held hostage to it in our own minds.

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