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. 

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