Yesterday I saw a video re-posted on Facebook by one of my favorite yogis, Rina Jakubowicz. The video has a group of women talking about their fears, doubts and insecurities about themselves, resulting in some critical and negative self-talk. They are then handed a picture of themselves as a child and told to tell the smaller version of themselves those same fears, doubts and insecurities. They all struggled to do this and showed a lot of emotion in trying, because how can you tell a child that they’re not good enough?
It’s a little too easy for us to criticize ourselves as adults. I can’t think of one person who has never doubted the way they looked in the mirror, or never started something because they feared they’d fail, or compared themselves to someone else and backed down from expressing themselves to the world. We are so harsh to ourselves because nobody is there to tell us otherwise. This pattern of insecurity grows as we age through adolescence, adult years, and sometimes even into prime years if we haven’t found a way to stop it.
But here’s the thing: WE’RE HUMAN. While it’s unfortunately easy to criticize ourselves, it can be just as easy to forgive ourselves for this criticism, and more importantly, love ourselves. In fact, we should be loving ourselves more than anyone else in our lives, because that’s the only way to spread love to others. We would never say these hateful things to someone else, or to our younger selves, so let’s try to stop being so hard on our adult selves. We’re sacrificing crucial self-expression by holding ourselves back.
The video resonated with me so much that I thought I’d give it a try myself. Here are a few of the things I often say to my adult self:
- There are already others doing what you’re doing, and doing it better than you ever will. You can’t offer anything different or unique.
- There’s a good chance you’ll fail at your next project, so what’s the point?
- You need to stop eating sweets, your ass is getting fat.
Then I found an old album of pictures, and attempted to say these things to my little self. Turns out, I also couldn’t do it, and found myself getting a little emotional over it.
I couldn’t tell this little toddler bundled up in pink that she’ll never offer anything amazing to the world.
I couldn’t tell this happy kid with amazing fashion sense that her future career ambitions would be filled with failure.
And despite the fact that I’m eating a cupcake in this picture, I refused to tell this slightly awkward tween that she better put that cupcake down, because a toned butt is much more important in the long run.
So, little Michelle, rock on with your awesome self and do whatever makes you happy. Keep bringing light and joy into the world as you’ve done many times before. And while you’re at it, enjoy your cupcake! I’m making a vow to be kinder to myself, won’t you do the same? I encourage you to go home and try this experiment. If you do, I’d love to hear how it turns out for you. And feel free to post your childhood picture in the comments!