Sunday, October 6, 2013

Of love and life.

I was recently tagged in an instagram meme (^)  by a close friend and we laughed about us being such narcissists. It got me thinking though, about how important it is to love yourself. The truth is if you can’t love yourself then no one else ever will, except maybe your parents – because that’s what parents do.

It makes sense – you know you best. If you don’t love you, why should I?

Humility is great, everyone loves grounded people but being convinced that you are not good enough is, frankly, pretty shitty.

This one time at work we had training for better communication and public speaking skills. Part of the drill was to stand up and speak for a minute about a certain topic that you are fairly confident about in front of a small group of people. The only little twist, was that you would be on camera. We were then asked to watch once and then re-watch our video to see what needs to be improved and what our strengths are. The reason that we had to watch it twice was that in the first time you would not notice anything other than your appearance. And nothing has been truer.

Now being the fairly comfortable with public speaking as well as confident person that I am, I was sure that I would only have to watch it once. And nothing could be more false. After what I thought was a good speech I went to the back of the room to look at my video and I was appalled. All I saw in the first time was how fat my arms were, and that my voice sounds super weird, and that I need to start working out big time! Later I was told that I was one of the best speakers in the room, that my body language was great, my pitch was perfect and that my tone authoritative. I was shocked.

Why do we find it so easy to criticize ourselves and belittle our own accomplishments?

Very recently I came across a personality test that would categorize you based on 80-odd questions into 16 personality types. A friend and I took it to see what we were like. The website would tell you about your general personality type, your romantic inclinations, your career path etc. It also had a page on your strengths and weaknesses. I kid you not, I barely glanced at the strengths – though they were listed before the weaknesses – and dived into reading what I lack.

Not unlike me, my friend who is the most delightful person I have known only took away from it the negative points. When I read her description, focusing on the positives I at once could relate them to her. And while the quiz does not claim to be the most accurate decoder of your personality – she took to heart what she read.

If everyone else thinks you are great, and your friends love you for who you are – then by not appreciating yourself – you are essentially saying that your friends have poor judgment. I know a person who is very special to me, who was convince they are just not good enough. No matter what you told them, no matter that they have a doctorate in one of the hardest engineering field, or that they are just fabulous humans, it did not convince them.

It is not fair to expect a person to have faith in you, if you constantly doubt yourself. If you are always telling me that you are not good enough, then maybe one day I will believe you – and move on.