I have a flat nose as compared to the entire paternal family who is blessed with sharp noses especially my father. It affected me immensely during my teenage and in an attempt to sharpen it I even went to the extremes of pinching my nose with clips that are used for drying clothes. It pained but I was desperate since people compared my nose with my father and commented on it. My mother finally intervened and gave me a sound bit of advice that a Pinocchio nose will not look good on a sweet round face and that God blesses each one of us with features that are best suited to us. Well I eventually got over my obsession for sharp noses but it truly left a deep impact on my mind.
Simple, harmless statements most of the times can also leave a big impression on tender minds and we take them as the Gospel truth. Trivial as they may seem, they contribute in the notions we develop about ourselves that remain our faithful companions even when we grow up. – Typical comments like “God you are so thin I can count your ribs, Or so obese that you could advertise for baby foods; What a slow poke you are?; How forgetful can you be?; Couch potato !!! I could leave a few eggs to incubate; What kind of hair? – looks like a sparrow’s nest ( Chidiyon ka ghosla)” . Said in humor, somewhere these words make an impression on our subconscious mind and we start believing them.
Our first assignment in Image Management was standing in front of the mirror – and appreciating ourselves physically first and then our strengths. It does feel awkward and quite a task to appreciate your own self. Moreover humility runs deep in our culture so no matter how good we talk about others, when we have to talk good about ourselves we suddenly want to run for shelter. The fear of self appreciation is often equated to flaunting or even vanity. And many a times we are unable to take even a compliment gracefully.
We will now bend a few rules – as the first rule of developing a powerful persona is self esteem. Nothing is more important than how you feel and think about yourself.
A few quick tips that would help
- Stand in front of the mirror and stop being your inner critic – we are unforgiving when we see ourselves in the mirror and instead of the positives we are blessed with, we end up pointing out the negatives. The first rule – Appreciate yourself whole heartedly
Eg What are the three things I appreciate about myself? To cite a few
- My external appearances – hair, skin, eyes, height – everything I like about my appearance
- Can I make people laugh?
- Am I thoughtful and caring?
- Have I shared knowledge today?
- Have I given a patient ear to someone today?
“The first step toward being loved is learning to love what you see when you look in the mirror everyday” – Tadahiko Nagao
- Create a stop word – Every time you start to think negative about yourself create that one magic word and say it aloud ( my favorite is “Khamosh”). It actually helps you refocus and shifts attention from any negative thoughts seeping in your mind. Quickly divert your thoughts to as simple ones as – when is your next trip, when would you meet your friends, what’s for lunch?
- Be your own best friend – Just as your dear friend would support you in thick and thin – be your own support – just as he/she would have helped you find solutions to the worst problems, help yourself too – stop being judgmental about yourself.
- It’s OK to make mistakes – “To err is human, to forgive divine”. It’s perfectly fine to commit mistakes – you do not have to hold yourself at the tip of the sword every time you commit a mistake as this affects your self esteem in a big way. Be gentle and tell yourself that its only when you go out of your own comfort zone and try, is when you stumble and fall and that is needed too, else inventions would have never happened.
- Stop the comparison – It’s the single most destructive habit you could possess. The reason is you will never win – there will be always someone out in the world who is better than you. Accept yourself graciously. If you really want to compare, let the comparison be only with yourself as that will help you better your results in any field. Spend time with supportive, positive people who would accept you just the way you are.
- Be kinder to others and appreciate others – I learnt this concept in the Business network(BNI) I was associated with – “What goes around comes around” – when you generously and earnestly compliment people, acknowledge them, smile and encourage is when they do the same to you. And that certainly helps you build a strong foundation of your self esteem.
Image is inside out and unless we develop a strong self esteem that translates into an equally strong self confidence, mere dressing up will not help.
“If you don’t see your worth, you will always choose people who don’t see it either. When your self esteem rises, your life follows”
Rise then, for every day beckons each one of us to live life kingsize!