It seems that we look at each person we know and search for their best feature or talent. That’s a noble cause. It’s great to look for the positive in everyone. It’s even better to compliment them when you find a quality to admire. However, too frequently we then compare that talent to ourselves and beat ourselves up until we feel inadequate.
“Heavens, I wish I could dance like you do. I’m such a klutz.”
“I wish I had gorgeous eyes like his. I hate the color of my eyes.”
“Look at her play tennis. She looks like a pro. My serve is pathetic.”
“Your drawings are unbelievable. I can’t draw stick men.”
Here’s a thought to consider when making comparisons. We can genuinely admire others without all the self loathing. The truth is we frequently search for another person’s best feature or talent and compare it to our worst. We forget that the person who can dance like a star wishes they could write like us. That great tennis player may wish she could sing with our talent.
Our goal should be to continue to look for the talents of others and generously compliment them on their skills, while still recognizing our own. When we do this, the admiration becomes a win/win. The better we feel about ourselves, the more confidence we have to continue to notice and comment on the talents of others. A person who beats herself up too much becomes unable to genuinely compliment someone else.
Self love and acceptance is so important. If adoration from others was all that we needed, there would be fewer celebrities taking their own lives. Yesterday I heard a Christmas song on the radio sung by Karen Carpenter. I marveled once again at the smooth beautiful quality of her voice. There truly is none comparable. And yet she died a victim of anorexia. What a loss to the world and an even more profound loss to her family.
We need to be as kind to ourselves as we would be to our best friend or a favorite celebrity. This may be difficult, but why not try? The things we say to ourselves are more important than the voices of anyone else. This Thanksgiving be thankful for your own talents.
***If you are struggling with an eating disorder of any kind, Portia de Rossi’s book Unbearable Lightness is a great read.***