Allowing Yourself to Shine

Post by Naomi Wittlin for the Kind Kindred series.

Allowing Yourself to Shine

On any given day, my 4-year-old daughter might say, “I really want to wear the red pants” or “Can we buy [insert unnecessary item here]?” but never have I heard her assert, “These pants don’t look good on me” or “I don’t deserve this” and I’m almost positive she doesn’t think them to herself either. But I do. Somewhere along my almost-38-year journey, my self-talk turned negative.

I compare myself to others around me (who among us doesn’t?) and I often come up short. That artist who is continually sells out of her inventory or that mom of 4 who tackles every school volunteer project energetically and with graceful beauty cause feelings of inadequacy and smallness to well up within me.

Judgments like these serve no real purpose besides stressing me out and pulling me down. I know I’m not alone in having them. Regardless of where they originated, turning them around, like forming any new habit, takes effort.

It is hard to notice that you’re even doing it. Just like with anything, the first step is to recognize it… to notice that the way you talk to yourself would never fly if you spoke that way to someone else. I’m referring to little whispers or thoughts like, “I’m so stupid” or “Nobody wants to be friends with me.”

After you notice these thoughts, you need to hold them up to the light. Do you have solid proof that any of these statements are true? Each time you find yourself speaking to yourself this way, try countering each one enough times until you really believe it. “I look awful today” becomes “I’m looking great! My eyes are shining” and “I’m nothing compared to these people” becomes “My friends are lucky to have me in their lives.” You’ll probably feel silly at first but remember that it takes a while for something new to become second nature. Just keep doing it.

Someone told me once: “The world would not be as beautiful and luminous without you here.” Be kind to yourself and realize without a doubt that who you already are is enough. You are continually becoming who you were always meant to become and you do this naturally, without even realizing it.

Humans are by definition imperfect, but you are more than enough.

There is no one on the planet that is exactly like you, with your unique combination of gifts, perspective, and abilities. You must begin to nurture yourself because no one else is going to do it for you. If you are to give the world your best self, it is vital that you take care of that self.

Try to give yourself the same compassion you would give to a dear friend. When I hear one of my friends being hard on herself, it is obvious that she is being unreasonable in her expectations and that she needs to be gentle with herself. It’s quite a different thing to recognize it in myself.

Self-care is a tough thing for me, and I have noticed that I’m not very good at it. And since I’m the type of person who likes to be at least average at most things, I am trying to treat myself gently. Taking a nap would be ok. Putting the computer down and answering the e-mails tomorrow would be ok. Enjoying my daily life is completely ok.

The impetus for much of what I write on my blog is to help make the world a better place. I think making connections, noticing the extraordinary in the ordinary, and spreading positive energy is a huge start in feeling better about yourself. A gratitude practice helps too.

How am I taking my own advice? I am letting compliments stay forefront of mind for a little longer before moving on to something else. I am smiling at myself in the mirror when I catch my eye. (Try it! This almost always perks me up immediately.) I am trying to let the worries go. I am remembering to savor the moment. And I am not standing for those little whispers that diminish me. Nothing major, but these little things feel good.

You deserve joy, sweetness, abundance, friendship, support, and kindness. You have permission to make mistakes, to try new things, to let the negative judgments go. You are worth it.

Naomi is a photographer, blogger, and artist who lives in Houston, TX with her husband and 4-year-old daughter. She welcomes visitors at The artwork and photos above are by Naomi.


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