“Ugh. My teeth are spreading out. My skin is so wrinkly around my mouth— I need to stop using straws. And those deep furrows between my eyes and my forehead..ugh!”
Yes.. those were my thoughts. They feel weird to share. I don’t like them. I don’t like that my brain immediately goes into self-criticism, but that’s the truth. I wanted to share this because I doubt that when you looked at this photo of me, you focused on what my brain focused on. You probably said that what you see in this photo is me smiling. And that’s where I wanted to get to. So I worked on it. I started recognizing my inner critic and started talking to it instead of listening to it. Your inner self-critic speaks louder than any other critic out there. It’s your lower brain piping up. It thinks it’s keeping you safe by keeping you small, critical and afraid. Now that I know this about my brain, I say to it, ”I hear you… remember you don’t talk about me like that anymore. We are fine. It’s just a picture.” After working on this for a year, I can look at any picture of me and think: “There I am. That’s me. That’s what I look like. I’m grateful to be alive to have a picture taken of me. ” No one who loves me would see this photo and tell me, “You look wrinkly” They would say, “You look happy” or tell me they love my hair or green eyes. So that’s what I tell myself too. It takes practice to learn to talk to yourself nicely. But it’s so worth it. Take lots of pictures of yourself and then talk to your brain, don’t just listen to it.