What I Did Every Day for 60 Days that Changed My Life
I'm not shy about the fact that I've overcome a LOT of self esteem and anxiety issues over the past decade of my life. I've always been a little bit insecure and some of that comes from normal life stuff- mean bullies, being an awkward teenager, trying to figure out the post-college real world, etc.
I spent a majority of my early twenties in a relationship that went from cloud 9 to super sour over a long period of time. It was so gradual that I didn't fully realize how toxic it was until I was out of it. I was with someone who told me every bad thing about myself every day...sometimes all day every day. You can be the strongest, healthiest most secure person on the planet and after years of hearing those awful things about yourself, you start to believe them.
I would hear on a daily basis that I was fat (I was 117 lbs and 5'7" at that point...read: RAIL THIN), that I was a bad cook, that I needed to workout more, that I wasn't smart, that I worked too much and nearly every move I made was wrong. I couldn't do anything right in my relationship and I spent hours crying every single day because I considered myself a failure. I believed every word he said and I repeated his words to myself as reality. I believed I was worthless. On top of all of that my boyfriend, who I so desperately wanted to marry, said he wouldn't propose until I tackled an impossible list of things he wanted me to "fix" about myself. (Side note: Those of you who know me know that this all is almost laughable now because the girl I am today would have told him to go F himself).
One day, I decided to ask for help from a therapist I knew because I couldn't take being sad one day longer and I really wanted to be "fixed". I wanted her to throw me on meds and tell me what I could do to be the girl my boyfriend wanted me to be. What I actually got from her changed my life.
She told me in our first session that she had homework for me. Every day I had to look myself in the mirror and say one kind thing about myself out loud. I laughed at her and said "what if I don't think anything kind about myself?"
She said, "I don't care if you believe it, but you have to say it. It will feel silly to say it out loud but that's part of it" and so I did it.
I'd wake up every morning and say OUT LOUD one kind thing about myself. I didn't believe a single one in the beginning. I would say "I am pretty. I am smart. I am good at my job. I am a good friend" and then giggle to myself and move on with my morning.
As the weeks went on and I continued to do this, it stopped being funny and started changing who I was. It gave me a surge of confidence and self esteem that I'd never had before and I'd made that change in SIXTY DAYS. I believed what I was saying in the mirror. I continued doing this religiously for about a year. In 6 months I was out of my relationship and in a year I couldn't even recognize the girl I was before.
Words are incredibly powerful, especially our own words. There will probably never be a day where words don't hurt to some degree. We're human. I can't control what people say to or about me, but I can handle what I do with those words and how I let them affect me. There are days where something will cut deep, and I'll go to a mirror and say something nice about me to myself and I really believe it and that's the power I have now.