I was meeting a friend the other for a cup of coffe and we had the most interesting and thought-provoking conversation. We talked about society and women and the constant voice in our heads telling us food is bad, dieting is great and you have to wear a certain size in order to be beautiful. Then my friend said something that opened up a whole new view for me.
“If I hear a voice that is not kind and loving, I know it is not mine.” What she meant was that we are so influenced either by parents, friends, partners, the media or the society that we often don’t recognize when our thoughts and our actions are not ours but those influenced by others. But not only that, we ourselves wouldn’t say these mean, nasty, belittling things to ourselves, they always come from outside sources.
She is absolutely right and yet, I had never thought of it. All the self-hatred I had developed over the years, all the disgust for my body and all the rules and rituals I had developed resulted from my brother tormenting me, the media spreading the message of thinness equals happiness and my mother’s obsession with the scale. I was insecure and damaged and I leaned on those pillars thinking they knew better, they were smart, they were right.
Over time their voices mixed with my own true voice, which created a destructive and life-threatening disorder. I forgot about the person I really was, the thoughts that only belonged to me and the actions that resulted from my heart. From working with many of my lovely readers, I know that this is not unique to my situation and most of you experience the same.
We either think so little of ourselves that we give the other voices more power or we simply forget that we have a voice too. A voice that is just as important, amazing, bright and loving as those of others. We just have to find a way to find it again.
The part of the quote about our voice being nothing but true and kind intrigued me the most. Think of yourself as a toddler. Would you tell yourself all the horrible things you tell yourself now? Would you say that you’re not enough? You’re too fat. You’re too weak. You’re disgusting. You need to lose weight. No, you wouldn’t. You’d be happy, curious and loving yourself, being completely fine with who you are. There are no bad thoughts. This no beating yourself up because you have gained weight. There is no fear of not fitting into society’s standards and the media certainly doesn’t affect your thoughts at all.
It’s natural that we are influenced by others over time and that is a good thing. It helps us grow as human beings and constantly evolve. However, when we only pick up the bad messages, those that put us down, make us feel inferior, stupid, ugly, bad and all these other emotions, then we have to go back and reevaluate whose thoughts these really are.
Check in with yourself and search for your own voice without all the noise of the outside world. Be true to who you are and be OK with that. And every time you think something bad about yourself, remind yourself that this is not your voice.