|Self made picture from my mini-Palace|
"The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel"
-- Steve Furtick
I don't remember if I have already shared this quote on the blog, but I find it so true to most self-esteem issues, I thought I was an appropriate introduction to this post. I would like to share with you today, a little experiment that I did several years ago, very simple but marking the beginning of my self-esteem's improvement.
I find the quote above very accurate, because at the lowest point of my self-esteem, I would, consciously or not, compare myself to other people all the time. Some were more beautiful, or smarter, or more self confident, had more friends, a more united family... In the end, it seems everybody was normal but me - worse still, it seemed everybody had a nice life but me.
One day, a very simple event occured. See, my (real) name is quite rare in France, and I always hated it. I was reading Cosmopolitan, this page where a lot of women would give a short testimony, with their name, age and profession as a signature beneath the paragraph.
On that day, one of these women had the same name as I did. And I caught myself liking her name. The simple fact that is was associated with another woman, another life, and not with me, made me see my own name from an external perspective and I liked it.
This is how I realized how harsh my own judgement was on myself, because my self-esteem was so low. Then I thought maybe, if I met my double, I would think her life is nice, too.
So here is the little experiment I did: during my everyday life, I imagined each everyday scene as if I was someone else, looking at me living my life. What do I think of her? When I went to the Boulangerie pick up my bread, when I took a shower and chose my outfit, when I prepared and ate my dinner, when I played video games, met with friends, went to school, called my parents or sister...
Regularly, I would stop my own trail of thoughts and imagine I was a neighbour, a classmate looking at me. What do I think of her? I also did it at night, before going to bed. I recollected my day, but imagining it from the outside.
Eventually, after a couple of weeks doing this exercise, I even wrote down a description of myself on a notebook. As if it was a writer describing his main character at the beginning of a book, to introduce her to his readers. My name, my age, what I was doing in life, school, student job, my physical and personnality traits, my main activities and tastes, where I live, the decorations of my appartment...
In a way, I made myself see my own "highlight reel" instead of being stuck in my "behind the scenes". When I read that description of myself, I realized I wasn't so bad after all. I was studying what I wanted, had family and friends who cared for me etc. It was the beginning of a long road to a much healthier self-esteem.
Today, years after this exercise, when I feel down, question my life or start entering some guilt loop about a mistake I made, I still do this exercise. I calm down, pour myself some tea, set up a little silence bubble, and imagine my life as seen from an outsider. Then, I am much more clear-headed to find a solution to whatever mistake it is I have made.
I don't know if any of this makes any sense to you, but since that simple exercise helped me a lot over the years, I thought it might be nice to share it with you... Have you had any similar experience? How do you deal with guilt or other self-esteem slips?