Ever get dressed, look in the mirror and say to yourself, ‘well—I look pretty good today!’ You look down at what you put on, you checked yourself out (front and back) in the mirror, and everything looked good. Hair is good, make-up is good, both shoes match, and so on. You walk out of the door feeling as if you could conquer the world.
And then it happens: as you are walking down the street, you see yourself in a store window and think, “OMG!!! What WAS I thinking to wear this outfit!? And look at my hair—I look like I just rolled out of bed! And why oh why did I think that wearing my long silver necklace with the owl pendant was a good idea?! I’ve got to get home before anyone else sees me!!!” You want to disappear and never go out again.
Now probably you look just fine and are being overly critical of yourself. I still do this myself from time to time, even after years of positive self-talk. So if I catch myself doing this, I act “as if.” This means:
- Assume you look as great as you believe you do.
- Stand tall and walk with confidence.
- Hold your head up and smile as if you are America’s sweetheart.
- Smile at everyone, including yourself.
- Assume that what you’re wearing is so perfect that everyone you see wants to look just like you.
- Most important of all—see yourself in any shiny surface and think, ‘WOW! I’m gorgeous!”
Trust me, you’re going to feel like a horse’s patootie the first few times you do it. That’s the old negativity talking; just ignore it. The sole purpose of self-talk and self esteem is to feel better about yourself. So what if you have gray in your hair (call it “silver” like I do; t sounds much better). So what if you have a “meno-pot” (I do). So what if you limp because one or both of your knees hurt; you’re still walking, aren’t you?
One night years ago I was watching the Academy Awards. A nominated actress (and I can’t for the life of me remember who it was) was walking the red carpet with her boyfriend/husband, smiling and waving. Suddenly she tripped and fell—and got right up, smiling and waving as though nothing had happened. All through the rest of the ceremony I kept wondering if she really had fallen or not; she just refused to let it bother her. She was acting as if she never fell at all!
Acting ‘as if’ works. As with any new habit, give it time. But it will work. Sooner than you think, your “as if” will become your new normal.