Self image and worthiness… they’re things I hear clients mention daily, and something my close friends and I talk about almost as regularly.
So many of us are stuck in the mindset we carried as teenagers who were stuck in the jungle of school popularity, or maybe we made it through that relatively unscathed only to be totally overcome with those media ideas of perfection. Either way, no matter how much our wise, conscious brains may know otherwise, we regularly dwell on the fact that we just don’t measure up.
It’s definitely something I’ve experienced more than my fair share of in life… that idea of not being enough was the monkey on my back for the longest time.
And even when I did the work it took to make friends with that monkey in most parts of my life, there was one area where he still insisted on rearing his ugly little head and raising his screechy little voice to remind me I wasn’t enough – romantic relationships.
Over the past year or so though I’ve been consciously single, and working on how to change that mindset once and for all – something that’s taken up a big chunk of my own personal development work – so that if and when I decide it’s time to get back into a romantic relationship, I do so with exactly the right mindset and view of myself.
I won’t lie to you, there are times that’s been bloody hard.
In fact, no matter how much I believe in this work, and in the ability to change our lives and our mindsets, there was a while there, back at the start of this process when my self image was something I wasn’t sure I’d ever make progress. After all, this idea that I wasn’t enough seemed so deeply ingrained it was almost a part of me.
Then I got some outside help from the man I believe to be pretty much the most wonderful in the entire world right now:
Enter Chris Evans...
I’d like to tell you the two of us sat down and had a heart to heart about this – maybe over a cup or tea, or even better during some romantic picnic under the stars. But unfortunately on this occasion it was a little more distant.
Since Chris and I are yet to meet, he managed to help me out with this one without so much as knowing my name...
I was speaking with a friend one day about romance, the idea of the right man for me and about where I’d gone wrong in the past.
I explained that I knew in days gone by I’d never quite believed I was enough to attract a partner in that way, so had spent a lot of time in relationships I knew weren't right for me, while putting the men I was really attracted to on pedestals that seemed far too out of reach for the likes of me.
“But that’s not true!” My friend declared, “You already know that you are perfect for yourself. You need to realise that just as someone out there is exactly the right fit for you, you will be the right fit for that person too.”
I know this, of course. But for years I didn't, and old thought patterns can take a long time to change as we know.
The conversation led us to talk about Chris Evans – the man who would 100% be top of my laminated list (you know the list I mean) if I weren’t a free agent.
My friend asked me a simple question – what is it about Chris that makes him your number one celebrity crush?
Well, where to begin eh?
Actually not with the physical (although yes, him chopping logs in an Avengers movie is a very close second to the Carlton dance as my favourite gif of all time. What can I say? I’m only human!), but with the less obvious things:
The fact he’s so politically minded and proudly shares many of the views I consider to be right and just in the world;
How much the guy clearly loves his dog (if this one seems weird you may want to check out my Insta-feed, all will become clear);
The interview I once watched where he spoke openly about his challenges with anxiety and how much mindfulness and meditation helps him;
That he’s renowned as such a family man,
The tweet I once read about how Disney World was his most favourite place on earth… (Actually a lot of his tweets. Everytime I see him call the idiot in the White House after the villain in Back to the Future I smile, but I digress...)
The list went on. And listening to it, my friend commented: “It strikes me a lot that many of the things on that list could also be applied to you.”
Hmm. Well yes, yes actually they could. Interesting.
Of course that’s not massively surprising – there are stacks of studies out there which show that we’re attracted to people like ourselves and often seek out mirrors of ourselves in other people.
But it still surprised me just how much of myself resonated in the list I’d just given.
And then she asked me a different question…
So, where are you different to this person you admire?
Initially it seemed like a pretty obvious – and weird – question; after all there are some pretty damned basic things.
I’m not a Hollywood movie star and live on a completely different continent for starters.
But one of my answers stuck out more than the others.
“He’s absolutely bloody gorgeous.”
There was a moment of silence. And then my friend replied, “And who says you’re not?”
I mean it was a valid point. After all, although some people would definitely not call me physically attractive, there are a lot of (strange) people out there who put Chris Evans at the bottom of the Hollywood’s hottest Chris list. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all.
“How do you know he's attractive?"
“Well, I guess the fact that midway through the last movie I watched of his there was a point where I caught myself thinking ‘bloody hell, he’s absolutely gorgeous!’”
“And you never catch sight of yourself and think the same?”
In short, no. How many of us spot our reflection and regularly take it as an opportunity to stop and flag up our own physical beauty?
In a world of airbrushed perfection and not enoughness – never mind a world where we’re so busy that few of us have time to even concentrate fully when we’re brushing our teeth – it can be hard enough to remember not to hate on and criticise ourselves when we look in the mirror, never mind to wink and nod approvingly.
And while of course physical attractiveness isn't everything, wouldn't it be nice for us to feel as positively about the reflection staring back at us as we do about other people out there? I reckoned yes, and so I decided it was time for a change.
So that night I took a red sharpie and wrote in big letters on my bedroom mirror “Oh my goodness, you are GORGEOUS!”
I spotted it first thing in the morning as I was getting ready for the day; and to this day I spot those words last thing at night as I’m switching off the light placed right next to that mirror. And every time I see them I make a point of saying them out loud to myself.
What’s more, I’ve found it’s a habit that’s unexpectedly started to build when I find someone else attractive - physically or otherwise - too; be it Chris Evans, someone I know, or a random person in the street. Every time I think to myself “my goodness they’re wonderful”, it’s immediately followed by an “oh yeah, so am I.”
Think of it as self love gap analysis…
(or maybe that should be Cap analysis given the context. Sorry, geek joke).
Maybe this man I’ve never met is nowhere near as wonderful as he seems from a distance, and if we actually bumped into one another in the middle of Main Street USA I’d find that I didn’t actually like him that much (I sincerely doubt that, I’m a sucker for a dog lover who knows their Disney movies…); maybe through some weird twist of fate he's actually the person for me and one day we'll laugh at this post; or maybe neither of those things are true. Honestly? It really doesn't matter.
Actually what matters is the ways that Chris Evans helped me to hold up a mirror for all the ways I love myself, aaaand for those where I needed to fall a little more in love.
And the point in this blog is to invite you to hold up a mirror of the people that you respect, admire, or yes have a great big celebrity crush on, and to look at yourself in that reflection.
Notice the ways that you’re like those people – and if that’s not something you’re able to do for yourself then enlist the help of a wise friend like mine or maybe even get in touch to book in for a session; and then notice the ways that you don’t quite feel you measure up.
With that second list in front of you the next step is all yours… to work on the areas that challenge you, to start treating yourself more like the people you look up to and bit by bit to recognise that you were always enough to be classed as their equals all along, no matter how different your daily lives may seem.
Will that help you to achieve everything you set out to and maybe even follow a same path to theirs if it’s right for you?
After all, does the work I’ve done mean that I’ll attract the right man when the time comes?
Maybe. After all, I’m a firm believe that we’re much more likely to attract people and situations that are the right fit for us when we start to truly believe in and recognise our own awesomeness.
But equally isn’t it about more than that?
Isn’t there something even more important in the fact that I’m now more likely to blow a kiss at myself in the mirror than grumble about the curve of my tummy? Or that telling myself daily how gorgeous I am has encouraged me to look after myself more? Or even the fact that I can suddenly see myself much more clearly in the spotlight of my own strengths than for the things I’m not doing?
I reckon so, and if you'd like to do a little more of any of those things, then I'd invite you to go ahead and bloody do it, and inspire yourself along the way however works for you!