Question Everything

question I had a client in my office the other day struggling with low self-esteem.  She was telling me that she felt like she was fat and that her mouth was crooked and that she wasn't pretty because she didn't wear makeup.  As a therapist, we look for WHERE these messages originally come from and try to challenge them at the root.  In that process and until we get to that process, I have some brilliant advice:  Question Everything! There was a part of me that wanted to bombard her with positive messages.  She wasn't fat, in the least....there is nothing wrong with her mouth....and she was absolutely beautiful without makeup!   But I know that these messages can fade quickly and she might not accept them if her beliefs about her self were deep enough.  I've got to get her to not accept these messages....from herself or from anyone else.  I recommended she make a practice of questioning everything.  Practice....because we get better and better at things we practice.  Look for opportunities around you and within you to question.  Here's what this might look like: You overhear a couple of friends looking at a picture of someone on the internet, saying they wish they had her nose instead of their ugly, crooked nose....
  • Who says your her nose is ugly?
  • Who says the girl on the internet's nose is better?
  • Why are any noses considered ugly or pretty?
  • Can't all noses be interesting?
  • Does someone's nose really make them ugly?
  • Do I know someone with a big/crooked/imperfect nose that is still beautiful or attractive?
  • Are there celebrities with imperfect noses, yet they are still considered attractive?
Your good friend is on yet another diet to lose weight and says she wishes she could lose 20 pounds....
  • What difference would 20 pounds make for her?
  • Who gets to decide how much anyone weighs?
  • What is weight besides a number?
  • Would my friend be any prettier if she lost 20 pounds?
  • Who do I know that some would consider overweight, but I think they are beautiful?
  • Are there any celebrities who are curvy and beautiful?
  • Does weight make someone better looking?  Or not as good looking?
  • Is it really about the weight?
You hear someone tell a "dumb blonde" joke, and even though you know it is just a joke to make people laugh, you take this opportunity to ask some questions....
  • Who gets to decide if someone is smart or not?
  • Do I know someone who is smart and thinks they are dumb?
  • What does smart really look like?
  • Can someone be smart and not make good grades in school?
  • Can someone make good grades in school and not really be all that smart?
  • Are there different kinds of smart?
If we practice this when we hear it from others, it will be easier when we start to question things about ourselves.  We look in the mirror and notice what we notice....and when we hear a negative thought within us, we question it.... The truth is, beauty comes from within.  We've heard that all our lives, but do we believe it?  Can we see the beauty in others?  Who really gets to decide if freckles are beautiful or to be hidden?  Or if imperfect teeth really keep others from approaching you?  Or if how much we weigh really matters?