If you had a friend that spoke to you the way you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?

I think that this question assumes a lot of knowledge about “me”; it assumes I am insecure, self-depreciating, even self-destructive. Well, as a mug one of my teachers had once said, to err is human. I think we all pause for self reflection sometimes, and the people that never see fault are most likely the worst people out there. But I’m a reasonable confident person, the only major area of insecurity I have is with my looks, and deep down I know how fleeting that is. Let’s get it out there – I weigh 148 lbs and I’m 5′ 7″: yes, I’d like to be 130, but I run five times a week and I like a glass of wine in the evening. Will I look back on my life and think that I was hindered by my physicality? Not likely.

Let me relay a conversation with my best friend. J and I were on holiday in the South of France, and it was shortly before my emigration to the United States (I’m English, y’all!). In a move very unlike herself, J expressed concern for my wellbeing, worried that my confident facade would be cracked under the pressure of marrying at a diabolically young age, and moving friendlessly across the Atlantic. She persisted: “I know that under your confidence you have a layer of insecurity”. Yes. I told her, but underneath that insecurity is another layer of confidence. In short: I’m confident, then insecure, then obnoxiously and irreversibly confident to the core. Thank my parents, I had a wonderfully validated childhood.

Do I wake up every morning, look in the mirror and say “Hello Gorgeous” with a sly wink? No. Do I finish every days work with a self satisfied sigh, safe that I have just done the best damn days work ever? Of course not. Do I always compare myself favorably to my friends? Nope – and if you met my friends, you’d know why, they’re like Paris fashion week, only classically trained. Nor do I wake  up in the morning thinking “ugh, you again”. Maybe I’m lucky.

But here’s the real question: do I think that people should approach life with an internal monologue of self-appreciation? Tough question. I would say not, and here’s why: I spend very little time thinking about myself. In fact, sometimes when I look in the mirror I think “oh crap, that’s what I look Like”, as if I’d forgotten what my own face looks like. I spend 95% of my time thinking about what the weather is doing, what meetings I have, what to cook for dinner, whether the dog has been fed, did I remember to pack a lunch? When did I last speak to my Grandma? Did I remember the wedding gift for the event this weekend? And so forth. There are moments when I think “oh gosh, I hope I didn’t come across rude”, or “better make sure I have something decent to wear for this meeting”, but I don’t scrutinize my life performance 100% of the time. I don’t think that anyone should be so self aware, either from a positive or negative slant, that their internal monologue is filled with self-reviews.

Of course, being positive is better than being negative, but I think we should encourage each other to spend more time internalizing the bigger picture. Ultimately, we are lucky to be healthy and happy in a world where so many people are not. Which is exactly what my best friend or twin sister would say if I asked them.


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