Fat. Ugly. Useless.
When aimed at another person, this kind of language can seem more profane than the foulest of four-letter words. Why, then, is it so easy to say such words into the mirror?
Much as a caregiver looks after everyone but himself, we are all too often considerate of the feelings of everyone but ourselves. The physical and mental variations that make us special to others are seen through our own eyes as flaws to be treated with scorn.
Think about the most recent compliment that you've received. A great hair day, perhaps. Maybe you drew a picture or knitted a scarf. What was your first reaction when someone said, "Wow, I love it"? Did you thank them, or did you immediately point out imagined errors and brush aside their comments with self-deprecation?
It can be hard to love ourselves. Why?
If we are to be kind to others, we must first be kind to ourselves. No one knows us better than we know ourselves. Doesn't it follow that we should also see ourselves more clearly than others do? Jealousy, self-doubt, fear - these are the veils that impede our insight. Kindness is the lens that will give us the best view of the world and ourselves.
Here's an experiment to try at home. For the next week, before you go to work or wherever your day takes you, look into the mirror. Take a good look at that person. Look yourself in the eye, smile, and say, "You're going to be great today". How do you feel after the first day? After a week? How would you feel if you did it every single day?
Question: Why is it so easy to buy into a negative self-image?