When I was a little girl I found a note my friend wrote to another friend that said, “Michelle is ugly and has a big nose.” Aside from the pain of this hurtful comment was the new idea that my nose was big. I had never thought of my nose as big before, and yeah compared to some other shapes it could be considered to be on the big side. But the note put words together that gave my nose a totally different meaning: Michelle + big + nose = ugly. It wasn’t just that my nose was bigger than other noses. It was that having a bigger nose is ugly.
There’s a very subtle action we could easily skip over when talking about being wounded. There’s something that happens between being hurt and the hurt becoming a wound, and that big event is that we accept the hurt as truth. There are many choices that I could have made when I heard this comment if I had a different perspective.
- I could have thought that this girl was silly to even comment on another person’s appearance.
- I could have thought that she was an unhappy girl who wanted to make other people feel the way she felt.
- I could have thought that she was crazy—my nose is awesome!
- I could have simply brushed her comments off and kept on moving.
This comment didn’t need to mean anything, and it wouldn’t have meant much except for the fact that I chose to believe it.
There are times when we are true victims, and there are times when it just hurts when someone says something critical about us. But when you begin to acknowledge that you have a choice you can decide to hold a different perspective. A perspective is a lens through which you view the world. You get to choose the way you look at things. You can choose to look at yourself as a victim of someone else's harsh words or you can choose to see the deeper truth that that person is probably acting out of their own pain and that this hurtful comment is not really about you.
The most powerful perspective I've discovered in my life is that nothing is personal.
When you begin to look through that lens you see that we are all in pain, all acting out from that pain, and we're all really just doing the best we can with what we've been given. When I see that nothing is personal I realize that a snippy comment is not about me, but about what that person is going through emotionally in the moment. When I take the perspective that nothing is personal I can see that all of the comments and actions that have contributed to me having a negative view of myself are really about the other person, not me.
Most of our deepest pain occurs during childhood. Even if you have gone through intense pain recently, the deeper wounds that are being triggered likely stem from your youth. Look at your own life experiences and the things you consider to be “wrong” with you. It doesn’t just have to be your appearance. It could be a belief about your personality or your mannerisms.
Then begin to acknowledge that these are stories that someone else had about you, someone who was probably in a lot of pain themselves, who would probably be embarrassed if you told them what they had said today. And these stories are ones you decided to become the truth about yourself.
Now start to let in the idea that maybe those stories aren’t true. Maybe they are just mean things some little kid said because they weren’t getting something they needed. Replace them with the truth that you are enough as you are regardless of what anyone else says about you.
Beneath the ideas your mind has about you and beneath the pain in your heart is an incredible human being who is enough. You are enough as you are right now. Under all of the shame, the ideas, the accumulated pain of the past, is a beautiful soul who deserves joy and love. You deserve to let go of old stories that come from other people's pain.
You can take this topic into your Change Your Life Challenge for this week. As you’re looking at yourself bring up the stories you’ve adopted, breathe into them, and release them. Give yourself permission to let go of them. Don’t let any other person define your beauty. Look at your body and hear your voice as you say today’s affirmation out loud.
Nothing is personal.
I release old wounds, hurt, and resentment.
I am beautiful as I am.
Keep reciting this as you spend time being present with your beautiful body today in front of the mirror.