Self Censoring to Foster Positivity

So I spent yesterday being a media-consuming slug. In my opinion, it was a perfect Saturday: quiet, high-speed Internet connection, Twitter, blogs & websites, and Criminal Minds & CSI: NY on DVR.

In my ’round-the-Internet-in-8 hours world tour, I found myself encountering several themes over and over. First, a lot of bloggers seem to be talking about positivity. One blog essay, with a companion article on a news website, focused on the fact that women are socialized to never say they’re pretty, at least not without many qualifications. In response, the authors exhorted readers to acknowledge their own attractiveness.

Similarly, a few blogs spoke about how women tend to only ever share things they like about themselves couched in apologies or balanced against a list of negative traits. We seem to feel guilty that they have ‘bragged’ if they don’t also share something that takes away from the shine of the good things they’ve pointed out.

Finally, I think I read over a dozen blog posts that, in one way or another, touched on the need to own your own destiny. Some talked about ‘putting it out in the universe’, focusing on how positivity returns positivity. Others mentioned willing your own wins and visualizing yourself into success. Still others talked about the power of investing energy in positive self-reinforcement, being your own cheerleader.

Now, being the literal-minded, logic-oriented skeptic that I am, I’ve never really relied on vibes or wishes as a strategy. But I have always understood that old adages, home-spun wisdom is often founded in a kernel of truth and often have repeatable results.

Putting all this together and pulling out the best of the lot, I conclude that thinking positively about yourself and fixing the vision of your own success in your mind yields the best chance for achieving it.

So, in a continuing effort to improve my outlook on life, I’ve decided to make an experiment. For the next week, I will choose to be positive, not just about things external to me, but also about myself, my thoughts, my personality, my traits and mannerisms, and yes, about my body. This will be a challenge, as I’m all too aware of how I sometimes don’t measure up. But I’m determined to make a go of it.

I’m starting big, too. For today’s effort, I’m going to try something I saw on LGinDC’s blog last spring (when it was called the Can I Help You, Sir? blog): list five things I like about myself without exceptions or qualifications. The premise is that even though we all have long, exhaustive (and exhausting) lists of things we don’t like and want to change about ourselves, we should nevertheless be able to come up with a list of at least five things that we like about ourselves and can list without an asterisk, parenthetical or other equivocation. And, parenthetically, how sad is it that this is such an effort?

So, here’s my list (and it’s more than five!):

– I am a loyal, faithful, fierce friend
– I love deeply and with my whole being
– My mind is clear, sharp and full of thoughts
– I smile easily and my laugh is unrestrained
– I see good first and look for it in everyone I meet
– My eyes are interesting: green with golden flecks and shift from green to grey with my mood/state of health
– I have wit and a huge vocabulary

Lemme see yours…list, in the comments.


2 comments so far

  1. A Spare Mind on

    1. i can recognize a blogger worth reading in 2 posts or less.
    2. i can work a room of 4 year old chinese students like a champ.
    3. high heels? can throw them like a ninja star.
    4. i can do things that scare me. and often do.
    5. some have said that my polka dots are cute.

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