I am not 100% sure what it is that I see in my minds eye when I think of myself.  I’m probably about 16 if I’m being honest, with different snap shots of myself blurred on top of it….

This internal perception of myself I know is off.  Here’s why I know this to be a f.a.c.t.  I will sometime do a double take of others’ pictures and wonder if that’s a picture of myself.  Upon closer inspection, I realize that the picture is not of me and actually emphasizes one of the areas of my personal appearance that I dislike – acne, weight, posture, bad teeth, etc.

I did that just the other day.  I was on a Facebook page and they had a collage of members, I saw a picture of someone with glasses and crooked teeth.  The first thing I thought was, “Where did that picture of me come from and WHY is it on some random Facebook page?!”

It wasn’t me, it was a nice picture of one of the page admins and their child.  I was so worried someone would see my crooked smile, I completely missed the child in the photo.

Here’s the real kicker.  I haven’t had a crooked smile in almost ten years.  However, the self-conscious 16 year old that lives in my mind is still stuck on that aspect of her appearance.  I am sure I have been doing these double takes my whole life, but it wasn’t until recently that I actively started to notice what I was doing.

How do you heal that?!  Is it simply a matter of recognizing it so that way it will disappear?  I’m not sure, so this is what I did:

1.  I told myself that it wasn’t me and it was OK that I thought it was, I am safe.
2.  I told that admin that she was beautiful (via my amazing mind powers) and applauded her courage to smile.
3.  I reminded myself again that it was OK for me to smile now and as a 16 year old girl.
4.  I smiled.  Like, really smiled at the amazing way my mind works to bring me to awareness.
5.  I took a drink of coffee, loved on my cat, and moved on.

I think that is a pretty good place to start.

Shannon Townsend