Amy Poehler, actress and comedian, has great advice for girls in her latest video in her series Ask Amy. Amy answers the question of how you overcome negativity in your life. Her biggest piece of advice was to overcome self-negativity, and have that be a starting point for accepting positivity.
Poehler is also talking about an issue that is often overlooked in the larger discussion of dealing with bullies. What if your biggest bully isn’t someone else? What if you are your biggest bully?
What Ms. Poehler is addressing in her video is low self-esteem. Low self-esteem is where an individual views themselves as inadequate, unworthy, and unlovable. This belief influences every part of an individual’s life, and leads to all kinds of false assumptions about their worth as a human being (which, in turns, impacts the decisions they make in their lives). Low self-esteem can impact anyone, male or female, at any age.
Everybody has days where they feel grungy because they skipped the shower for extra sleep, or sloppy because today’s lunch took a detour onto your shirt en route to your mouth. That’s a normal part of being a human being. But when negative thoughts about yourself become a pattern that reinforces the idea that you are disgusting, worthless, or unlovable, destructive behaviors can follow—not to mention the fact that hating yourself is about as exciting as open heart surgery and twice as hard to recover from.
So how do you break this cycle? How do you learn to control those thoughts and stop feeling about as worthwhile as last week’s leftover tuna casserole?
For starters, Ms. Poehler has some great advice—pay attention to the thoughts that you have about yourself! If you wouldn’t tell your mom or your best friend that you think they’re too fat or that they’re ugly, why would you think that about yourself? Take active steps to stop thinking thoughts that are destructive and untrue. Instead of saying, “I hate my fat thighs,” try focusing on a positive aspect of your physical appearance and complimenting yourself; instead of, “I am so stupid,” think of a task you did well recently and give yourself a pat on the back.
Also, remember that you are not perfect—and that’s okay! You have flaws, just like the rest of humanity, but focusing on those flaws means that you ignore the parts of yourself that are totally awesome. Learning to think about yourself positively can also be a really hard thing to do—you’ll probably mess up and get discouraged, and that’s okay too. As Ms. Poehler suggested, surround yourself with friends who genuinely care about you and think you are worthwhile. True friends will encourage you and find ways to lift you up when you start feeling like tuna casserole again. Friends who don’t treat you with love and respect aren’t your real friends, and aren’t worth your time.
Blog written by Melissa Moore, Lose The Drama’s new intern!