Our inner voice is our harshest critic. There is no-one as cruel to us as we can be to ourselves. My daughters are at an age when they will look in the mirror, smile, and say cute things like “Mummy, I am beautiful.” And I agree, because they are. They are perfect, and like any mother of toddlers I defy anyone to tell me they aren’t gorgeous. The older one is starting to ask me, “Am I beautiful?” and I answer yes. And I wonder how long it will be before she starts looking in the mirror and doubting it. Because at some point, she will.

As she grows older she will, like all of us, be presented with hundreds of images a day of “ideal” beauty. Adverts will tell her how to get glossier hair, how to dress to cover up flaws which she hadn’t realised she had and how best to look like she is wearing no makeup by wearing lots of makeup.

And instead of feeling proud when she looks in the mirror, telling herself she is gorgeous, her inner critic will take over, and cruelly point out every flaw and invent a few more for good measure. She will worry about being too thin, or too fat. She will come out of the hairdressers’ unsure, so unsure about whether or not she looks OK. And so on.

Admit it, you know exactly what I am talking about.

Please take two minutes to look at this advert which was made by Dove as part of their #OneBeautifulThought campaign. It cleverly exposes our inner critic for being a manipulative, abusive liar.

How many times a day do you tell yourself something negative about your appearance? When does it start? When you wake up? Look in the mirror? When you are getting dressed? When you catch your reflection in a shop window?

How often is your inner critic getting away with lying to you? Abusing you? Making you feel rubbish? As one of the women in the advert says, you wouldn’t want to hear your daughter saying such awful things to herself.

So the next time you hear that pesky inner voice piping up to tell you how bad you look tell it to sod right off. Choose to tell yourself something positive about how you look. Make it a habit. It may feel odd at first, but if you think about it it shouldn’t feel any odder than paying anyone else a compliment. Say something kind to yourself when you look in the mirror. Every single time.

I’d love to know if you try it, how it feels and how much better you feel once new habits develop. In short: how beautiful are you?

Image by dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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