I wanted to wear my nice jeans. You know which pair I am talking about. The pair that I look like a million bucks in, except, well … when I don’t look like a million bucks. After I adjusted my jeans for like, the fiftieth time, they were finally on. I assessed my look in the mirror, and here is how the conversation went down:
I ask my hubby, “Do I look fat?”
Without a moment’s hesitation, “You look beautiful.”
I am unsure so I ask again, “Are you sure?”
Unequivocally, “Yes. You look great.”
I am still not convinced, so I say, “What about my gorgeous skirt, instead?”
He answers, a little too quickly, “You look great in that, too!”
And that is when I turned around to see him staring at his Iphone.:) I said, a little too loudly, “You weren’t even looking at me.”
He smiled and said, “I don’t have to.”
I readily smiled back, but I was somewhat feeling dissatisfied. I am not… reassured. I turned back to the mirror, and I was still unsettled. Then I realized that he never really answered my question! So I turned around to say, “Yeah, but do I look fat?” only to find that Elvis had left the building. Oh great! Now I had to decide this for myself. Which got me to thinking about why we look for reassurance in the first place.
So I did some research, and found possible reasons as to why we need reassurance. See cute picture to the right? Here are a few:
- A. Do we know that we are blind to our own blindness, so we are checking in to see if they know something that maybe we don’t?
I don’t think I am blind when I am staring at my bulges in the mirror.
- B. Do we have unbelievably high standards, and judge ourselves more harshly than we judge others?
Perhaps, I am more critical of myself, but this doesn’t sound right to me, either
- C. Do we want to be free of responsibility, so that we have someone to blame if it all goes wrong?
Not sure how this one applies to me.
- D. Do we fish for reassurance, because it feels oh so good?
The hedonist in me loves a good pat on the back, but it doesn’t capture what I was trying to get from my husband.
- E. Do we want to feel safe so that we feel our loved one still find us attractive even in our less than attractive moments?
Ding, ding, ding
Did a bell go off for you, too?
What I have learned is that there are some downsides when we substitute another’s judgment for our own. It can create stress, because their judgments are out of our direct control. It can make us more fearful for the same reason. The biggest downside, however, is that when we substitute another’s judgment for our own, we diminish the trust we have in ourselves. When our self trust shrinks, it makes it more difficult to learn, to grow, and to be successful.
My daughter Sophia used “Dino Love” before bed to reassure herself that all was well. If you think you might need to get your self trust mojo back into full gear, but don’t necessarily want to use dino love here are my top three tips to get it rolling:
- Keep your commitments – make them small if you have to, but keep them. You need to recognize that you can keep your promises to yourself and to others.
- You are responsible for your experience – period. Don’t delegate your happiness, or how you feel to others. You choose how you feel.
- Be true to yourself. Your actions need to be in alignment with your principles.
For me, that means the next time I look in the mirror, after a week of eating Oreos, I will choose the gorgeous skirt instead of trying to stuff myself into jeans that I am not ready to wear – Yet!
Oh, I also came across a great resource. Dr. Sue Johnson has a very good blog post on vibrant relationships that you can find here , as well as many helpful videos and articles on her website.
Until next time,
Authors note: Picture was not taken of this author’s jeans, but rather, from stock photos…but you never know what the future will bring 🙂