Which made me feel very unattractive. Actually, ugly would be more accurate. This had a huge impact on my self-image and self-confidence as I entered the 9th grade.
But I had hope that things would change because my sister, who’s two years older than me, got contact lenses after her sophomore year in high school. In our family the age that she (the first-born) got permission to do things was significant. I’d be able to get contact lenses, too, but not until I completed my sophomore year. That’s how it worked.
So I endured the first two years of high school, and finally, my day arrived.
It was like a miracle when I saw the world clearly without glasses for the first time in seven years. I looked in the mirror and no longer saw a gawky girl staring back at me.
Then I started getting compliments about my beautiful eyes – people had not been able to see them behind those thick lenses. Or maybe I had been more timid about having eye contact. Whatever the reason, my self-image was transformed in just a few short months.
I felt different inside and started acting with more confidence and assurance. I expanded my beliefs about what was possible academically and socially. I became president of the Keyette Club my senior year and won a faculty award for outstanding contributions at graduation.
Of course, I don’t tie all of my accomplishments in high school to getting contact lenses. It’s not that simple. And yet, it’s important to recognize how your perception of yourself affects the way you see the world and operate in it.
I’m betting you have some limiting beliefs about yourself today that can be traced back to your youth. An adult whose opinion mattered to you said something – whether an off-handed comment or a continual barrage of criticism – that has stuck with you. Or maybe, like me, you felt unattractive or inferior due to a physical limitation. The impact could have been profound in affecting your thoughts and your behavior.
It’s worth taking time to think about the attitudes and beliefs you have about things from your past and determine if they are true now – or if they were ever true. You may be putting yourself in an imaginary box that doesn’t exist in reality. And the way to break free is to be willing to take a long, hard look at the thoughts you’ve accepted and ask:
“Is this really true?”
“What evidence do I have to support this thought?”
“What evidence do I have to refute it?"
"What do I want to DO about this?”
It takes courage and effort to examine long-held beliefs, but the freedom you’ll feel afterwards is worth it. And you’ll likely discover that you’re capable of much more than you ever thought possible.
"An individual's self-concept is the core of his personality. It affects every aspect of human behavior: the ability to learn, the capacity to grow and change. A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success in life." - Joyce Brothers, American psychologist (1925- )"