A source of inspiration from the most unlikely source...

Years ago, I was reading the newspaper - yes, before you could get all of your news on the internet - and I saw an interview somebody did with "Bobcat" Goldthwait, the really weird guy from the Police Academy movies. I know your impression of me just dropped a couple of notches, but it was a time in my life when stuff like that appealed to me!

Anyway, they quoted him in the article as saying, "You are what you hate." At the time, I considered the thought. I tried to wrap my mind around it and come up with examples in my life and others of when this might be true. It didn't take long for me to pretty much discount the quote as just the most outrageous thing he could think of to say, but it kind of stuck in my head and festered.

Nearly a quarter of a century later, the quote took on a whole new meaning to me.

The other day, the thought kind of hit me that we really might be what we hate. Let me explain. We tend to focus in on the negatives in our lives. We have this innate need to "fix" things, and as a result, we look for what needs fixing. When we look at our finances, we see where we could have spent less money or how we could make more. In school, if we got a 98% on a test, we would flip through the pages and look for the red ink, wondering what happened to the other 2%. In terms of our health and fitness, we focus in on what we would like to change. We look in a mirror, and we don't see a gorgeous creature staring back at us. Instead, we see the blemish on our chin, the love handles around our waist, or the spaghetti on our shirt. We are so focused on seeing what we don't want to see, we have convinced ourselves that we are absolutely hideous -- to the point of avoiding cameras or staying home because our hair "just won't cooperate."

The thing is, the more we zero in on all of our faults, the more we notice them. It's almost like we're practicing to see all of the negatives. And we just keep getting better ... and better ... and better. What's worse is that this negative image we have of ourselves becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We give up on diets and exercise programs because, "what's the point? We're never going to be perfect anyway." As a result, we let ourselves go, and more faults manifest. A pair of pants no longer fits, and we see new bulges in recent pictures.

In a sense, we become what we hate.

What if we could use this power for good, rather than evil? I am sending out a challenge to everyone who reads this to look at yourself daily in the the mirror for a week, and rather than dwelling on the bad stuff, actively search for the good stuff. What do you like about your appearance? What do you like about yourself as a person?

At first, you may need a magnifying glass to find your own redeeming qualities, but just as you got better at identifying your faults, you'll get better at finding your good qualities, as well.