Would You Like to Meet Yourself for the First Time?

Would you like to meet yourself for the first time?
Up for a bit of navel-gazing with me today?  

Recently, I was walking with Lee’s brother, Sean. Given enough time together, he and I will often tumble into a deep and meaningful conversation, and I really like that. 

But do you know what he asked me? He said “Would you like to meet yourself for the first time? And by that I mean, if you weren’t you right now but were someone else instead, and you saw you walking towards you, would you like that?”.

I thought about it for a little while. “No” I decided. “I don’t think I’d like to meet myself, because I don’t think I’d have a very good impression of myself”.

I would see a small and unruly woman (one who could easily be mistaken for a teenager), with messy hair and sometimes inarticulate way of speaking. I’d probably like the fact that she’s small and not intimidating to stand beside, but I’d feel a bit uncomfortable at how quickly she speaks and that she’s probably – no, definitely – thinking things she’s not saying.

After long enough, her good manners, initial enthusiasm and ‘best-selfness’ would give way to introversion, revealing bouts of silence and seriousness, and her opinions would come off as unsolicited advice.

That realisation, my friends, was a bit sad. Would I really not like myself if I saw me walking towards myself today? Would I really see so much to criticise or dislike?

Perhaps. Or, probably, actually. Sean’s question revealed that I’m more critical of myself than of any other person in the world. And also, that it’s very, very important to be gentle and generous when we’re forming opinions of people – including ourselves.

Our conversation prompted me to realise that I already practice some good habits. For instance, I realised that when I see a stranger in the street, I look for something to admire in them. Perhaps it’s the movement of their hair, their confident stride or the attentive way they’re talking to their child, for example. I rarely look for faults first.

So maybe, if I afforded myself the same kindness I do to others, I’d see a petite woman with friendly eyes and a friendly smile instead? Perhaps I’d appreciate the fact she was keeping the conversation going for the sake of the more-shy party, even if I didn’t quite catch every word she said?

I certainly wouldn’t think that her legs were too short or ‘chunky’, or dislike her nose or think that her hair wasn’t silky enough. I wouldn’t dislike her for eating a huge breakfast, and I most definitely wouldn’t mind it if she relaxed enough around me to reveal her less cheery self.

I’d probably be a lot kinder on myself than I am right now.

If you were to meet yourself for the first time, what would you think?
But what about you? If you were to meet yourself for the first time, would you be critical or open-minded?

Would you really find so many things to dislike?

And if so, might you consider being a little more generous with yourself and others from now on?

Clearly, I have a bit of work to do on my self-esteem right now, making a habit of extending kindness towards myself as well as others. What about you?

  • McKenzie Allyshia
    Posted at 19:49h, 05 March Reply

    I think you are absolutely adorable and I love your hair. In fact, I would probably mention that right off the bat. My hair drives me crazy because I can’t give it volume to save me most days. When it comes to meeting myself, I would have to say that it depends on the day. Some days, the good ones, I think I would be very approachable. However, the more common days where I am grumpy I would avoid myself like the plague. I can definitely tell the difference when I am out in public. On good days I have people who randomly will talk to me and smile at me, on the bad ones I am given a wider berth.

    • Flora McCormick
      Posted at 12:36h, 29 March Reply

      Hey Mckenzie, thanks so much for your lovely comment! I’m interested to hear that you’d like to meet yourself more or less depending on the day… that’s something lots of us can relate to, I’m sure. 🙂

  • Lulu
    Posted at 20:57h, 05 March Reply

    I always enjoy how thought-provoking your posts are, Flora. (I probably comment this on every one!) This post really resonated with me, in particular, as I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about self-criticism, striving for that elusive perfection and how hard we can all be on ourselves. I’ve written lots about it but have yet to distil into a blog post! I completely empathise – I am harder on myself than I *ever* would be about a friend or a stranger and it’s useless, in the long run, because we stop ourselves from striving and chasing our dreams (to get all Pinteresty!) when we think we aren’t good enough. (At least I do!) All a big ramble to say, I’d be totally keen for a chat (and lasting friendship, ha!) were we to meet in the street. Getting to know you through your blog/social media over the last few years has been so lovely 🙂 Sounds like a keeper of a brother-in-law you’ve got there, too! Walking & talking is fab. xx

    • Flora McCormick
      Posted at 12:36h, 29 March Reply

      Oh Lulu! Thank you lovely, I feel the same about your blog posts, as you know. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on self criticism/self esteem if you get round to typing it up into a blog post – I know it will be well considered and beautifully written. I’d love to bump into you too, and you’re right… I’m very lucky to have Sean as a friend & brother in law. x

  • Terry
    Posted at 22:47h, 05 March Reply

    Being one’s own biggest critic sounds the norm to me, perhaps that’s the case for most of us if we’re truthful. With advancing years I’ve come to realise that so much of who we’ve become was crafted way back in those ‘formative ‘ years. Learning to love one’s self may require far more effort than I’ve ever afforded it.

    I personally live in a maelstrom of insecurity, my father was ever critical during those special years, he did what he believed to be right but I’m far from sure that it was right for me. I’m left to ponder if my own shortcomings are nurture or nature?

    Enjoyed your blog Flora! x

    • Flora McCormick
      Posted at 12:36h, 29 March Reply

      Hello bumpa! I was so happy to see your comment pop up on here, I wasn’t expecting it at all. 🙂 I agree with what you’ve added – particularly that learning to love oneself requires a lot of effort! I’m sad to hear that your formative years have made you feel that way about yourself. I’m sure little granddad did what he thought was the right thing, but I agree that it was miles away from actually being useful or positive. Love you such a lot, see you soon. 🙂 xxx

  • Lucy
    Posted at 19:18h, 06 March Reply

    Saw your IG Stories which reminded me to catch up with your blog. This is such an interesting question – I often feel instinctively that I’m annoying, moody and far too eager to please. I know if I were to be asked that question I’d also say no, I don’t think I would like myself actually.

    I’ve never really thought about it before, but you’re right – it’s really sad to be so self-critical!

    L x

    • Flora McCormick
      Posted at 12:37h, 29 March Reply

      Hey Lucy! Oh that’s good, I really must use Instagram stories more in that case! 😉 I’m sorry to hear you feel that way about meeting yourself, but I appreciate you being so honest and sharing that. I feel like you’ve described me, too! haha! x

  • Kayte
    Posted at 20:54h, 06 March Reply

    This is really interesting. I’m quite like you, my first thought was how I seem to struggle with eye contact when first meeting someone, so my eyes tend to dart around like I’m about to rob the place or something! When I see someone walking towards me the first thing I notice tends be whether or not they have a dog or not, and usually I strike up a conversation with the dog, then awkwardly apologise to the owner. So if I saw myself walking towards me WITH my dog, I’m sure we;d get on very well 🙂

    PS, loving the new look by the way 🙂

    Kayte | http://www.simpleandseason.com

    • Flora McCormick
      Posted at 12:37h, 29 March Reply

      Hey Kayte, thank you for reading & commenting! 🙂 I’m the same – eye contact can be surprisingly tricky can’t it? It must be some kind of evolutionary confrontational thing! Dogs are good ice breakers, that’s for sure. 🙂 x

  • Becs Marriner (Parker)
    Posted at 21:45h, 06 March Reply

    This is definitely a thought provoking question. I definitely think we can all be too hard on ourselves. Let me have a think and I’ll get back to you.

    • Flora McCormick
      Posted at 12:38h, 29 March Reply

      Thank you so much for reading & commenting Becs. Hope you are less hard on yourself than I am, lovely. x

  • Alice
    Posted at 19:32h, 08 March Reply

    For what it’s worth, I think your hair is LOVELY. This was such a thought-provoking post, thank you.


  • Amanda
    Posted at 19:22h, 16 March Reply

    This was a super interesting post to read! I know that I struggle with being as generous towards myself as I would be towards others and that I have the tendency to be very self-critical. Thinking about “meeting” myself is a really great way to feel my way out of that critical trap! xx


    • Flora McCormick
      Posted at 12:38h, 29 March Reply

      Hey Amanda 🙂 Thank you very much for reading & commenting! I’m glad you found it interesting; it’s surprising how common it is for us to be generous towards others but critical of ourselves, isn’t it? x

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