Mirror, mirror tell me what I'm saying!
Updated: Jun 7, 2022
Article published in Forbes Colombia
By: Catalina Jiménez Combariza
What if we learned to look in the mirror every day and tell ourselves how capable we are?
Whenever I give media training to my allies and clients, I propose to carry out, (among many others) a “simple” exercise of empowerment and visualization, in which before entering to dictate a presentation or give an interview, they are visualized as successful, powerful and I ask you to imagine closing the space in a victorious way. What is this for? To tell their brains and their own safety, that in addition to all the qualified they already are, they will be capable and deserve the space that they are opening up for them. What if we learned every day to look at ourselves in the mirror and tell ourselves how capable we are? If what we often easily communicate to the outside, we said to ourselves? I always wonder, what is that narrative about what We are, what are we saying to ourselves? It will be that: how do we communicate with the other, is it a reflection of how we do it with ourselves? The truth is, I think NO, and that sometimes it is easier for us to recognize the achievement of the another, than one's own, to see the beauty in the other person than in oneself and although it is something that happens to men and women, I also feel that we, women, are the hardest and “saboteurs” with our inner speech, about abilities, suitability, physique, achievements and here, unfortunately, the list goes on ...
Am I capable? Did I earn it?
I have friends in the most diverse positions and exercising their daily tasks from the most varied roles; senior executives, directors, vice presidents, coaches, doctors, and presidents, where they also work as mothers, wives, daughters, and housewives. I have no doubt, that each one of them has earned the place in which it works with total merit. However, I dare to say that all of us at some time or several times have doubted our suitability to assume any of the functions that are our role in our role (and I include myself); I have heard my friends say "I think I am not capable of giving that talk", "I made my intervention very quickly so as not to bore them", "sometimes I feel that I was not ready to be a mother, my children may be traumatized by my position in the company, which requires me to travel continuously ”,“ I don't know if I'm good enough for that position ”and my own list is even longer ... we have won. Although the impostor syndrome is a psychological disorder and surely has much deeper implications and characteristics, which only an expert could explain to us. I believe that all of us at some time have had some of these symptoms: 1) Believing that we do not deserve our own achievements, believing that it is the product of luck, 2) Doubting our own abilities, and the last and perhaps the most painful, 3) A constant fear of being discovered as if fraud were being committed. In my own flesh, I have lived above all the first symptoms, at 23 I jumped into the water of entrepreneurship, and as the agency grew, I for my part often thought or felt that I did not deserve it and that much of it was a matter of luck. To my delight, this feeling has become less frequent over the years, as I no longer feel like a 23-year-old entrepreneur, but a 40-year-old woman who runs her own business.
About stereotypes and other demons
When it comes to the physical part, I feel that this internal dialogue is often even more painful and unforgiving towards women. I have a friend who owns a clothing store, and she always says that any type of woman who enters looks in the mirror with the dress she is trying on and looks how she looks, regardless of her appearance, she always sees a "flaw" ... "if maybe it were smaller here", "if this had it bigger". We are tough and we speak loudly, once again we sabotage ourselves, but now with our appearance. Lately I follow influencers of different sizes and physical characteristics on social networks who claim beauty in any way, make me feel good and remind me of the constant commitment to tell myself that I am fine just the way I am, that we should all feel free and happy to inhabit our own body.
Empowered and free
A few years ago one of the executives who works in my team sent me an incredible email, mediating for her partner, I think she had never seen a promotion to someone better done, the funny thing is that she had never negotiated anything for herself so with me when I showed her, her arguments continued to make it easier for her to “sell” the other's qualities than her own. There is a study that shows that the salary gap is largely due to the fact that women negotiate badly , we do not value our work, and even being qualified we do not apply, because we believe that someone can be better. Men, on the other hand, with sometimes lower qualifications, are “measured” and set out to explore without questioning so much about whether they meet these requirements. Let's become our best friends, in the end, and as several motivational cards say “we are the person with whom we are going to live our whole life”. What if we communicate positively, if as the best spokesperson for ourselves, we correct our internal dialogue and that narrative becomes powerful, we accept each other with each of our individualities that make us just that, unique and thus we teach our children and daughters to love, respect, believe themselves capable and deserving as a result of not only their effort but of their own nature. It took me almost 36 years to believe in my work capabilities and by then I already had a 13-year-old company (founded by that little girl of 23, full of dreams), now I am 40 and still, at times I live some heartbreak with the mirror. But also, I review my internal dialogue so as not to sabotage myself and I am aware that the task of relearning to speak to me, empowering my daughter in her own speech, and accompanying us all to build healthier and more positive personal narratives, is a permanent task for all of us.
 BABCOCK, Linda; LASCHEVER, Sara. "Ask for it: How women can use the power of negotiation to get what they really want." Bantam Dell, USA 2009) * She is the founder and director of Sentidos Comunicaciones. The opinions expressed are solely the responsibility of their authors and are completely independent of the position and editorial line of Forbes Colombia.