Imagine if you had a radio commentator analyzing every move you made, everything you did or didn’t do, in critical terms. “Jonathan is not having a very good day, no. Look, he’s procrastinating again. Why can’t he do better, I just don’t understand it….” When you went out of the house, you would get more criticism from this radio narrator about yourself, your inadequacies and failings of various kinds, and it wouldn’t stop all day long. You would probably want to turn the radio off, right?
A lot of people have that, though, in their own heads, and don’t know how to turn it off.
I have this radio in my head, too. But what it tells me is, “You are beautiful, you look fantastic. Wow, that was such a brilliant thing you just said. You rock! This was such a smart thing to do! Amazing!”
As I shared before, I had a group of adoring grandparents and great-grandparents who would gather around me throughout my childhood and stare at me with an almost religious adoration, discussing me in hushed voices in these superlative terms. Their voices are now my inner voice. It’s the best thing I have going for me in my life. I haven’t made it happen in any way, and it’s not my achievement. But it’s a cool thing to have.
I’m pretty much the only woman I know who is so completely happy with the way I look and with my intellectual capacities. Come to think of it, I don’t know any men who’d have such a happy sense of self either. I have many other challenges but at least this is not one. And so this inner voice is what I want to give to Klara. Because it’s the best thing I can offer to her. This is why she thinks Beautiful is a descriptor that is linked specifically to her as a measure of all beauty in the world.
Because once you do have the unhappy radio in your head, switching it off is extraordinarily hard.