We all have an 'alter-ego' and some of these voices in our head are pretty mean. They drive us to drink, insanity, depression and into doing nasty things that the other side of us does not like at all. These other sides of us reside in our mind and wake up regularly to tell us how inadequate we are, fat, ugly, dumb: you think of a negative and that voice in your head will have it down to a fine art.

The Dispassionate Observer
My Alter-Ego is, typically, the type of person I really very often say dismissive, unkind things about. She comes from Rotterdam and the Rotterdammers pride themselves on being pragmatic, honest, down-to-earth and all these other characteristics which mean, to me, that you say whatever you like, however hurtful it might be, without considering the effect it might have on the other. She is DISPASSIONATE. She is not invested in me. She stands aside and tells me as it is. Oh Boy, is she dispassionate!
"That dress is not really doing much for you, is it?"
"Everybody else made better fashion choices than you... What will they be thinking of you?
What kind of impression are you making on them? Are you being intelligent enough" (I swear: Alter talks like that)
"You should be reading literature.
You should have a job
You should have..."
and that list of should-haves and should-have-done's is even longer than the other lists of how dispassionately old Alter breaks me down.

The Passionate Observer
The Mel who is writing to you knows that, to a large extent, Alter could be right: I definitely regularly make the wrong fashion choices (I still cringe when I think of the outfit I CHOSE for my niece's wedding). I know my IQ is fine, I just regularly tune out, tune off; and I have been there, done the literature and love AND PREFER romances. (As Woody Allen said: War and Peace is about Russia). My parents and siblings taught me that I should look at myself critically and when they disappeared, Alter stayed, the DispassionateObserver.
Then, one day, I found the key to Alter's heart. I looked in the mirror and liked my wrinkles. I accepted that my intelligence is fine and that fibromyalgia has impaired certain brain functions. So I forget stuff. I sometimes give a dozy impression. I have a right to my health issues. I am learning to do what I do with kindness. The kindness towards others is getting easier all the time. I accept, without irritation, the strictures of the righteous. And Alter has become a friend. Alter has become my Passionate Observer.

Loving Yourself
This, my friends, is what loving yourself is about: that voice in your head egging you on, praising you, shoring up your courage. Your Alter goes with you into every good and bad situation, every moment of your life. Alter should be passionately invested in you. Alter should be passionately in love with you.  The only way to get Alter to love you is to love Alter. Passionately. My Alter loves me unconditionally. My Alter has a new name. Her name is Melané Ingrid Fahner-Botha.

What is your Alter called?