So, I had this Italian lover.
He was lots of fun—a self-named diaveletto (little devil).
He also taught me about confidence and self-esteem. Including a simple and practical tip, which I’ll share with you.
Many Italians, as I learnt, have excellent self-esteem. They seem to have this way of occupying their bodies, the room, their laugh…so effortlessly.
The denim-ed teenagers, the Sophia Lorens, Antonionis, the sassy nonnas, and my lover.
On the other hand, Australians, New Zealanders, English folk and lots of others—as my lover pointed out—can often be a bit more cagey, self-effacing, awkward about compliments.
I wanted to know how the heck these Italians felt so effortlessly comfortable in their own skin. How do they have that kind of glow?
I was especially curious given my history of depression and stuff—my self-esteem could do with a helping hand.
So I asked my lover what the secret is.
In his molto carina Italiano accent, he said,
“In Italy, we cultivate a sense of self-love. A sense that we trust ourselves. And we have, like, a leettle crush on ourselves. It’s cheeky, I know, but it’s laawv!”
“I know, I know! I see that!” I said. “But what’s your secret to feeling so confident, to self-love?”
“Well there are a few things,” he said, smirking. “One really simple thing is ‘Certo!’”
It’s pronounced chert-oh, with a rolled ‘r.’ It means “of course.” Literally, “certainly.”
My lover said,
“In Eee-tah-leee, when someone gives you a compliment on your shorts or something, rather than say ‘oh, no, no, no, these are just old!’ like you do in Australia, you say, ‘Certo!’ Of course. And that’s it.”
“It’s like saying, ‘You like my shorts? Well of course you do! I do too! I have great taste and I know how to put an outfit together!’ ‘Certo’ is acknowledging that the compliment is true, because…of course it is!”
Does this actually contribute to self-esteem and self-love though? Think about it for a second.
We can often be our own worst enemy when it comes to loving, nevermind outright celebrating ourselves. So much of our greatness is hidden, by us.
“Certo!” is so powerful because we claim our beauty. Our intelligence, our style. We own it and revel in it. We become our own best friend and champion.
It actually supports a big part of becoming tantric: becoming your own lover. Which means loving (and admiring) yourself, as if you were your lover.
I chose to get over my judgments about ego and being humble and decided to try using “Certo!” to see if it could up my self-esteem and self love.
And it works!
Of course I put a bit of my own New Zealand spin on it (I wasn’t so audacious as to say of course you think I’m great!), but in my mind at least, I was like, “Oh, you like my shorts? Of course you do! I do too! They’re great! I’m great! I think? I mean, yes! I am great!”
For someone who had mega self-esteem issues, “Certo!” is quite something.
I got a little rush from it. From believing that maybe I am smart. Talented. Stylish. Loving. Good at my job. An amazing kisser. A great cook. And I get to enjoy how awesome I am.
It’s quite cheeky too, which is fun.
So be a little diaveletto and try “Certo!” out this week…
I dare you!
Author: Caitlyn Cook
Image: Love Actually (2003)
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren