I have the unfortunately common (often feminine though I know both genders struggle with) issue of not being able to accept a compliment. I talk myself down. I say rude things subconsciously. I am my own worst enemy. A coworker and I were talking about this issue recently. It is a sad fact that though she and I have both lost weight over the past year, and are quite pretty women, we struggle to even feel attractive most days. And so after that conversation, and my recent increasing struggle to be more positive and self-loving, I decided to be brave and address this here.
Based on conversations with friends and family, I know this is something that most of us struggle with. Yes, we all know at this point that magazines, television shows, social media (check out this post on what Facebook does to us), etc are all the culprits of making us feel judged, not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not fashionable enough. But I think the worst culprit is by far ourselves and how we affect each other. On days when I wake up feeling alright, put on a cute outfit and look in the mirror and actually see myself for who I am, too often I am shot back into the negative self-hatred space by a friend.
I never realized how much of an affect friends can have until I started trying to actively work on being a more positive, self assured individual. In fact most of the time, I don't think we're really that great of friends to each other - every time one of my skinny, gorgeous girlfriends talks about how fat she is, how awful her hair is, etc etc, I immediately go into that dark space of wondering "if she thinks she's fat, what must she think of my enormous self?"
I am just as guilty of talking myself down and I'm sure making the other person feel badly even though I think they are gorgeous, thin, and wonderful (I really do!). So today I thought I'd try something new with you all, something that is very difficult for me to do. I want to encourage you to do something similar if this is also a struggle for you. Perhaps we could all start trying to be more positive, more self-loving and then in turn, we would all be more loving friends and individuals to those around us.
Here are 10 things that are difficult for me to say, but I'm working hard to believe are absolutely true, about myself:
1) I am a good big sister. I changed my sister's diapers when I was 8. I played dolls with her. I helped my younger brothers with homework, talking to girls, and slow dancing. I genuinely care about all my siblings and would do absolutely anything to ensure their happiness.
2) I have a good sense of humor. I can laugh at myself. At least once a week, I crack a joke that makes someone else laugh. I am not afraid to dress goofy, dance like a fool, and do the chicken dance in public.
3) I have awesome eyelashes. My long, thick eyelashes are one of my favorite features. I've only worn mascara about three times in my life and it was so thick, it was a bit frightening.
4) I am a cute, petite size. I am about 5'2" or 5'3" (on a good day) and in high school, I finally started liking being so petite. I have a small waist and short torso. I have to shop in the petite section for clothes to truly fit. The largest indication of my small stature is the fact that two months ago I tried on my high school prom dress from ten years ago and it fit. Losing 10 lbs in the past year from all the running helped too.
5) I have one of those face shapes that can pull off lots of hair styles. I had medium-length hair for most of my life, but I have also had various lengths of pixie cuts and angled bobs. The latest style is my current favorite and I still can't believe the before & afters.
*Wow - this list making is really hard!*
7) I am a nice person and try to see the best in others. The few times in my life I have tried to be mean (like to an ex for example), I felt badly about it for weeks, sometimes years after. It's the same way with gossiping - not something I take pleasure in. I also try to always see the good in others, even when in bumper to bumper traffic, and some driver is being a total bozo, I always try to give them the benefit ("maybe they're having a bad day", "maybe they're spouse is sick", etc).
8) I am a good cook. I may not be particularly adventurous or stray much from recipes, but I enjoy cooking and making healthy meals for friends and family. I LOVE hosting dinner parties and sharing great recipes I've found.
9) I'm getting better with age. Crazy to say because of course as I'm nearing my 30s I'm seeing a few more crinkles around my eyes and gray hairs, but I also feel the slightest hint of confidence and have found some kind of personal style for the first time in my life. It actually even makes me a little more excited about what lies ahead in the next 28 years.
10) This completely amazing guy married me and that must mean I'm pretty cool myself. I promise I'm not typically as mushy as this and my last blog post, and I promise to be a little less mushy in the rest of my posts this month, but I seriously 100% believe that I completely won the spouse lottery when it comes to Keith (and I hope everyone feels that of their spouse!). So on days when I get too wrapped up in my head, I try to remind myself "you have the most amazing husband ever, that must mean you're not so bad yourself since he married you!"
If you don't know me, please know that these 10 things were very difficult to write. I want to be able to include I'm a good friend on here in the future, because I truly believe that once I learn to love myself more, that will also become a truth. Let's all try to do a little less of the self-hate (uncensored video warning) this week. I'd love to hear some of your 10 positive, self-loving statements as well.