So many things I say on my blog I would never dare to say out loud. Unfortunately I think I would be ashamed; I fear people would look at me like I was a freak. I am embarrassed about a lot of the things I truly think about, and I do not think I would articulate myself nearly as well, because face it, I am a tongue-tied disaster when it comes to actually putting my thoughts into words. Very few people – Kate and my mom – have heard me speak of the topics I write about before hand. When I have finally told them about it, I know it is time to write.
I keep on thinking about an interaction I had a few weeks ago. A girl I know from school came up to me and was telling me how put together my life seemed. She continued on to say how envious she was of some of my successes thus far in life. I was extremely flattered, and to be quite honest, taken back by her kind words. I had always looked at this girl and thought she had it all. She is BEAUTIFUL, guys are constantly drooling over her, and she had a great group of friends. How could she possibly be envious of me?
I began thinking how disturbing this was. First of all, someone had just said something incredibly nice about me to my face and the first thing I do is compare myself to said person.
Why is it that we, especially as women, find it so hard to accept our accomplishments and take credit where deserved? Even for accomplishments as minuscule as taking a shower? Not everyone feels daily hygiene is important. Yet if you shower and smell nice and someone makes a point to tell you that you smell nice, much of the time your response will revert to what you still lack.
Yes I showered but, “Oh my gosh don’t look at me I didn’t put on makeup.”
My mom, being the ray of sunshine she is, never fails to tell me I look beautiful when she sees me. For the longest time my response was, “Ew no I don’t.”
I rarely felt pretty, and honestly, I have a very hard time accepting compliments.
Finally one day she told me I was not allowed to respond like that. She said she was complimenting me on something she believed to be true. My negative response was not only an unnecessary put down of myself, but it hurt her a lot as well. I began to stop myself from saying ew (although I admit is was painfully hard) and began saying thank you. Simply changing the way I responded to a compliment began to change my point of view of myself.
When this girl complimented me on my accomplishments, I, in a different way, was thinking, “Ew, my accomplishments are ugly.”
When I changed the way I responded to my mom, I noticed a considerable difference in the way I felt about myself. However, I only changed the way I respond to her. I was still responding to the rest of the world with the same negative outlook.
Is social media the problem?
A lot of times I have trouble singling out my achievements and seeing them for how great they truly are. Instead, I will actively search social media until I find someone who has a better body, more achievements, more friends, and so on and focus on what I DON’T have. It is a sick and destructive cycle.
In the past couple of weeks I have tried to ween back on my social media consumption. I do not post nearly as often as others and when I do post, a lot of times, it is a random thought (that no one would understand) or a still life photo I thought was neat. My issue with social media was not my own posting and relying on acceptance via likes, but me finding myself in a deep black hole on the popular page, comparing myself to super models and those sorts. I would come out of my in depth searches feeling terrible about myself and endlessly comparing every inch of me to every inch of the girl I wanted to be.
You don’t have to be a psychiatrist to know this is not healthy. I think social media had a lot to do with my response to the world around me. I think it had a lot to do with my initial reaction to the amazing complement my peer gave me.
Moving forward. . .
Since I have actively tried to lessen my time on social media, I have tried to replace that time with things that are positive. I treated myself to a brand new notebook and made a pact with myself I would only write empowering words within it. At this moment, I am working on a list of all of the reasons I am beautiful. Naturally I had difficulty getting started and turned to Pinterest for some motivation. I came across this saying, as if it was a sign I am moving in the right direction:
“If you can string words together into a sentence, and you’re brave enough to let someone else read it, that’s beautiful.”
It is so important to remember how exquisite each and every one of us are.
If you are reading this, you are beautiful.