It feels like nowadays it’s the norm to dismiss a compliment by putting ourselves down. Or by criticising ourselves in front of others. I am forever doing this. I can’t help it. It’s almost an involuntary response.
The other day I was complimented on the school run. Someone mentioned how well I looked and how good my legs were looking. Straight away I responded with ‘oh no I’ve got a long way to go, lots of wobble left’.
In my head I was thinking “WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? WHATS WRONG WITH YOU?”
I walked away thinking, ‘what’s wrong with me?’ Why can’t I accept a compliment? Do I really dislike my body that much? It’s like a default setting. Perhaps we do it to stop others picking up on our insecurities? Perhaps we’re trying to get the insult in before someone else does or try make a joke out of it. Really, we are only highlighting our insecurity and putting ourselves down. Why are we all so insecure and self-critical? What are we trying to achieve?
Self-love doesn’t come overnight. But we all should take steps to truly appreciate ourselves and build a more positive image of who we are.
London Vitality 10000 2019
Earlier in the year I ran the ‘London vitality 10000’. And running alongside me was the most incredible group of women who ran the whole 10k in their underwear. Women of all of shapes, ages and backgrounds running together and owning their body! It was such an empowering sight. They love their bodies and weren’t afraid to show it. I watched them and just thought… Wow! I wish I could do that.
But hang on… I can! So, what’s stopping me? It’s that little voice filling me with doubt and insecurity. Perhaps the feeling of people criticising my body, judging me, even laughing at me. I had nothing but respect and pride watching those women run so why would it be any different for me? Well let’s be honest. It won’t. So, I need to squash that negative voice making me doubt myself and learn to love and empower myself more.
Why do we lack confidence?
How many of us have not worn an outfit because we felt so uncomfortable? Or put off swimming or wearing a costume because we feel so uncomfortable in our own skin? I know I have. Here are some statistics that I found really upsetting.
98% of girls feel immense pressure from external sources to look a particular way (Heart of Leadership). 98%!!! I don’t want my kids to grow up feeling pressured to look a particular way. What happened to embracing individuality?
6 out of 10 girls opt out of important activities because they are uncomfortable with their bodies. (Dove Self Esteem Project).Things like the gym, school, the doctor’s? We have to change the way we think and feel about ourselves. And we need to empower each other so that these statistics can change!
I think this quote is so apt and really highlights how we need to feel good about ourselves.
So what exactly are we striving for? For some reason we crave to have other people’s features or bodies. Let’s look at Marilyn Monroe, one of the worlds sexiest icons. She had lumps and bumps but my goodness she owned it and looked great. She oozed body confidence and accepted and loved her body. That is such an attractive quality and something we all should do more of. We need our children to see us comfortable and happy in ourselves, so they grow up feeling the same way.
I want to feel confident and happy in my body and I want others to as well. So how can we change the way we see ourselves?
Kindness is key. Be kind to yourself! When those negative thoughts creep in, take a deep breath and focus on your positives and what makes you happy. Being kinder to yourself includes forgiving yourself. Because we are all human and make mistakes! And we have all snapped at someone, been late, embarrassed ourselves or messed things up. But all we can do is apologise if needed, learn from it, forgive ourselves and move on. None of us are perfect. I guarantee the person you think is completely together and perfect has their own doubts and struggles. We all do.
When we are kind to ourselves it radiates from us and we are kinder to others. This then has a knock-on effect to the people around us. The world needs more kindness. We need to rid ourselves of the negativity inside us. Let’s quieten that voice and work on empowering and encouraging others but most importantly ourselves!
Accept the compliment:
Why do so many of us struggle to accept a compliment? Perhaps we don’t think it’s true or we don’t deserve it? I can say now that it’s absolutely not true! A person pays a complement because they want to. Perhaps because you look good or have done something great and they want you to know.
This morning my partner said how beautiful I looked. I said, ‘Yeah right, not the way I’m feeling today’. He just looked at me because he knows I’m working on this blog post and was testing me. Epic fail for me then!
He was right to test me though. Self-confidence is something he knows I have struggled with and it’s something I really need to keep working on. And although I may not feel 100% every day, I shouldn’t doubt the way someone else feels about me.
If someone likes your hair, don’t brush it off or say something like ‘Oh well I finally washed it’. Just say ‘thank you’ and accept that they said it because they meant it. You need to start believing that. Accepting a compliment can be harder than it sounds. But you do deserve it! You look great… own it.
If someone else looks nice don’t just think it, tell them. Spread that positivity. Because it may well make their day and give them the lift and confidence boost that they need.
When I hear someone putting themselves down or making a negative joke about their appearance, it hurts to hear. I’ve been there. I mean I think I still am a bit there. Doubting and comparing yourself is not a good place to be. I try to do something that someone once did for me. I listen. Then I tell them that they are amazing. I tell them that they are beautiful and that they shouldn’t doubt themselves. I’m not there to judge or to laugh along at their insecurities, I’m there to support, encourage and empower.
Something so simple can make such a difference to someone. And hopefully they will start to believe in themselves and shift that negativity. Who knows, they may then even do the same to others.
Let’s work together to empower one another. Be kind, positive and supportive as we all struggle with body and self-confidence issues in our own way. Go buy yourself something you wouldn’t normally wear or get that bikini! Wear the red lipstick and own it! I did it. And do you know what, I LOVE it. I’ve had two children and I’m wearing my bikini with pride! Next stop – do a run in my undies!
We have wasted enough time on negativity and listening to those voices. We are all capable of the most incredible things. We just need to start believing it.
Remember to be kind and keep glowing