I was at a big event on Saturday night. It was the retirement function for our Air Force’s iconic Iroquois helicopters, and it was a fantastic night. Everyone was all dressed up, and it was amazing to catch up with so many people I hadn’t seen for ages.
I noticed something, however. Each old friend I saw, I’d comment on how gorgeous they looked. Almost all of them answered by putting themselves down. Every single one of them looked stunning, and yet they all pointed out things that they didn’t like. I was no different – any compliments I received, I quickly turned aside by making a comment about my stomach being too big, or my dress being a disaster.
A friend and I bumped into one young lady in the toilet and got chatting (as you do). I told her how much I loved her dress and how lovely she looked in it and she told us that she has recently lost 85 kgs! Such a huge achievement, and you would assume that she would be feeling amazing – but she didn’t. She worried about whether or not her dress caused her (non-existent) belly to poke out.
We are SO hard on ourselves. I often take note of women when I’m out, thinking how much I love this one’s jacket, or how great that one looks in her jeans…but when you pay close attention, you notice that this one pulls her coat in closely to make sure that no one notices her muffin top, or that one sucks in her tummy and stands up straighter whenever she thinks that someone is looking at her.
Here’s the thing ladies….we are our own worst enemies. When people are looking at us, they aren’t pulling us apart, one less-than-perfect body part at a time. They are admiring us.
I need to pay heed to this too. I had to write a blog recently as part of a challenge describing myself and I think it was one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to do. I was literally cringing and squirming with discomfort trying to write it, and the experience really stuck with me. Why is it so hard to be nice to ourselves?
I’m making it a mission to start now. I want my daughter to grow up and feel ok with saying ‘I look really good today’, or ‘yes, I’ve had children and my body doesn’t look like I’m 18 any more, but I look like a strong woman.’ She’ll only get to that point if I model it for her. So I’m going to be positive. I’ve had three children and my body will never look like it did when I was 18, but I was a stick back then. Now I’ve got lumps and bumps, and I’m working on shifting the 5kgs I need to lose, but my body is strong and has provided a nurturing home for my babies and I love it. That’s a start, right?