Tag Archives: self image

Compliments

compliments

“Like most girls, Emily can’t take a compliment.  Around here, if you don’t show outward signs of hating yourself by the 5th grade, everyone calls you conceited.”
– Brian Strause, from the novel Maybe a Miracle

Ok, so am I the only chick on the planet that absolutely can NOT take a compliment?

I saw the above quote in a novel I was reading a while back and it was like a spotlight shown around the sentence with big flashing neon arrows pointing to it saying, “This! This! This!”  One little seemingly innocent sentence tucked away in the middle of a paragraph hidden deep inside a novel seemed to be the answer to this conundrum that had plagued me all my life.  Maybe that’s why I can’t take a compliment?  Maybe it’s just that it has been ingrained in me from an early age not to because I might appear conceited?

Hmmm.  Something to think about.

Are you like me?  Do you get all weird when someone says you look nice?  Do you “pssssssh” it away like I do?  I’d be willing to bet you do.  Well, let me tell ya a story.

This past weekend, I ran a 10K race early Saturday morning.  And, if you don’t mind my saying so, I did pretty darn awesome. mebrrr (Heh…no worries about sounding conceited about that one, huh?)  I didn’t get any medals or place in the coveted top 3 of any of the categories, mind you (in fact, I was dead last in my age group if I’m going to be honest), but ask me if I care?  Go on, ask me.  What’s that?  Do I care?  NOPE!  Because you know why?  The only person I was there to beat was myself.  And not only did I beat myself (not now, secret 12-year-old-boy alter-ego-self, this is not the time to make your childish jokes…let me finish my story…), but I blew my old record away.  I generally run at an 11-12 minute pace (yes, I know, I’m slow), but my average pace for this race was 10:10, with the first 3 miles all being in the 9 minute range.  Dude, I was booking it!  And you know what?  I was pretty darn proud of myself.

So, fast forward a little later in the day.

My boyfriend’s kids were in a play at the local theatre, so I had rushed home after the race, showered, straightened my hair (that’s what I consider “getting dressed up”), and hit the road again to go watch the two back-to-back performances.  Now, as most of you know from my previous blogs, the theatre is my home away from home.  I know so many people there, and most of their kids were going to be in this production.  So, walking into this little mini-reunion, I started running into people I hadn’t seen in a while – at least not since our last production a few months ago. And, in those past few months, I have been training my hind end off this upcoming half marathon next weekend.

I was immediately greeted with compliments.

“Wow, that running is look great on you!”  “You look fantastic!”  “Oh, Melissa, you’re just glowing!”  “Look how toned you’ve gotten.”

It was like a compliment smorgasbord.

And, oddly enough, instead of blushing in embarrassment like I normally would, I just graciously accepted their compliments.  I genuinely thanked them (no ‘psssssssh’es allowed) and let the compliments do their intended job – make me feel good.  Later, I thought about that, and wondered why I didn’t have my normal response.  Why was I able to accept compliments this time with such ease and gratitude?  Before long, it finally dawned on me.

I accepted their compliments….because I believed them.

That was the difference.  running2I have been working hard for the past few months.  I have felt my pants getting a little loose and saw the number on the scale dropping slightly.  Although those things are not at all the purpose for my running, they have been a nice bonus.  And, this particular day, I had put forth a little effort on my hair and makeup, and was probably still riding on the high from my race accomplishment earlier in the day, which probably showed on my face.  I was feeling pretty darn good about myself that day and accepted those compliments with open arms.

Boy, wouldn’t it be nice if every day was like that?

Hey, I have an idea.

Let’s make sure they are.

Let’s all make a silent little promise to ourselves to try to make every single day a day in which you are proud of yourself.  Let’s make every day a day that you believe the compliments that are tossed your way.  Seriously.  Let’s do it, people.  It may not be all that easy at first, but with practice, it may start eventually coming natural to you.  Just like my running.  I didn’t start out with the ability to crank out a 10-minute pace 10K.  It took lots of time and effort and, most importantly, belief in myself.  That’s all we need, right?

Easy peasy.

So, get out there in this big ol’ world and strut your stuff today, why don’t ya?  I mean, you’re looking all good and whatnot, so you might as well, right?  Come on, beautiful people.  We’ve got some work to do!

***

“For once, you believed in yourself. you believed you were beautiful and so did the rest of the world.”  
– Sarah Dessen, Keeping the Moon

Self-Image

selfesteemblog

I remember a friend of mine once asking for help from her Facebook friends about possible upcoming blog topics.  One of her friends commented on her status and told her to “watch for signs” – that you’ll start seeing a common theme popping up in your life and when it does, then you know it’s time to write about it.

Well, it’s time for me to take that advice.

I’ve had it in my head for a while now to talk about how women feel about their self-images.  Ok.  Actually, about my self-image, and how I feel about it, to be more exact.  But that’s not a very comfortable thing to talk about.  Ya know?  It’s hard to admit that you don’t think too highly of yourself.  And even harder to admit that you know that is stupid and you need to change.

But something tells me now may be the time to bite the bullet and just be honest.

I have a wonderful friend, Iman Woods, who has dedicated her life to making women feel great about themselves.  She’s a photographer.  A photographer.  Now, I don’t know about you, but when I hear that someone who is a photographer is also someone who is going to make me feel great about myself – those two facts just don’t belong together.  How could a photographer make me feel good about myself?  I’ve seen me.  And having to see me immortalized in a photograph forever is probably not something that is going to make me feel good.  All it does is showcase all of the flaws in an 8×10 for me and all the world to see, right?  Right?

Wrong.

Check out her site: http://www.imanwoods.com/?page/88267/pinup-empowerment.  This woman can do wonderful things.  With some pretty girly clothes and a little makeup – she brings out the beauty in women that was there all along.  She’s not doing anything to change these women with her work.  She’s just showing them off.  Showing them what they may not be able to see without her help.  This is why she calls her work “photo therapy.”  And I think that she, and her work, are both absolutely beautiful.

Well, in addition to being a photographer, Iman is also a writer.  She posted a blog today about her own self-image and how it has changed over the years.  (See the link here if you want to check it out: http://www.8womendream.com/55706/find-your-body-role-model).  After posting this, she and I discussed it a little and she came up with an idea to interview myself and my boyfriend Richard and combine our responses with regards to how we see ‘me.’  I’m not sure what the end result will be, but I’m pretty excited about the possibility.  I have always loved watching an idea of hers as it comes to fruition.  (And you can bet your patootie, I’ll be posting the link here for you to read it when it does!).  Well, as part of the interview process, my first assignment is this – go through and pick out 5 photos of myself that I love.  Easy, right?

Whoa.

I had no idea how hard this would be.  I am looking through posted pictures of myself on Facebook, and I honestly cannot pick out ones that I like.  Each time I start to choose one, I think, “Well this is wrong…,” or “Well, that is wrong.”  “My hair looks bad in this one.”  “This one makes me look fat.”  “This one makes me look too tall.”  “My boobs look too big in this one.”  (Hey, I’m being honest here.)  Each and every picture holds something that I’m not happy with and don’t want displayed in an upcoming blog article.

What the heck is up with that??

I really don’t think I realized how much my self-image needed work until the past few hours.  Oh, I’d seen clues, of course.  For instance, I compare myself to other women like crazy.  Especially certain women.  I know I need to stop that, but I haven’t figured out how to just yet.  I’m working on it though.

This reminds me of lyrics from the Sara Evans song, “I Keep Lookin:”

“Well  the straight-haired girls, they all want curls
And the brunettes wanna be blonde;
It’s your typical thing – you’ve got yin,  you want yang
It just goes on and on.”

Yep.  That’s me.  I’m not extremely tall by any means, but when I’m standing beside certain short, petite women, I feel like an Amazon.  And I start to wish I was shorter.  (Ironically, one of these particular petite women has always wished she was taller…go figure).  I see a woman with long beautiful straight hair and I despise these wild crazy curls that I was “blessed” with.  And yet, women spend tons of money on curling irons and perms every day.  Again, go figure.  I search the ends of the earth trying to fight the right sports bra to fit my needs and then I see tiny little women not having to worry about that problem and I find myself wishing I didn’t have these giant….well, you know.  And yet, plastic surgeons stay in business for women who’d kill to have this problem.

Sigh.

I’m not the only one who does this, right?  Good grief, what the heck is wrong with us, ladies?

Well, as I have just displayed in this blog, I don’t have a quick fix.  I don’t know the answer to how to make us comfortable in our skin rather than seeing what we falsely deem as “perfection” in others.  All I know to do is this.  Start finding one thing you like about yourself every day.  Just one.  Of course everything you like about yourself doesn’t have to be appearance-related, but since that’s what I’m focusing on here – let’s start with that.

I’ll go first.  I’ll tell you one thing I like about myself.

Ok.  Here goes.

(Gosh, why is it so hard to do this???)

Alright….my legs.  I do, I like my legs.  They’re not too flabby – pretty muscular actually now after a year of running.  They’d probably look great in heels if I’d ever learn to walk in the dang things.  So, there we go.  It’s done.  There’s the one thing I like about myself for the day.  Now, on to trying to come up with something for tomorrow…

Hey, who knows?  Maybe after a few days of doing this, a few weeks, a few months…it’ll be less and less hard to think of something.  Maybe by then we’ll be seeing ourselves in the light that we so easily seem to see others in.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Oh, and I almost forgot.  Before I end this blog….since I have to do it anyway, I’ll go ahead and pick one of the photos of myself that I like and post it here.  This is a photo that was taken of me to use as a headshot in a theatre show I did earlier this year.  It took me a while to actually like it (it’s SO close up!), but once I decided it wasn’t so bad, I decided to just go for it.  So, here ya go.

me

There.  I did it.  One down, four to go…

Your turn.

***

“Relentless, repetitive self talk is what changes our self-image.”
– Denis Waitley