Every day I listen to woman I know put themselves down. Every day I listen to them call themselves fat or downplay their achievements, hide behind something that resembles humility, but is, in reality, much more damaging. These are educated, smart, successful, funny, kind, caring women who regularly pick themselves apart at the seams.
I get it, because I do it too. And man, I study this stuff. This is my field, I write about it….and I still do it.
The other day a friend told me she’d stopped going to an exercise class she enjoyed because she felt like she wasn’t good enough to be there. Then I had an exchange with a friend who lamented how much weight she’d gained. Another friend pinched at her stomach and called herself fat. These women fret about how big they look in photographs, they downplay compliments, they bury a talent under an avalanche of self-deprecation.
We keep seeing articles about shaming from others, but we need to stop shaming ourselves first.
I truly enjoy the company and talents and strength of the women I know. I appreciate what women bring to the table and to the world. And so it breaks my heart that we spend so much time not only comparing ourselves unfavorably to other women, but beating ourselves up in the process.
My identity as a woman is not shaped by a number on the scale or the firmness of my ass(ets). I promise you, yours is not either. My identity is not tied up with the clothes I wear or how big my thighs are, what I do for work or how much money I have. My identity as a woman is defined by the fact that I am one.
We need to be kind. To each other, for sure, but to ourselves first.
Women are often each other’s salvation, but we need to stop being our own worst enemy as well. We need to believe in our strengths, which are different from men’s: Different, but just as important. We need to stop humiliating ourselves in front of each other, in front of the mirror. We need to start not only leaning in, but lifting up. Our chins, our head, ourselves.
Think about the good we could do if we connected with one another instead of competing with each other and with some lofty ideal of what we should be. Think about how much we could achieve if we got rid of all the ‘if only’s”. Think about the changes we could be part of if we valued what we have to offer instead of offering it for a discount. If we praised our own time and talents and those of each other. Think about the buoyancy we could give to one another if we stopped giving ourselves the side-eye every time our thighs chafed together or someone younger and thinner and better looking came along.
I’m not talking out of my ass. I do it too. I am harsh on myself. And I KNOW better.
The older I get the more I appreciate the women I know. There is an instant connection that doesn’t need introduction, a membership into the sisterhood. I feel empowered when I am with women, especially women who value themselves. It lifts ME up to be around them. And in turn, I hope that being around me can lift someone else up.
I don’t like every, single woman I come across. I don’t automatically assume that every, single woman is deserving of my time or energy solely because she is in possession of a uterus and fallopian tubes. What I do know is that the women I come into contact with–online and in real life, though this blog, through travel or friendship–those women are worthy, even when they slap on a price tag worth less.
Why do women find it so difficult to find the worth in themselves? Why do we find it so easy to overlook that value in ourselves–and usually for the most trivial of reasons: A size label on a dress, a number on the scale, a wiggle and jiggle.
Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t shame yourself.
We are a sisterhood, even if it’s a sisterhood of split pants.
12 Comments Add yours
Yes to all of this – I do it too and I also know better….
That makes it worse, doesn’t it? We’re so hard on ourselves for such silly reasons sometimes.
Dear Dina, when are you going to stop telling me you need to be a bit fitter to come to farts every wednesday at 9.15 charlottenlund fort and just come?
Ps, can you tell those other 3 to come too.
Fat chance, Sarah-Jane ;-).
Yup. I do it too. But actually, I think the world would be a better place if men did it too.
Lol, Elyse. It would certainly be better if some folk were more self-aware and less, er…full of themselves for sure!
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I am on of those (perhaps rare?) women who does ~not~ do most of this. Not to say that I don’t have plenty of weirdo body-related issues!, just that they are very different. But as a…oh, what’s that terrible term? ah yes — as a “woman of size,” I find that people constantly interact with me as if of course! I must be either someone who constantly body-shames myself — in which cases they empathize with me over my imagined behavior — or someone who has spent a great deal of effort overcoming body shame — in which cases they compliment me for all my hard work!
I find the whole thing very odd. It often leads to these transactional disconnects, when they or I suddenly realize that we are not both having the same conversation. This stuff runs DEEP, when even existing outside of it doesn’t mean you’re free of it.
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Gotta keep preaching that because it takes awhile for some people to truly believe it.
I know. Considering how often I have to preach to myself, I know just how difficult it is to change!
Enjoyed and related to every single word.