It was International Women’s Day this week. Happy International Women’s Day! This always creates a surge of social media posts encouraging women to support other women. To stand behind them and to always have their back. The #timesup movement actually saw a lot of social media posts surrounding what women thought of other women in an incredibly positive and uplifting light. Words like strong, capable, inspiring have been flashing over my computer screen all week. I’ve also had some really interesting conversations with people (not just women) in these last few weeks about treatment of women. A colleague of mine was looking at how women are treated outside of a particular government organisation.
His experiences of treatment of women were shaped by his mother who had taught him the upmost respect to women or he would have been answering to the back hand of his mother (the visual of that flashing through my head made me giggle). We also got to talking about what type of person may treat women badly. We got to talking about our own professional experiences and agreed that in general, women were treated with respect. However, we had also seen in small amounts where women in powerful positions, were actually the perpetrators of treating other women badly. In my experiences, it has been women in perceived positions of power with strong narcissistic tendencies that have behaved this way. They have put other women down, taken away career opportunities, treated them less that they deserved. And for what outcome? To make themselves feel more superior? To remove some sort of perceived threat to their own empire? I don’t get it. Why can’t we all just be good to each other? I hate to ruin the ending of the story but in this game of life, no one is actually getting out alive.
Before I start on the emotional roller coaster that is abuse at the hands of a narcissist, I’ll move on to what I did want to talk about. My rant intro did actually have a sedge way. Why can’t we all just be good to each other? Sure, for the most time, we are good to each other, we support each other in the tribes we have connected with. Take the Fitness For Wellness community for example. Every week, I see each and every one of you come to classes with your own load of problems. You all chat to each other about the basics of what’s going on in your lives and you all empathise and support each other. It’s beautiful to see and I am so happy that Fitness For Wellness has fostered that type of community and, more to the point, have such wonderful people in it that so constantly provide such great support to other women who they don’t really know, but have this connection through fitness.
So my question is, why can’t we treat ourselves with the same respect, love and care that we can give to people who are essentially strangers? Why is it that we allow ourselves to be that narcissistic bitch that puts us down, that says terrible things about our bodies and emotions, that creates terrible doubt and horrid feelings about ourselves? If we saw another human being doing that to a friend or family member, we would step in and probably have some pretty strong words/actions against that person. So why do we feel like it’s ok to support everyone else but bring ourselves down?
There are varying levels across the sliding scale too of how we treat ourselves. I had a consult with a marketing company this week and they picked it so easily because I’m sure they identify this trait with every single client that have. I don’t tell people how good I am. I even noticed this week when someone was retelling their experience after a coaching session, they said how good I was and I deflected to #gymdog saying he was the great coach! #beinggoodtomyselffail We are all guilty of not being good to ourselves and all guilty of not accepting the accolades from others when we are doing good things.
To the other extreme of the scale, we can have had a lifetime of being shitty to ourselves and having fed our reptilian brain all this negativity for such a long time, it’s sitting there like Jabba the Hut screaming “give me more!!!” in between throwing insults at you that just aren’t true. This can lead to a horrid cycle of self doubt, and even more heartbreaking, self harm.
So I ask the question again …. Why can’t we be good to ourselves? I don’t know what the answer is. We’ve already established that I’m guilty of it myself. I think a lot of people around me are guilty of it too. I think that you reading this right now are guilty of it from time to time. How do we change this way of thinking? How many of you are comfortable looking at yourself in the mirror, pointing at yourself and saying out loud “You are awesome”? Despite feeling a bit awkward about talking to yourself at the mirror, can you challenge yourself to give yourself a pat on the back every single day? Because you deserve it! You actually do deserve it! You are a wonderful human being, capable of such great things and you deserve to give yourself a pat on the back.
They say it takes around 5-6 positive things to outweigh the delivery of one negative thing.
With the amount of negative flying around us, I think it really is up to us to be our own hero, to be the person backing our achievements and give ourselves those 5-6 positive things a day. It can be anything and it doesn’t always have to be screamed from the tree tops for everyone to hear. It’s for you. It can be as simple as rewarding yourself with some quiet time, giving yourself a pat on the back, taking a bath (because that takes time we all feel like we don’t deserve to take), doing something that is outside your expectation of yourself, buying yourself a bunch of flowers.
I implore each and every one of you to take a good hard look at how you treat yourself. What are the things you say to yourself? If it is something you wouldn’t say to someone else, why do you think it’s ok to say that to you? If you do catch yourself being mean to yourself, I challenge you to have an out of body experience. Put yourself into the third person and have a look at how those mean things are making you feel. Then I want you to get back in there and stand up for yourself! Be your own hero! There will be times when the only person you have to rely on to stand up for you, is you. Be your own champion and when International Women’s Day comes around next year, maybe we can be seeing social media being flooded with posts of self love as well as love for others.