To Thine Own Self be Kind

What would you do it someone called your sister fat, or your mother ugly? How mad would you get if someone ranted about how stupid your girlfriend was? Would you tell them to stop being so hateful, that their rude insults were disgusting? Would you maybe even threaten to take them outside and beat them to a pulp? Even though you may never hear it, odds are, at least one woman you know is called these names on a pretty regular basis.
And the person doing the name-calling? Is herself.
I wrote a post recently about skewed self-perception, which sparked discussion among my friends and I and got me thinking about how I see myself and present myself. It also got me paying attention to how often my friends and I insult ourselves. It amazes me that I hear women earnestly insulting themselves, but any praise they give themselves is sarcastic.
Why do we do this? If someone insulted my mom, my sister, or my best friend, I’d call them out¬†and make them regret even thinking¬†something negative about such a wonderful person. Yet if they say something about themselves, like “Oh, I’m so fat”, “Oh, my *insert body part here* is so big”, I try and tell them it’s not true, but I don’t take offense the way I would if someone else was saying it about them. And, completely honestly, I have called myself names in the past that are far worse than anything I would ever call someone else.
This can’t be okay.
It makes me sad that we are so hard on ourselves. We live in a society where singing your own praises makes your arrogant, but it’s perfectly acceptable to call yourself names. Why is that? What’s wrong with saying, “I’m smart, and my hair is soft, and I’m wonderful”? We all have things that make us awesome, and I really think it’s important to know what I like about myself and to focus on those things.
Something needs to change. I think we need to create a society for ourselves in which it’s super unacceptable to say mean things about ourselves, where it’s just as appalling as saying something rude ourselves as it is to insult about someone else. If I say, “Wow, I’m looking rather like a cow today,” I want the person next to me to get mad and chew me out and say, “What the hell is wrong with you? How could you say something so awful about such an amazing person?? Shame on you!!”.
I’m not saying bust out the rose-colored glasses and convince yourself that you can do no wrong. I have faults, I have flaws. Some of them I’m okay with and some of them I am working on. But there’s a difference between knowing you’ve got a quirk and owning it and being just plain mean to yourself. I know that my singing is enough to make paint peel off walls and that drawing straight lines is just not in my genetic make-up. But I rule at way more things than I suck at. The older I get, the better I know who I am and what I want and the prouder I am of me.
I think that’s a step in the right direction.

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