In my experience, us women get conflicting feedback of what we should be (on so many levels). On one hand we are encouraged to be strong and independent, and on the other hand we are often told not to be so bold or to believe in ourselves too much (and surprisingly by people who should knew better).
I was recently in a lift with someone I know very well and who I assume knows me quite well. I felt tired and really crappy and as I checked myself in the mirror I realised that my morning twist bun had resulted in a nice curl at the bottom of my now out hair. I commented on it saying ‘Oh wow my hair has a nice curl in it today’. I thought this was a very simple and innocent comment and then he said ‘boy you’ve got tickets on yourself”. I was surprised. He wasn’t joking. I was trying boost myself so that I could face the day and he tried to bring me down. What was that about!?
Likewise, I have noticed that if in a group of people you have the audacity to say that you are good at something someone will try and either bring you down or make fun of you saying that you’re full of yourself.
Are we really supposed to only have negative opinions about ourselves?
In my experience men look at themselves in the mirror and see more than they are. They shoot a metaphoric gun from their hip at their reflection with some kind of internal dialogue along the lines of ‘hey good looking’. Women look at themselves in the mirror and run off a long list of faults and 100 reasons why they are not worthy to be alive, let alone be loved. Where does this come from? Who programmed this into us or is it genetic? WTF!
I have been aware of that dichotomy for quite a while and try to curb my mirror conversations around to the positive side and make a point of finding at least 3 things that I like. No one is all bad… surely we can start seeing good in ourselves. Young girls are told to believe in themselves and that they can be anything they want to be when they grow up, but once they do we (as a society) start bringing them back down… don’t dream too big, you’re not all that, why do you think you’re good enough to be or do that!
I know what I’m good at and if you ask me I will be happy to tell you. I am not going to apologise for having mad skills. Likewise, I’m not going to say I’m great at something when I’m not. Let’s keep encouraging women and girls to be great, speak nicely to themselves and to each other and be aware of the subtle things we say that subversively put the women in our lives down.