I'm a big proponent of using our strengths to move forward in life. Yet it's essential that we also embrace our weaknesses and our merely average attributes. Here's why. We are a package. We all have strengths ALONG WITH average capabilities, and if we are honest, below-average capabilities. To be well balanced and really able to be self-accepting, we need to know ourselves well and we need to accept our WHOLE self - our strengths, weaknesses, and warts.
If we don't take the time to identify, name, and accept our rather undesirable attributes we have, we go down the road of self-hatred. And this is big in the lives of women. Self hatred, you ask - is it that bad? You may say, "I don't hate myself." However, 97% of women polled last year reported self-loathing. Each of these women had at least one violent thought about her body every day - some had as many as 50 in a day. Violent thoughts = a form of hatred.
I do an activity with girls and women where I ask them to identify parts of their body they like. I ask them to concentrate on that body part. It's a nice first step. We can start paying attention to the parts of ourselves we really like. That can help us move toward a more positive body image.
In addition, we need to come to terms with the parts of ourselves that we aren't so wild about. Because if we don't, we'll be likely to be one of those 97% going down the road to self-hatred. How does that work? Let's say I really appreciate my legs and my hands and I think I have a nice smile. And I really do - but I HATE my butt and every time I look in the mirror think "Oh My God, Amy, your butt is so big you look like a cow. You are disgusting." If that's how I'm talking to myself then I'm one of those 97% with body hatred and poor body-image. I need to come to terms with ALL of me - the parts I like and the parts I don't like so much.
So I'll start - because I always tell the women and girls I work with that I won't ask them to do anything that I'm not willing to do first. So in my events I always go first - telling a story, admitting to how I feel about my body, or whatever. So here goes - what are my warts and weaknesses? And what do I NOT like about my body? Here are some of my honest dislikes, weaknesses, and failings:
- I don't like my hair. It's too thin for my tastes. And if it's at all humid outside I cannot do anything with it.
- I dislike my fingernails and always wished I had pretty ones like my mother did - or like my sister Deidre or my friend Sandy.
- I'm cranky. So cranky lately that I'm re-naming my self Cramy for cranky Amy.
- I'm paper challenged. I lose papers. I keep too many papers. I feel intimidated by piles of papers.
- I eat too many sweets. Really. That's another post altogether.
- I'm impulsive.
- I could go on.... but you need to develop your own list. Of things you like and even LOVE about yourself and of things that you aren't so happy about.
Go ahead, make your list - the positives, the neutrals, and the negatives. It's all you. The whole package is wonderful. How do I know you are wonderful? I know you are wonderful because you are human and humans are amazing. You have amazing capacities. You have an amazing spirit. And you are filled with love. Grow the love. Start now.