Monday, April 26, 2010

No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent

Since I decided to take part in the Basse Mode challenge, to wrote about real fashion, I have found lots of new blogs to read. One of them has been Kat's blog Tea and Feathers. I love the way her outfit shots are so artfully posed on her staircase! Recently she included a photo of herself without her makeup on and and I loved the accompanying post. She linked to this excellent article from Already Pretty, which attempts to debunk the myth at the heart of the beauty industry by asserting that there is nothing wrong with you.

This is a concept that is surprisingly difficult to get on board with, because we are constantly being told that there is something wrong with us. We internalise this and tell ourselves that there is something wrong with us. We're too fat, or too thin, or don't have shiny enough hair or clear enough skin or trendy enough clothes. If you stop to let it all in, it is really depressing.

Caroline blogged recently on the concept of writing a compliment slip to your friends to tell them the things that you love about the way they look. You can read her blog here, and you should. It's lovely. She suggested sending a compliment slip to yourself as well. I loved this concept and sent a few text messages and emails immediately after reading, and I was delighted and moved to get some in return. It helped me to remember that there is nothing wrong with me. I'm healthy, I'm happy. I have good friends, a loving family and a marvellous boyfriend. I have a job I enjoy and that I'm good at. I'm a good person and I'm quite attractive.

It isn't always easy to remember that, however. In fact, it's depressingly easy to slide into focusing only on the things to worry about, the things to feel bad about. For example, I can leave the house feeling good about my outfit or hairstyle or whatever, only for something to derail my mood. It might be catching my reflection in the window of the train (after running for the train) Or it might be something completely external like seeing someone else who looks really chic, which makes me feel like a massive frump by comparison. It's at times like these that I'd do well to remember that I'm fine as I am - there's nothing wrong with me. The same thing can be said about the less tangible things. Much as with my looks or my dress, I can be going about feeling pretty good about myself and then hear something negative, and temporarily lose all confidence. A bitchy comment, even from someone whose opinion means nothing to me, can throw me off balance and make me feel stressed and unhappy.

So, I'm going to make an effort to adhere to Eleanor Roosevelt's advice and remember that no-one can make me feel inferior without my consent. An unflattering reflection in a train window, a bitchy comment from an acquaintance: these things can only make me feel bad if I participate in them. And why would I? It doesn't make sense to allow something external or someone unimportant to hold so much sway over me, why would I consent to it? I'm tempted to put this on a wee flashcard, you know. There is nothing wrong with me.

Roisin and coffee cup Here I am. I'm all right, aren't I?