Wisdom Wednesday– Opinions

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I’ve recently started therapy again and mentioned this very thing to my therapist last week. I told her about something very trying in my life and the opinions of others that have gone with it. I said that I had thought I was a confident person until this happened and I realized how much I cared about the opinions of others. It’s cost me a lot in the way of friendships and support, but I knew myself to be in the right.

I won’t lie. For what felt like an extremely long time I was not okay with this. I hated knowing so many people disliked me or thought the worst of me. I went over and over again in my head what I could do differently to alter their opinion. If I told them my side of the story, they would see reason. If I was just more open with them–let them see more of me and my struggles they would see that I must be in the right. If they knew the facts then they would have different opinions of me.

In the end, I said nothing. I learned to get very comfortable with being uncomfortable. I dreaded going out and meeting people who thought they knew everything going on. I spent less time on social media lest they continue to harass me there. It took months, but I grew accustomed to my own skin. I grew confident in myself and who I was without the approval of anyone else.

I had always been the smart one, or sweet, or caring, dutiful, responsible etc. All these other blanket adjectives from people who never took the time to really know me and any complexities I had. And for some reason, I hated the idea of letting them down or their opinion of me diminishing. These were people who barely talked to me or I to them and yet I allowed them so much power over my life!

Who am I now without their approval? Exactly who I have always been. Their approval or disapproval didn’t change me. I wasn’t less because they no longer liked me. Facts: I am enough. I love myself. I have others that love me. Everything else is an opinion and isn’t necessarily based in reality.

I share this to encourage others. I know I’m not the only one who has struggled with this. I suggest saying some healthy affirmations daily to replace the insecurity and negative self-talk in your head. Eventually, you will believe it. One day, you’ll find yourself believing in yourself without any words from outsiders. When that day comes, it’s a marvelous sense of peace and freedom. You are worthy of that. No matter what anyone else says. Make choices that you can look back on without regrets and that’s what matter in life–not the opinions of others.

Positivity Monday- Confidence

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In case you can’t read the font, this says “Inhale confidence, exhale doubt.” And I think this is such a powerful message. Surround yourself with people that help you find confidence. They’re like a breath of fresh air. I’d be nowhere without my supportive family and friends! I’d still be in a prison of my own making breathing the dank, stale air of self-doubt.

Positivity Monday- Respect Yourself

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Recently, as I was doing a live makeup tutorial on my Facebook wall, a man began commenting. He had said he believed the video was something that might pertain to him and it wasn’t. He was annoyed and I said that I would gladly talk about Saturday plans, as that was part of the title of my video but no one had commented back after I talked about mine. I didn’t really care that others hadn’t commented. Some of my videos are at a great time to chat and some aren’t. I was rushing and trying to get out the door myself. Then, the man suggested I talk about Pride and Prejudice. I assume he added me as a friend because he enjoyed my writing. I explained a few things about my upcoming release and then he wrote, “the women in Pride and Prejudice are materialistic and care more about makeup than they do the protagonist.”

I LOST IT.

As I confronted him, he (possibly) attempted backtracking with a “not really, sorry” reply. At first, I also apologized but a moment later I put together his previous comment about the video not being what he liked. THEN LEAVE. Trying to shame me into talking about whatever he wanted is a misogynists’ tactic. So, I laid into him some more and concluded it with I could be a reader, a writer, and be intelligent and also like makeup because I do it for me. Then I finished my tutorial and concluded the video.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever been angrier in my life. I have had those sorts of remarks from other women, too. They seem to believe that if they enjoy reading they shouldn’t be interested in makeup. They insinuate that only the vain and shallow wear any or would bother to sell it and spend time applying it more than on rare occasions. I’ve never been angry at the that assumption because I know it also stems from fear. We don’t want to be seen as less for our interests.

Think about high school. Did you like the pretty, perfect girl? The one who always looked put together? I bet she had a lot of boyfriends too. Most girls either emulated the pretty one or were jealous of her. If you were like me, you eventually matured and saw your value in other things. You may have even told yourself, “Well, I’m not as pretty as her but I’m smarter.” You believed you had spent your time on more important things.

And slowly, with each year, you told yourself more and more that you could only be one or the other. The ideas became mutually exclusive. In the Romance genre, there is quite a trope of the overlooked bluestocking or librarian. The smart girl with glasses and her hair pulled back too tight. She shuns most people and doesn’t fit in. When she does speak she’s awkward and sarcastic. Unexpectedly, the hero sees her beauty underneath and, if the writer is worth her salt, eventually the heroine does as well. Along the way, either two things happen: either she utterly transforms herself to get the guy/because of the guy or the rest of the world never sees her beauty. This either empowers the heroine into claiming her uniqueness or her feelings of gratitude for him viewing her as beautiful when no one else does is the basis of her love for him.

The problem is, neither is about the heroine seeing her own beauty before a man enters the picture. Real confidence is being able to look in the mirror after you’ve had no sleep and knowing that you’re still beautiful inside and out. But if you want to take 15 minutes to slap on some foundation, concealer, and mascara, that’s great too! Some people are afraid to wear makeup–I was one of them! I was afraid that if I wore anything the world would think I was saying “I don’t like how I look.” That’s not what I’m saying and I’m no longer afraid of what the world thinks.

However, for the record, I bet you could apply makeup while reading a book (or maybe listening). I bet you could be a CEO and wear cosmetics. I bet you could be President or Prime Minister and wear it. And I think you can be an author and wear makeup too.

And I think you can be an author and wear makeup too.