Yesterday began like every other morning: Get coffee, feed Kona, drink coffee and plan my day. I had a little more energy than I normally do, which is good because Kona and I were meeting some friends to run later in the day.
After my coffee, I went upstairs and got ready for work. I put my hair in a bun, brushed my teeth, and put on clothes then headed downstairs for breakfast. There is a mirror at the bottom of the stairs that I see every morning as I make my way into the kitchen. This morning, I caught of glance of myself and automatically thought,
“Eww.. I look terrible.”
Now, this isn’t the first time that had happened. It’s not even the second, or third, or fourth. I seldom wear make-up and my unruly hair is almost always up. Instead of running back upstairs to “fix” myself, I stepped closer to the mirror and took a really good look. I stared at myself for a few minutes and purposefully noted every wrinkle, age spot, and scar.
Two thoughts went through my head, “How can I live authentically if I am unwilling to show the world the complete and imperfect me?” and “Why do I believe there are certain ways in which a woman needs to look anyway?”
Most of us, especially women, are aware of the subtle messages and expectations in our society. I help my clients navigate these messages and find out what is right for them. So why was I so judgey about my appearance today?
I thought of all the judgmental comments I have received in my life..
- Too skinny
- Too fat
- Way too talkative
- Too quiet and shy
- Too much make-up
And I’ve learned that “beautiful” women are:
- Have long flowing hair
- Flawless skin
- Perfect make-up
- Impeccably dressed
Maybe the weight of a lifetime of these judgements chip away at our self-esteem and occasionally we become self-conscious? Hmmm… maybe.
Do I believe that all woman should take off their make-up and stop doing their hair so they can become authentic like me? NO! I believe that woman need to do whatever they darn well feel like without considering the expectations of society. Wear make-up, dye your hair, get tons of ink… Being Authentically You is going to look much different than becoming Authentically Me.
But WE get to decide.
Two of the scars on my face remind me that I have overcome the chicken pox. Eventually I healed and developed a resistance to the virus.
Judgements are harder to heal from because don’t always come from bad people. They come from my friends, family, and mentors. They try to “help” us conform to what societies expectations are for women/girls/moms/wives.
- Good moms sacrifice for their family
- Good girls aren’t “bossy”
- Good wives take care of their home
- Good women don’t have sex before they are married
By identifying these judgements, we can develop a resistance and a defense against “absorbing” them into our soul.
The first step is to learn to recognize and flip them.
- Good moms prioritize their own needs
- Good girls have opinions and express them
- Good wives and their partners work together to care for their home
- Good women decide when they have sex
If I want to live authentically me, I’m going to have to have the courage to let myself be seen. All of me. Perceived flaws and all. I am going to have to become used to being UNcomfortable so I can eventually BE comfortable with my authentic self. Not only physically but emotionally as well. Becoming authentic for me is more than being comfortable without make-up. Its learning that I can have an opinion different from others and express it without apology or taking responsibility for their feelings about it.
I can tell you honestly that it’s not easy. But I know its possible.
I’m not an expert at this. As with everything in life, I am a work in progress… but I am WORTH it! (and so are you)
As with everything of importance, it begins with a decision and a choice. So that morning, I decided to take a step towards my goal! I stepped away from the mirror and I went into my kitchen to share my breakfast with Kona.
And you know what? I had a GREAT day!
Most of my clients come from personal referrals or from reading my blogs. Would you mind sharing?