I recently signed up to take part in the BodyUNashamed challenge, set up by blogger and journalist Penny Fordham. As part of this challenge I was paired up with another blogger, the point being that I needed to pick three good things about their appearance and then do the same for myself.
Starting out on this project, digging through the blog archives of someone whose blog I have never read before now, I thought about what a great idea it is. All too often we as humans – particularly the women amongst us – are expected to be perfect. There’s a standard set by the media of impossibly skinny, athletic women who seen to have the world at their feet and sometimes us “normal” folk can feel less than ideal. I know I have my days where I feel fat, ugly and worthless. Then there are the days when people feel they need to make Amy or I feel like that – see my recent post on Judgement. So, I looked forward to this project.
I was paired up with Fashion blogger Sally, who runs her own blog “The Human Mannequin“. I’m going to admit it right here, I wasn’t following before now – I had never even read the blog. I really very much enjoyed reading, though and am now following and looking forward to future posts. I love the sparkle in Sally’s writing and I love that she obviously loves writing about her chosen subject.
But we’re not here to talk about literary talent – despite it being present in buckets – we’re here to talk about positive physical attributes. So, here I go with my three things I like about Sally’s appearance.
1) Sally, I think you have beautiful hair. I love the colour and wish my hair was as long and shiny as yours. I also love some of the styles you try out on it. You’re encouraging me to experiment more with my own lacklustre locks!
2) I love your smile. It never looks fake in pictures and it really makes you sparkle. Keep smiling!
3) I love how you manage to put together the most random outfits – things that I never dreamed would go together – and look good! That’s a talent in itself to be proud of.
So, there we go. Three positive things about someone I only know through her blog. I love this project as I think as humans it is easy to find negatives all the time, both about ourselves and others. My counsellor told me about a game he used to play with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy groups, in which they would sit in a room and he would ask “what’s wrong with this room?”. A myriad of answers would follow. From maybe eight or nine people, they would come up with thirty or so things that were wrong with the room. Then he would ask “What’s good about this room?” and people would mostly be stumped. They’d manage to throw out maybe five things that were good about the room. Just shows how negative people can be, but I thoroughly believe that the positives about a person, a situation or an object are often more important and more worth thinking about,
Ok, so part two of this BodyUNashamed project is to look at myself and pick three positive things. I anticipated that this would be harder than finding three positives about someone else and I was right. But (and be proud of me), I did this without asking anyone else’s opinion. Here we go!
1) I like that my weight is getting nearer to where I would like it to be. I’m happy that I can choose clothing to suit my figure at the moment and I’m looking forward to reaching my goals.
2) I love my eyes. I get complimented on them a fair bit. I hope our future baby gets these. They’re like a green, brown, blue mix and the only other people I know who have similar are my two sisters.
3) At the moment I have great skin! I’ve had to work hard for it, but thanks to caring for it with the right vitamins and diet, I no longer look absolutely exhausted on a daily basis and for the moment I am spot free.
There we go! Going back to my eyes, one of my favourite compliment stories come from this. I was once walking through Central London. It was not long after my mum passed away and I felt incredibly hopeless. Amy was at work and I’d just got myself into a dither thinking about one thing or another. I was in a bit of a state and sat down on a bench. I always remember this bench because it has an Oscar Wilde quote on it – “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars”. I was sitting there, not knowing whether I wanted to get angry or just cry, when this man came over to me. “Excuse me?” he said. I looked up, thinking he was probably going to ask for money, but I was greeted by the sight of a well dressed man who was probably in his seventies. “I just had to stop and tell you that you have lovely eyes.” I thanked him and he left. I wanted to cry again but for a good reason this time. Just that little compliment that took about five seconds out of his day pulled me out of the slump i was going into and sent me to Starbucks to chill out. Without him approaching me I don’t know how long I would have sat there not knowing what to do next. I like to think he was sent by my mum… who knows?
I challenge everyone to have a go at this. At the moment I’m learning about the power of positivity, and it really does make a difference. Try to think of three positive things a day and you will realise exactly how lucky you are. I’ve also made a resolution to myself that, when I see someone who looks great, I will tell them. All too often I turn to Amy and say something like “wow. That lady’s dress is gorgeous!” or similar, but henceforth I need to start telling people. I once stopped a lady in a tube station to tell her that her dress was gorgeous and ask where she got it. What followed was her being absolutely thrilled and thankful for the compliment, and me finding out where I could buy the dress. I bought it soon after and I love it just as much as she said she loved hers.
So, moving forward. Let’s all try and be a little more positive about ourselves and eachother. If you think someone looks great, say so. If you love someone’s hair, tell them. It might make their day like the gentleman in the story above made mine.