And if you like the way you look that much…
…Girl you should because you’re awesome!
If you are Irish and/or have spent more than 20 minutes on this damp but glorious island, I guarantee you have heard someone demure ‘self-praise is no praise!’. It’s along the same lines of ‘sure you’re very fond of yourself, aren’t you?’ and ‘she’s weak for herself, that one’. And if you are Irish, I guarantee you read all those lines in your mother’s voice. Because I certainly typed them in my own mama’s voice (and she’s the best and would stand up for me ‘til the proverbial cows come home. She would also be quick to tell me who was ‘getting notions’, it’s a knife edge!).
In this month of hearts, love and roses though, I ask, why in the name of Oprah should we NOT love ourselves? Be fond of ourselves? Praise ourselves? Ok, none of us are perfect, but since when was that the goal? You work hard, you help friends, you do good where and when you can, you rock barre classes when the rest of the city sleeps before you start a long day at work, you finish a long day at work and then you fire on all cylinders in a Reformer class. You are phenomenal!
Shonda Rhimes, the creator of ‘Greys Anatomy’ in her book ‘The Year of Yes’, talks about being at an awards ceremony celebrating high-powered women in Hollywood and what happened when the host called out every woman who was receiving an award and listed their achievements. She says every woman there either ducked their head and waved their hands like ‘me? Noooo, they can’t be talking about me, nooo’ or they looked embarrassed, like the list of accolades being read out wasn’t true, like they hadn’t worked their backsides off to get where they are, like they were just nice things people were saying instead of facts. Why are we so slow to acknowledge our achievements, things we accomplished through hard work and determination? We didn’t just get lucky, we have all worked for what we have, whether it’s flying at work or the rockin’ bod we have from barre. And we should be proud of ourselves. We should love ourselves. That love shouldn’t be tied to how productive you were on a particular day or week. It should have even less to do with how much you weigh or what size the label on your jeans says you are. The essence of you is more than that. And you should love it, because if you saw all the things that make you YOU in another person, you would love that person, you would recognise them as a friend and ally. We all need to be our own best friends, we need to be able to high 5 ourselves when things go right and acknowledge we are strong and powerful and in charge of our own paths. We shouldn’t shy away from high fiving ourselves or be afraid that anyone else will think we have ‘notions’ or are very fond of ourselves’. In fact, we shouldn’t give a flying f*ck about what anyone thinks about what we think about ourselves. Read that sentence again. And now again. Isn’t it ridiculous that we would care about what anyone thinks about what we think about ourselves? EXACTLY! So go ahead, praise yourself, every day for whatever you like.
When we are all grown up, no one gives us a gold star when we get all our spellings right on a Friday. There is no one to give us a treat when we pay our bills and clean our rooms (read: now it’s clean the entire house and do enough washing for 4 families even though it’s just you!). So for real, you have to lead the charge in cheering for yourself, and cheer for others too! One of the reasons I love taking classes is because I do get that praise; the teacher recognises my shaking and effort, my highest tippy toes and when I lift my leg an extra 16th of an inch even though I’m pretty sure it’s going to kill me and she tells me ‘well done, good job’ and I feel like superwoman!
Start praising yourself. When others praise you, be it at work or at the barre, take the praise. Say thank you and smile and believe it. They are not saying nice things to be nice, they are saying them because they are true. And when you believe they are true, everything will start to shine a little bit brighter!