There will be times in your life when you become someone you’ll regret being.
When you’re judgment is clouded by love, insecurity, or the need to be wanted. It’s thanks to friends and family, who stand up for your right to reach the highest level of happiness you can, that we are able to overcome these temporary versions of ourselves.
We learn. And grow. Slowly.
And sometimes never.
Which, I think, is the scariest of all.
The thing that hit me hardest about this interview was how is related to my current life struggles. I’ve watched quite a few friends struggle to see who they’ve become from being in unhealthy relationships. Struggle to the point that I’ve ended one of my closest friendships. Which, has obviously been on my mind every day. It’s hard losing a friend to something so complicated.
But seeing this woman after she got out of her relationship with a loving husband, who totally encouraged her to do this session, gave me a little peace. Peace in my heart that maybe my friend would find the love I felt she deserved in someone like this woman has.
Whatever it may be, I just keep finding myself in every woman I interview. A little piece in every story I share, and I thank the universe every time a woman sends me a message telling me how much they relate to the women I interview. I think, relation is the strongest human bond. And it brings me immense joy to be a curator of that.
Be Kind to Yourself,
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What is your self-esteem level out of ten and what goes into that rating?
I would say an eight. I think, not allowing any negative thoughts to take root in my head.
What kind of negative thoughts?
I would just say, basically putting myself down. Being a bully to myself.
What kind of things would you say to yourself?
I would talk to myself in a way that I would never talk to another human being ever.
When did that change for you?
Probably around the time that I got married. I would say, it was something that I’ve always struggled with in different forms over the years. It was exhausting, and my husband would compliment me and I would deny it. He would want to compliment me less, and I decided to put my foot down and say enough.
Why did you want to participate?
I think that it is incredibly important work that you’re doing. It is so needed because I feel so strongly that other women need to see other women, other than what’s usually portrayed in society. Every lump, or perceived perfection would be out there for everyone to see. To show that and say very proudly, “I’m okay with myself”
Which is rare.
Yes, it took me a really long time to get here. But I’m very happy to be here.
What do you think causes low-self esteem?
Like I said, I’ve always struggled. When I was younger, anxiety would creep up and I’d relive every conversation in middle school worried that I had said the wrong thing or someone thought I wasn’t cool. As I got older, as I became aware of my body, it was too easy of a transition from beating myself up over what I may have said to also including my body not being what I thought it should be.
Do you think this is an important facet of society to focus on? Changing the way others see themselves?
Absolutely. 100%. Projects like this are a good start.
They start a conversation.
I mean as far as adults, the conversation needs to start younger. About accepting yourself as you are. My Mom did a really good job trying to instill that in me. It just took a couple of years to come back out.
Do you think that your anxiety played a major role in your self-esteem?
I do, because I think anxiety, by definition, takes every worry and doubt and makes it even more so.
If there was one thing you could tell a person who doesn’t seem to understand anxiety, what would that be?
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” –Plato
Not just for people understanding that you’re fighting a hard battle, but understanding that everyone else is too.
Have you ever faced sexism? If yes, tell me about your experience.
Yes. My experiences with sexism are all too common in this day and age. Professionally, thinking that I’m the assistant to who they are meeting with, rather than the person who they are meeting with. Being in a situation where I show emotion, and having that emotion dismissed because I’m female. “Oh, you’re just a girl”. Which is a particularly hard one for me, because I tend to be emotional. Not in a negative sense, but I am sympathetic and empathetic.
Honestly, I’m proud to be that way because I honor what I feel
Do you feel like you lack control?
No. I do feel in control, I don’t feel out of control. I’ve had to learn that just because you feel that emotion doesn’t mean you should act on it.
And many people think that women can’t control their emotions, when in reality we are born and raised with the ability to recognize that we shouldn’t act on every one of these.
Yeah. Whatever emotion you’re feeling….honor and respect it. Do some searching as to what the root is and go from there to figure out it’s meaning. Whatever you’re feeling is justified, but you have to give yourself time and space to figure it out.
I think the worst thing anyone could do is talk themselves out of feeling what they feel. Nothing good comes from repressed feelings and emotions. It’s going to be hard, but lean on the people you have around you.
Are you a feminist?
I would say yes, though I don’t think I’ve ever assigned that word to it. I would say yes in that, “Do I feel the sexes should be equal?” Absolutely. But even more so than that, I feel very strongly that women are so powerful and we do ourselves a disservice when we attack one another. We’re all guilty of seeing a woman and judging her, playing the comparison game, which is the most dangerous thing we can do. I feel strongly that we should be more kind to each other, and band together.
Have you ever had an unhealthy relationship?
Unfortunately, yes. To be in a relationship means trusting another person with your wellbeing and it’s unfortunate that, that trust is misplaced at times.
You mean, trusting the wrong the person.
Yeah, giving too much effort and energy into something deep down you know isn’t the best situation for you. Hoping you can fix it, or they’ll change. Or even worse, thinking that it’s your fault.
Did you think it was your fault?
At times, yes I did.
What made you realize it wasn’t?
I had seen a friend I hadn’t seen in a while and shared with her a fight that this person and me were having at the time. Watching her reaction, a non-bias reaction that came from a place of love and support for me, was eye opening to what I had justified in this relationship.
When you care about something, it’s amazing what you will convince yourself is okay behavior.
Do you have any role models that have helped you grow as a person? Tell me about them.
Absolutely. My Mom, first and foremost, is the kindest most compassionate woman I’ve ever met. Those two traits are two I try to live everyday. My husband, for sweeping me off my feet and showing me the love that I deserve. And then I’d I have a really great close group of girlfriends that do a phenomenal job of empowering, listening, and encouraging one another.
Good friends are priceless.
Yeah, it’s total girl power stuff. But I mean, it’s so important though.
We often poke fun at girl power as this dainty feminine joke, but in reality is a bonding mechanism for women to empower each other with.
Is there any last message you’d like to leave with the audience?
Be kind to others but most of all yourself. In her TED Talk, I think Brene Brown says something like, “You are worthy of love and belonging. No matter what.” That. Just, that.