All of our lives we have been told that we should not ‘boast’, or ‘brag’ about what we achieve, or what we love about ourselves. When I started university I had already worked to build up my self-confidence after some teenage bullying, and I did not see any problem in paying myself a compliment or stating that I was good at something (if indeed it was a matter of fact). However, I would get the strangest reactions when I did this.
If I said something like “Hey, I’m hot!”, the response would be gasping faces and “Ooh, that’s a bit big headed!” People would poke fun saying they needed to ‘bring me back down to Earth’ and that ‘You can’t say THAT!’. But why? My self-confidence did not encroach on their quality of life. I was not saying ‘I am so much hotter than you‘, or ‘I am better than you‘, I was simply saying (and still do) what I like about myself, so why would that offend them? I was not cutting down their ego, so why were they trying to cut down mine?
When you tell someone to ‘stop being big headed’ or that they cannot or should not compliment themselves, you are basically telling them to be less confident, or at least – You can be confident, as long as you don’t show it. But, if we don’t let people express themselves openly without ridicule, how can we expect people to learn that loving themselves is OK? If we tell our children not to ‘show off’ or be proud about something they are good at, we teach them to think lesser of their achievements. When we chastise women as being ‘narcissistic’ when they are confident and embrace self-love, we are showing that it is more important to be meek and self-effacing, than it is to be happy and liberated.
I want everyone to feel exactly how I feel – I want you all to have GIANT OFFENSIVE EGOS. I want everyone to be confident enough to compliment themselves… out loud… to other people. Contrary to what some people would want you to believe, being confident, and complimenting yourself, does not mean you think you are better than other people. It just means you think you are pretty great – I mean, there are billions of pretty damn amazing people on the planet, loving myself doesn’t mean I don’t see this. You can be confident without needing to bring other people down or think badly of other people. Me being attractive and having talents, does not diminish your fabulous looks and inspiring talents. Let’s be boastful together. Let’s say ‘f*ck you’ to those limitations that others have tried to impose upon us.
Of course, I only compliment myself on things I know to be true. I wouldn’t compliment myself on my amazing tap dancing abilities because they do not exist. That is just part of knowing yourself, and being able to recognise your strengths and what you are good at, versus what others are talented at, or what you need to improve upon. Keep your compliments authentic; if everyone compliments your boobs, your legs, your creativity, your singing voice, your makeup skills, then own that thing. Maybe you are a great parent, or sibling. Perhaps you are really good at cross-words. Whatever your talent or special thing is, own it.
But I don’t like ANYTHING about myself, Peach!
You need to fight the life-time of conditioning you have had, reject the voice in your head that says “Oh but I can’t say that!” Recognise what is amazing about YOU and embrace it!
In complete opposition to the One Direction song, not knowing how beautiful you are DOESN’T make you more beautiful. Is this the lesson we want to hand down to our younger generation? That their good traits are only valid if they do not see or recognise them? We need to embrace self-love, not because everyone is ‘perfect’, but because everyone has something that is particular and special to them.
I say no one is ‘perfect’ because we aren’t – what is perfection anyway? ‘Perfect’ is a toxic concept, we are either striving to achieve it, or told we need to view ourselves as perfect in order to earn our body positive, self-love badge. Both of these are unattainable as we are all so different, how can you quantify perfection when there is such variety? F*ck perfection.
I have high self-esteem but I don’t think I’m perfect. There is nothing I would change about my appearance but that doesn’t mean I think it is ‘perfection’. You do not need to think you are perfect in order to love yourself and be confident. Don’t worry if you think you will NEVER see yourself as ‘perfect’. I don’t, and I don’t think it is necessary.
Just know that you can love yourself exactly as you are right now, without needing to change or alter who you are or what you look like. Remind yourself of this everyday. Remind yourself of those small things you love about yourself. Tell your friends and family the great things you have achieved and the things you are proud of. Let them know it is OK to boast and love yourself – vocally, openly and freely.
The amazing thing about the pole community is that it does a lot of the hard work for you. I have seen people’s confidence grow and strengthen through their pole journey. I have seen people say ‘F*CK YOU!’ to societal ideas about perfection, and breaking through the limitations imposed upon them. Pole is great because it helps you to achieve this new, healthy attitude towards yourself, so really, you don’t have that far to go. Plus, I have never had someone in the pole world tell me I am being too big headed, or egotistical, by complimenting myself or being confident, and I think that is a great vibe to surround yourself with.
Embrace yourself, embrace your body, and embrace self-love.
Until next time ♥