No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
And after reading the beautiful powerful quote above, two things dawned on you. You read the quote, thought about its meaning for 2 1/2 seconds, and then immediately thought, “all these quotes and famous people who quote them don’t understand that it’s easier said than done.” Secondly, you realized that Eleanor Roosevelt was a strong and determined woman. Yes to both, especially the strong, determined woman part. How easy is it, to let other people make you feel bad? Bad about yourself, your body, your accomplishments. The worst part is, it happens almost everyday, all day. Everywhere you go, there is an opportunity for someone to make you feel worse about yourself. Maybe you’re a college girl and feel self conscious and embarrassed walking around campus because a girl you were talking to made a sly comment about your appearance. Maybe you’re at work and an employee decided to say, “so when are you actually starting that diet and going to see some progress?” (even if they know you started two months ago.) After that, you find yourself tossing out your pasta packed lunch behind your desk and seeking out lettuce leaves while feeling sorry for yourself. Let’s be real here. People are harsh and mean, and human beings tend to do this thing…you know what it’s called. It has a really long infamous title known as, “I’m-going-to-knock-you-down- and-say-something-slightly-hurtful-to-you-so-that-I-feel-better-about-myself-and-can-deal-with-my-own-deep-down-issues-that-I-haven’t- figured-out-yet.” There are a lot of articles on how to “stay strong when people try knocking you down.” It’s a very cliche topic. But people never really talk about how it really feels in those publications…they list what may help or what you should do, but they don’t tell you how horrific it feels when you’ve worked so hard to accomplish something, and how a single word that escapes someone’s mouth can create a melting, crushing feeling deep inside your stomach, and heart for the rest of the day and into the remainder of the week. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Even when your friends or family members try to make you feel better, you don’t, because you can’t get over what was said. It has pierced through something in you like an arrow, and has left a deep wound that will take some time to heal. But what you need to realize is that the arrow can’t be triggered from the bow, if you don’t allow someone to pull it back and shoot.
When you were in elementary school and girls were mean and your mother always hugged you and said, “they are just mean because they’re jealous” you felt slightly better, but now in the adult world you realize that when it comes to your body image and your self love, you can get squashed flatter than a pancake with just an uttered single sentence, or a look from someone else. It’s funny how a word, or a series of words can destruct everything you’ve worked so hard to feel happy about and proud of. How do we make that stop? Miss Strong talks about loving yourself all the time and not knocking yourself down, but what about not letting other people knock you down?
Now let’s not confuse this. If you’re in the gym and a girl is shooting you stares and you feel embarrassed and upset, that is your fault. Maybe her intention isn’t to make you feel badly, and you’re making yourself feel badly. I’m talking about not letting people knock you down who intend to knock you down, through their words or actions. How can you stay strong, and not let people affect you? How can you always promote self-love, respect, and confidence in this world?
Miss Strong’s Advice For Not Letting Others Knock You Down:
1. Don’t take anything personally!
I just said that if a girl is shooting you stares in the gym and you feel badly, that’s your fault because you don’t know what her intentions are. Same goes for when someone intentionally makes you feel bad. If you feel bad, it’s your fault. No one is making you feel badly. There may be an action or a cause, but you determine the result. Easier said than done, true that. But listen. People who want to say something to make you feel badly, are doing it because it makes them feel better about something; their own skewed body image, their low self-confidence, their lack of motivation to do what you’ve been doing. Who knows. That isn’t important, and it also isn’t your job to figure out what their problem is either. Don’t take anything personally. An insult or a jab is personal, to the person saying it. It has nothing to do with you, your beauty, your effort, or your life. If you don’t take anything personally, nothing can affect you.
2. Remind yourself of who you are
Nobody knows you, better than you. Other people on the street or on your college campus don’t know what you think, or what you do everyday. They don’t know how much effort you put into being healthy, or what your lifestyle is like. They don’t understand what personal thoughts and feelings you have for whatever interest or passion you may have and practice. You know exactly who you are. You know exactly what kind of woman you are, what kind of lady you wish to become, and what you value. That is it. You love who you are, and who you will always be; a strong woman, who DOES NOT change for anyone.
3. Cut negativity
Ain’t nobody got time for that! But really…this doesn’t even need an explanation. When you’re around people or places or things that have a positive vibe and impact on your life, that’s how you think and live. When you’re around friends or people who constantly bash you, your body and your image, that’s how you’ll live too. You’ll feel badly, and you might even start to criticize other people in the same manner. Ask yourself if you want that. You think it’s hard to leave the negative group of girl friends you have and make new ones? It’s harder living your life around people who don’t respect you, and even harder when you don’t respect yourself. Love yourself, and prove it by being around people who show their positive love for you.
4. Own your beauty, because no one else will ever have it
I don’t care whether or not you compare yourself to other girls all the time and that makes you feel badly, or whether you let other people and their negative comments make you feel badly. You need to look around and realize that no matter how unattractive you think you are in comparison to “that someone else” or how unhappy you are with your body or appearance, no one else looks like you or is you. That’s an incredible thing. You are you for a reason, and it’s such a let down when you spend everyday disappointed about that, isn’t it? It’s almost like you’re upset that you’re so unique. So stop. Put the outside comments aside, put the inner comments aside, and live everyday knowing that you are a beautiful woman.
5. Don’t Stop
I always say, be unstoppable. But really, be unstoppable. If someone criticizes something you do and makes you feel hopeless or badly for doing it, DON’T STOP. Keep going! Maybe sticking with it makes you uncomfortable because you feel so badly…but you need to keep doing what you love. If you’ve been training every morning for months and your friend tells you it “isn’t helping yet” then whoops. Maybe it isn’t helping her, but it’s helping you and you will reach you goal, and WILL NOT stop training every morning because another girl hasn’t been making the same gains. Why would you quit something and give someone else what they want, instead of giving yourself what you want?
You need to above everything and anything, understand how beautiful you are both inside and out. You are a unique person. You are your own person. You aren’t alone when someone says something hurtful to you or makes you feel uncomfortable…thousands of girls feel the same way, everyday. What makes you different is that you are strong and confident. You don’t let the hurtful arrow pierce through you, and you don’t take what is said to your face, or behind your back personally. Being strong and unstoppable means loving yourself enough to keep on keeping on. And yes, ladies, it is easier said than done. We all wish that hurtful words and gossip and people who knock others down didn’t exist. But I don’t. If negativity and judgement did not exist, we would never learn how to become strong. It is through experiences that make us sad and uncomfortable, that we grow as ladies and learn to love ourselves, love others, love our bodies, and be proud of each other every single day. Thank your haters. They’ve paved an incredible path for you to take charge. Don’t pass up a brilliant opportunity, because a true lady will take what is handed to her, and make something amazing from it.
Lots of love, happiness and strength,