If you weren’t at Fresh + Fit Fest at the Hoxton last weekend you missed a trick! So many talks and demonstrations by super cool brands and individuals especially my absolute babe of a friend, Adrienne. She absolutely smashed her (sold out, just in case you were wondering!) talk on body confidence and I couldn’t be prouder of her! (If you didn’t catch it in person you can read about it here.)
After all of that though and despite how often we wax on and on about women supporting other women and how important it is, support without judgement, coming only from a place of love and kindness. It absolutely blows my mind that people still think it’s ok to body shame or comment on the appearance of others. I know we live in a digital age and most of us have our lives strewn out across social media, in one form or another but let me just say this now…
Unless you are a healthcare professional or someone has actually asked you for your advice, there is no point in time where it is acceptable to offer up your negative judgement on someone’s physical appearance.
Of course we all have opinions, as James Blunt so eloquently put… ‘they’re like arseholes – everyone has one’. Did you even stop to think though about how flapping your lips, or tapping away at that keyboard for that brief moment without really thinking about it, might affect someones day, week or even year? I didn’t think so. You might think you know someone because you follow them on social media but you have no idea what they go through day to day, how they feel about themselves, what they’re working on or what they’ve struggled to finally accept as a part of themselves.
I’m as guilty as the next person for commenting on peoples appearances but in a more positive way, ‘you look amazing’ so on and so forth but what is that really telling the person on the receiving end? That they’re only worthy of praise when they’re looking great? What if they feel like they rarely look that way, how will they feel when they look in a mirror and don’t see the edited, cropped and filtered version staring back at them? I guess it’s similar to praising children for that ‘perfect’ piece of work, how about praising the fact that they worked so hard on it, instead?
Praise the effort and not the outcome.
I know I’m probably overthinking this a touch but if we praise someone purely for how they look or how ‘perfect’ they have managed to make something, they will more than likely think that they always have to look that way or create perfect pieces of work, which as we all know is just not realistic. Without meaning to, without even realising it in fact, we’re reinforcing those unattainable standards that result in damaging peoples confidence, leaving them feeling like failures or ‘less than’. On the flip side, we can always put effort in, we can always try our absolute hardest because that allows for our off days where we might not be firing on all cylinders or quite achieving what we set out to. We can still try our hardest though, whatever that means on that particular day.
Anyway, I’m sure there are many people out there who can rant far more eloquently than I so cutting this short and getting to the point… Internet trolls aside, I am making it my mission to stop commenting so much on superficial aesthetic qualities, even though it most definitely comes from a place of love and support.
I would love it if you guys joined me, we all have so much more to be proud of than simply how we look.
That is why I love running and Crossfit – runners and Crossfitters always congratulate each other for effort and attitude, not speed/time/distance/butt size.
That’s so true! Cross fitters especially! I find the support in that environment is immense, especially mid workout – when everyone finishes they encourage those still going. I’m sure runners are just as supportive, it’s just much more spread out, logistically! (If that makes sense! Ha!)