Earlier this week, I looked in the mirror, after my shower, and I heard the voices of my parents in my head. They were messages about my appearance, some positive and some kinda negative. Don't get me wrong, I had amazing, supportive parents. They were a product of their generation and said many things to me because of what they heard growing up.

It was hard for me to share this pic of the person I saw in the mirror that night, but I felt it was important to post. I needed to address the voices in my head, including my own voice. The voice that is most important for me to REALLY hear. But, am I saying the right things?

After I finished typing the status, I sat there for several minutes debating on whether or not I should, and more importantly COULD, post the pic. That would mean sending it out into the judgmental world of social media for all to see and react. I kept telling myself that I was posting it for all of my friends, former students and followers. They needed to see me being real so that they would feel more comfortable being real too. But, I wasn't comfortable. How could I act like I could help others?  I was the exact person I thought I was helping.

Let me give you a little insight into my feelings about my looks.

I know it appears on the surface and through my attitude that I am super self confident. I am not. When I look in the mirror, I see all of the bad. Even when I was young, I would pick myself apart and always wish I Iooked more like someone else and less like me. I saw the big, misshaped head, the short, stubby neck, the zits all over my chest and back, the hair that was curly, dry/oily and unmanageable, the premature wrinkled fingers, the belly fat, muffin top, and crooked teeth. Now that I'm older, I see all of those things only magnified and more prominent. I guess I had hoped that there would come a time when I would look at myself and NOT see all the bad, but that never happened.

I will say that, in my older age, I don't obsess over it as much. My attitude is more of a, oh well...can't do anything about it now. I am what I am. But, I still don't like what I see unless I can hide it with make-up, long hair that is fixed just right and layers of clothes.

My mom and dad used to tell me the same things they were raised hearing themselves. They were a product of their generation. They heard the things my grandparents told my mom and aunts. They heard the things my great-grandparents told the women they were raising too. They were phrases carried down meant to dominate, shame, and weaken. Phrases like, fix your hair, don't go out like that, put your lips on, don't call boy's wait for them to call you, always look good, girls don't do that, be more quiet, sit like a lady, don't be too sexy, you must remain a virgin, don't cuss and always act like a lady.

I don't blame my parents for this, it was what they thought they were supposed to say. The words had been engrained in the thoughts and views of women.

Like other women, I constantly felt the pressure of being judged. Was I doing the 'girl' thing right?

The Be A Lady They Said video speaks volumes about the mixed messages and intense pressure that women endured growing up and they still endure today. We hear the messages all around us, but we also hear them in our own voice. We must stop our own voice from hurting us too.

**WARNING - NSFW imagery and words**

Yes, as women, we hear those things everyday of our lives. But, you can't control what other people say to you, you can only control what YOU say. Stop filling your head with this kind of negativity. If you want others to stop judging you and putting pressure on you to be perfect, stop doing it to yourself. Don't hate how you look or don't look, what you have done or what you need to do. Let the voice you hear the loudest, not be the voice of others, but be YOUR voice. The voice that should love you the most.

Those words in the video, get them out of your head. Stop using those same phrases on yourself. We can't continue to blame others for the way we feel abut ourselves. Yes, we have all heard these things said to us, the mixed messages, the judgment, the negativity, but YOU are in charge of what you let in and what effects you.

I am as guilty of this as anybody. That's why I didn't want to post the pic of me with no make-up. But, I knew if I didn't, I was hurting myself even more than anyone else ever could. If I am not my biggest hero, the one who builds me up, cares how I feel, how I see myself, and loves me, how can I expect any one else to.

Don't ever let the words and phrases of others, like those in the video, or things you have heard in the past, affect you. But, most importantly, don't be the one that says them to yourself or anyone else.

We are so lucky to live in a time that we can help each other grow and feel better about the world around us. The women before us din;t have the capability to share like we do.

My parents and grandparents might have said things to me that weren't exactly the best things to say, they were full of double standards and undeserved, unwanted stereotypes, but they did a lot of things right. They gave me the empathy, courage and confidence to click the button that posted my pic to my Facebook page and to even write this blog. For that, I am thankful and I'm sorry the women before me ever let the voice of others and their own voice hurt them.

Here are some great ways to STOP being your own worst enemy from Huffington Post -

  • Put negativity in a box - Every time you think something that isn't good for you, write it down, put it in the box and get rid of it. When the box gets full, you can burn all the negative thought. Really get rid of them.
  • Give your negative voice a well deserved name - It will allow you to call her out, verbally and vocally.
  • Ask yourself what your BFF would say - Hopefully your BFF is someone who helps build you up. (If any of your friends don't do this, get a new friend. She/he is not a good friend.) Talk you yourself like your BFF would talk to you. Would they tell you to post the pic because you are beautiful no matter what? YES THEY WOULD. That's one of the reasons I hit post with my makeup free selfie.

Find more HERE.


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