“The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.” Steve Maraboli.
After watching the romantic comedy, Never Been Kissed, for about the 10th time, my husband asked how I am not tired of watching it? And it made me think – why really? Is it just because of its happy ending? Or maybe because I like the way it deals in an honest and open way with our insecurities, the way we handle them, and our ability / inability to look and see the beauty within us, exactly as we are?
A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by a talented, lovely reporter from our local newspaper, The Rodney Times. Before the interview took place, I was very excited, yet tense, partly because of my perfectionist nature, and partly because I didn’t know how I was going to feel in my first face-to-face interview in relation to FLAT OUT TALI and my breast cancer experience. Years back, when I lived overseas, I had interviews with newspapers and national TV with my work in the prevention of sexual abuse, so it wasn’t the fear of speaking to the media. It was the new subject matter, my journey through bilateral mastectomy and choice for no reconstruction that took place 18 months ago.
Renee, The Rodney Times’ journalist, was brilliant, and I very quickly started to speak openly and passionately about my decision-making process to stay flat chested. I described a journey of self-confidence throughout this challenging experience, my determination and mindset that everything would be fine, and my strong belief (which I led by example), that being and feeling feminine has nothing to do - and should have nothing to do - with the size of my breasts. It was all true, exactly how it happened, and how I felt - to a tee.
We then headed to the office to find suitable photos to appear in the article. I found a couple which were my favourites, and then Renee pointed out another one… “Oh” I said, “not this one, I don’t like how my hips look here,” and I turned to her and added “I do have my insecurities.” Yep. For me, it’s not about my breasts (or the lack of them), it’s about my hips.
So, did it mean that I had been a phoney with Renee and her readers with my confident declarations about femininity? That underneath, I am really a person with low self-confidence and body image issues? I don’t think so. All it meant was that like many others, I have my insecurities, which in this case, related to an aspect of my appearance. For others, it could be similar, or it could be something to do with their skills, knowledge, relationships, etc.
Even those who seem to have it all, or behave like they do, have their own insecurities. Maybe, they just hide them better. A great practical article about insecurities (which includes a five-minute recommended YouTube video), mentions that Drs Robert and Lisa Firestone - well known psychologists who researched the area of insecurities for many years - say: “the most common self-critical thought people have toward themselves is that they are different…whether our self-esteem is high or low…we are a generation that compares, evaluates, and judges ourselves with great scrutiny.”
So, what we should do? Well, the article above, with its short video, provides some useful solutions. And until - or if - we choose to apply them, let’s just acknowledge and accept that this is how we feel, and tell ourselves that it’s okay. . . to feel this way, to be this way. We are okay.
Til next time,