On purposefully changing your perspective.

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New to this series?  Please check out The Naked Face Project website and my introduction to TNFP to get a complete understanding of the intention behind the Project.

 

Another week of being happily Naked Faced.  I’ve settled into the routine with my new habits and, truthfully, the past week was so busy with work that I barely noticed my nakedness at all. Instead of being a ‘Project,’ this is just becoming my normal life – and that makes me very happy because it was always my hope that the Project would normalize as part of my everyday experience.  No longer do I look into the mirror and think, "Gah! I look strange without mascara on!" or "Dude, those are some hairy legs!"  Now… it’s just my eyes.  And my legs.  It’s just… me. 

 

And you know what?  It always was.

 

Earlier this week, I wrote about a Girls on the Run lesson about Negative Nelly.  As part of the lesson, we explain negative self-talk and positive self-talk and how you can begin to transform your negative thoughts into more positive and empowering thoughts.  The girls get index cards and write negative thoughts that they’d have about themselves.  After discussing some of the cards, we play a warm-up game that involves sprints towards the Negative Nelly box – we feed her our negative cards.

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I was reading through the girls’ negative thoughts and really wanted to share a few with you all.  What struck me most is that I, as an adult, occasionally find myself thinking similar things.  And I overhear my friends or family members engaging in similar negative self-talk constantly.  One thing the Operation Beautiful website has taught me is that even though we are all so different and go through different things in our lives, we can all relate to each other’s struggle.  We’re all struggling to figure out who the heck we are and how we fit into the big, crazy world. 

 

These thoughts may be scribbled in elementary school penmanship, but that doesn’t mean they are unique to the kid experience. 

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Thankfully, I also read through their positive thought cards (which they used as part of another exercise) and there were many "I am awesome!" or "I am strong and powerful!" thoughts.

 

This Project has never been about demonizing makeup or shaving.  As I’ve said many times before, I don’t think those particular things are bad and will return to many habits after the Project concludes.  Instead, the Project has always been about questioning my personal intention behind beauty habits.  But a surprising effect of The Naked Face Project, as I wrote last week, has been that it has made me less negative towards myself in all areas, not just my appearance.

 

I was thinking about my negative self-talk during this Project, and I realized the reason behind my reduction in negative self-talk was simple… Change one thing, and very often, you change everything.  It’s so easy to get stuck in a life rut.  Same behaviors, same relationships, same interactions.  And life ruts come with thought pattern ruts.  My own personal negative self-talk was very similar on a day-to-day basis.  I ruminated on the same issues over and over again.  (Side note:  my current negative thought patterns have nothing to do appearance, which I find interesting because The Naked Face Project is about forgoing exterior beauty habits.)  I couldn’t seem to get past my negative thoughts – and I think it was because everything else was exactly the same.  Engaging in the Project shook up a small portion of my world; it forced me to re-examine who I am and why I do things.  And over the last six weeks or so, I’ve finally begun to alter the thought pattern ruts that I was stuck in for so long.  In so many ways, I finally found what I was looking for. 

 

All that being said… please just remember that you are not alone.  We all – whether 8 years old or 80 – can relate on one level or another.  And you may find relief from Negative Nelly in the most unlikely of places.  Begin that journal.  Get that tattoo.  Tell your nosy mother-in-law to shove it.  Dance naked around your living room every single night.  Rescue a puppy from the shelter.  Pursue your dream job.  Finally make an appointment with that therapist.  Sign up for a 5K.  Make a new friend.  Discover a new hobby.  Forgo makeup for 60 days. 

 

Whatever path you take, whatever change you embrace… I hope you find what you’re looking for, too.

{ 72 comments }

 

  • Katie @ Talk Less, Say More March 8, 2012, 7:53 pm

    Thank you for this today. I’ve had the week off work and I thought it would be good for me but instead I found it allowed me too much time to THINK and get inside my own head with negative thoughts and doubts. I needed this. Thank you.

    • CaitlinHTP March 8, 2012, 7:56 pm

      You rock. End of story!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) March 8, 2012, 7:54 pm

    Sadly I find the same negative talk with boys. I think we all need to stop being so judgemental and embrace our differences. It’s not a perfect world, so why do we have to expect perfection. I worry so much about how my kids are treated at school by others. I don’t hold them back from being themselves and I teach them that it’s great to be yourself as long as you are respectful of others and their differences. Raising kids is so hard, I really hope I’m doing it right…

    • CaitlinHTP March 8, 2012, 7:57 pm

      I think the mere fact that you care enough to worry means you are doing an excellent job.

    • Colleen March 8, 2012, 9:22 pm

      I have those same thoughts. My youngest son told me how we was called a name today and a toy was thrown at him. He stood his ground and told his teacher instead of doing the same back.

  • kathleen @ the daily crumb March 8, 2012, 7:57 pm

    this is such a fabulous post. thank you, as always, caitlin for inspiring me.

  • Susan March 8, 2012, 8:01 pm

    I’m 38 years old…and I am struggling with the “I am a slow runner” thing. I get excited to share my PR’s with folks, but then I always feel like I have to put something after it explaining how it’s not that fast. Why do I do this to myself? I also fight not to call myself a turtle; it holds me back. What I think is what is.

  • Meredith March 8, 2012, 8:01 pm

    This is such a great post – so inspiring! I’ve really loved following you in this project.

  • Alexandra March 8, 2012, 8:11 pm

    Strange how a little perspective can provide clarity, and how clarity can often inspire. You’re awesome. Thanks Caitlin <3

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape March 8, 2012, 8:19 pm

    Awesome post. Love how the simpler approach to life has just become a part of who you are. Never really thought of it turning into that!

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats March 8, 2012, 8:31 pm

    I’m actually shocked at some of those cards written by girls!!! “I Hate Myself” at that age?? It’s amazing how early these things begin!

  • Linds @ Linds Eats March 8, 2012, 8:37 pm

    It pains me that girls at such a young age can have thoughts like that. It’s so sad. Girls that age should be running around care free, without a negative thought in their head. To bad life’s not that simple. It took me a long time to grow up and be happy with myself, and sometimes I still struggle!

    I love what your doing Caitlin. Keep up the great work!

  • J March 8, 2012, 8:39 pm

    Do you know who wrote “I hate myself”? That goes beyond just a negative thought. πŸ™

    • CaitlinHTP March 8, 2012, 8:41 pm

      No, I don’t. But I do know that the girls were told they could write a negative thought they had ONCE so it’s not necessarily like she’s thinking it all the time. I know 12/15 girls pretty well and I would be really, really surprised if any of them were actively hating themselves on a daily basis. But you never know, I suppose, esp because you can never be 100% sure what happens outside of school… It’s sad that they even think that ONCE! πŸ™

  • Krystina (Krystina Zena) March 8, 2012, 8:50 pm

    I think the worst part of this is that these young girls feel such strong dislike for themselves. A girl writing “I hate myself” is just so devastating. I HATE that young people don’t have a chance to be happy-go-lucky, free kids anymore. Earlier and earlier, they’re thrown into a world where they’re ridiculed, teased, and tormented to the point where kids below age 13 are committing suicide. I’m afraid of what society will be like once my child is old enough to be in school and to be around others. This is a huge red flag and it makes my heart hurt.

    • CaitlinHTP March 8, 2012, 8:53 pm

      AGREEEEEEEEEEEEEE. And that is why programs like GOTR are soooo important! A positive option in a world of yuckiness.

    • Ashley March 8, 2012, 9:17 pm

      I totally agree. Reading “I hate myself” just broke my heart. I know what it’s like to be depressed during the adolescent years and looking back I so wished I had got help sooner. I really hope that child has someone to turn to for help.

    • Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) March 9, 2012, 2:28 pm

      I agree with you…. my thoughts exactly. Our society has a big issue at hand and we ALL need to take it seriously.

  • Colleen March 8, 2012, 9:19 pm

    Great post Caitlin! We definitely share those negative thoughts.

  • Sierra @ Posh Meets Pavement March 8, 2012, 9:20 pm

    I love this post on so many levels. You are doing great work with GOTR and I cannot wait to get involved. The more I learn about the program, the more I think it’s a perfect fit for something I want to be a part of. So many similar thoughts haunt me on a daily basis. It’s amazing that we are all the same.

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie March 8, 2012, 9:34 pm

    Life ruts ARE easy to get into. I love finding things that give me new perspective or outlook. Usually they have to do with healthy living or even things like what you’re doing.

    I love that you’re objective on the beauty routines too. I am as well.

    I find that wearing make up is fun sometimes and can make me feel confident but I’m not attached to it like I used to be. For example, we’ve been struggling with some health issues with my son and this week when we had to rush off to the hospital late in the evening I didn’t have to worry about being insecure or self conscious about my bare face (barer for all the crying too). Don’t worry, our boy will be just fine, he’s been getting seizures induced by fever lately though. Always scary.

    Anyway, my point is, I used to NEED makeup and feel strange and very aware of when I wasn’t wearing it. Now, whether I’m wearing it or not, it’s just me.

  • Stephanie @ Legally Blinde March 8, 2012, 9:35 pm

    Wow, those note cards made me a little emotional. You are truly doing such great work – I’m so glad that you’re helping to spread such a positive message. I really love this line: “Change one thing, and very often, you change everything.” So powerful. That’s something I really need to think about. Thanks for such a great post.

    • JenATX March 14, 2012, 12:11 am

      agreed. that sentence really resonated with me. I need to shake things up! what are some other ways to do this? Any suggestions? That would be a great forum convo

  • Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed March 8, 2012, 9:52 pm

    Love the messages in this post. And the end really made me want to go out and do something epic. Keep up the good work lady, you are doing good things in this world <3

  • Dana March 8, 2012, 10:15 pm

    I really feel for those girls. “I hate myself”?!? Gives me tears.

    I wish there had been a GOTR when I was that age. I felt so ugly, hated, and – yes – pale. πŸ™‚ Good work with those girls. You are truly changing lives.

  • Sarah March 8, 2012, 10:42 pm

    Caitlin, I love your blog more and more every single day. You are truly an inspiration to all of us… young and old. Today’s post is one of my favorite blog posts ever and thank you so much for sharing all you do. I’ve adopted the word “do” as my personal challenge in 2012, and just this week I was hard on myself for continuing on in the same negative rut. You’ve reminded (and inspired me) to actually just DO what I want/need. πŸ™‚

    • CaitlinHTP March 9, 2012, 2:34 pm

      DO is awesome personal challenge πŸ˜‰ Love it and thanks for reading!

  • Katie @ Soulshine and Sassafras March 8, 2012, 10:58 pm

    You are going to be such an awesome mom.

  • Jessica @ MyKindnessCounts March 8, 2012, 11:38 pm

    Caitlin,
    First off, I can’t say how impressed I am with the thoughtfulness of all your posts, but especially ones relating to GOTR & The Naked Face Project. Because I’m especially interested childhood & adolescence, those index cards really made an impression on me.

    I had a really rough time throughout my adolescence and kept so many of those exact same negative thoughts inside until I was around 17. As I grew older, I still struggled with self-doubt A LOT and feelings of inadequacy, but was able to become more confident and happy with myself as I finished college and began working in a field I’m really passionate about. Thankfully, those negative thoughts I once had are no longer on the forefront of my mind, but I sometimes do experience them from hearing about other people’s unhappiness or frustration with themselves.

    On my website, I encourage youth to send me in stories about positive actions they’re taking in their communities or online to tackle bullying behaviors and/or any kind of intolerance, hate words, etc. I also ask them to describe what inspired them to engage in these positive actions. What I kind of didn’t anticipate when I started this website was that I would receive emails from young people that exuded such honesty and openness about various (and often times very serious) issues they have experienced and how horrible they have felt about themselves at times.

    Interestingly, after years of feeling pretty okay with myself and happy with where I am in life, I sometimes find myself re-feeling all those emotions I felt long ago as I read through their emails. Luckily, I don’t carry those negative feelings with me the rest of my day, but for a moment I feel that old pit in my stomach filled with insecurity, self-doubt, unworthiness, etc. As you can probably imagine, these types of emails can really bum me out sometimes. But with that said, I wouldn’t change my website or what I ask from those kids for anything in the world. Communicating with these teens makes me feel more empathetic, humbled, and human from the negative emotions I feel. And after years and years, I’m fortunate in that I can FINALLY say that I know my weight does not impact my work performance nor will it impact the good I do in this world. I can also acknowledge that other people’s opinions really do not make an impact on my view of myself, and lastly, I’ve learned that I really want to help other kids and teens come to the same realizations.

    Negative feelings suck. They do. They have the power to transform your entire outlook on life, the opportunities you take on, and how you treat yourself and others. These girl are SO incredibly lucky to have both you, Caitlin, and GOTR to help them acknowledge and identify negative feelings and learn to keep listening to the positive ones.
    (I apologize for the length of this comment. I’ve just had all these thoughts running through my head the past few days and your post on this issue got them re-flowing! πŸ™‚ )

    • Jen March 9, 2012, 12:47 am

      Wow…you are such a beautiful, amazing person & I LOVE what you are doing for these kids!!! Wishing you all the BEST!

      • Jessica March 9, 2012, 10:48 am

        That is so nice. Thank you for all the kind words!

    • CaitlinHTP March 9, 2012, 2:35 pm

      Great post and GREAT WEBSITE!!!

  • Jamie@everydaydolce.com March 9, 2012, 12:00 am

    I love this. I love every word. You are so inspiring and I always love what you bring to the blog world…thank you πŸ™‚

  • Jen March 9, 2012, 12:49 am

    Love this post, Caitlin (and you too)!

  • Katie Nov March 9, 2012, 12:57 am

    Hey Caitlin, I look up to you for so many things. I can honestly say that this is one of the first healthy living blogs I’ve read and it’s made an impact on my life. It’s made an impact on a bunch of other peoples’ lives, too, I know that, but I was hoping you could help spread the word for this one cause… Kony 2012– have you heard about it yet? There’s a 27-minute video on youtube you should look up if you’re interested, and it’s gone viral. 43 million views in 3 days, and hoping to reach more. I feel bad for the kids being affected by this, and I was thinking that as a soon-to-be mom and someone who volunteers with kids often, you’d be interested, too.

    Anyway, longest comment ever– thanks for everything! πŸ™‚

    • CaitlinHTP March 9, 2012, 2:36 pm

      i saw something about this on the news this morning – will def check it out!

  • Laura March 9, 2012, 1:11 am

    So weird seeing you on the Daily Mail today!

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing March 9, 2012, 1:33 am

    The last paragraph? Absolutely beautiful.

  • Laura @ She Eats Well March 9, 2012, 1:34 am

    Great, thoughtful post. I find myself doing negative self-talk with relationships that have ended. I feel sad, and through that sadness, somehow, become negative or overly-critical of myself. I wish there was a ‘naked face’ type of project specific to relationships. I think it’s so interesting that you have found, through this project, that you are less negative towards yourself in all areas. This is a great, inspiring, thought-provoking post- thank you.

  • Annelies March 9, 2012, 3:57 am
  • Kate March 9, 2012, 3:58 am

    Caitlin – you’ve reach the UK. Checking the news this morning and saw this about the naked face project – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2112171/No-make-blow-drys-hairy-legs-How-women-going-au-naturel-60-days-rediscover-inner-confidence.html.
    Well done to you and Molly.

  • Nicola March 9, 2012, 4:22 am

    Amazed to see you in the Daily Mail this morning Caitlin. Well done!

  • Jennifer March 9, 2012, 6:06 am

    I also saw you in the Daily Mail today!

    A quick question for you about this Girls on the Run lesson: Thinking about this issue of ‘negative self talk’ it seems to me that in some instances it’s certainly destructive (e.g. “I hate myself”). However, how about thoughts that are negative but true? For example, the girl who wrote down that she is a slow runner probably is a slow runner. The girl who wrote down that she is no good at drawing probably is no good at drawing.

    Isn’t it important for everyone to learn to accept their personal flaws rather than denying them? Which message is the Negative Nelly box giving to the girls? Is it dangerous to let kids grow up in this society where there is no competition and where they are told that they are ‘awesome’ at everything they do? Sooner or later that bubble is going to burst when they make a fool of themselves auditioning for American Idol (because nobody ever told them that they have a horrible singing voice) or when they are devastated about being rejected by 10 modelling agencies in a row (because everyone always told them that they are beautiful so they don’t understand why they can’t be a model).

    I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this!

    • sarah March 9, 2012, 11:07 am

      Hi Jennifer… I know you are asking Caitlin for her thoughts on your comment, but I wanted to chime in as well.
      I totally agree with the idea that “everyone is a winner” mentality seems to exist with parents and their kids these days, and I don’t think it’s the best concept to push. As a child I remember competing in things like gymnastics and team sports and there were girls who placed first and girls you just got a “participation ribbon”. Honestly, I think that is how it should be!
      My guess is that the best way to handle things like being a slow runner or bad at drawing is to remind kids that they can’t be the best at everything or the winner for every competition. Some people are great at running and others are great at art. It’s about finding the thing that you are great at. Plus, just because you aren’t the best at something doesn’t mean you can’t participate and still have fun! Right?

    • CaitlinHTP March 9, 2012, 2:38 pm

      We talk about turning the negative thoughts into productive thoughts… Like instead of “I am a slow runner,” they are taught to think, “I work really hard and am improving every day.” So it’s not like OMG YOU ARE THE BESTEST KID EVERRRRRRRRRRRRRR but just a happy, positive version of YOU!

  • Kelly March 9, 2012, 6:23 am

    It breaks my heart to see negative self talk at such a young age. I don’t remember engaging in negative self talk until college but it is a reminder that it can start at any age and how cruel we can be to ourselves. I am glad there were so many positive comments too!

  • Linz @ Itz Linz March 9, 2012, 7:48 am

    I LOVE the negative nelly idea! I want to use it with my soccer team and with my third graders! Thanks for sharing!

  • Anneke March 9, 2012, 7:49 am

    Wow, what a wonderful initiative!

  • Christina March 9, 2012, 8:13 am

    That is beautifulβ™₯

  • Philippa March 9, 2012, 8:40 am

    The project has made it ‘across the pond’! Look what I found at lunchtime… http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2112171/No-make-blow-drys-hairy-legs-How-women-going-au-naturel-60-days-rediscover-inner-confidence.html

    I think it’s a really great(and brave)idea. I tend to have make-up free days, but not sure I could do 60! πŸ™‚

  • lauren March 9, 2012, 9:47 am

    Love this post. Love this topic.
    I struggle with negative self talk sometimes, but I think that’s why I’m so interested in it.
    I read a (guest post) on another blog this week and it talked about changing the “script” we tell ourselves. I think that is very much related to what you talk about, and instead of writing a new script, you’re taking new actions. Of course at first those actions seemed “weird” and manufactured (a challenge), but eventually you start to realize that there is something to what you’re doing.

  • Mellissa March 9, 2012, 9:52 am

    My heart hurts for these girls that at such a young age are already feeling this. So sad! I truly hope we can get to a place in society where kids can just be kids and not worry so much about how they look.

  • Natalie March 9, 2012, 10:21 am

    I was just about to tell you that you were featured in one of the English papers today – then i realised that a few other people had also noticed! Amazing, keep up the positive messages πŸ™‚

  • Joan March 9, 2012, 10:25 am

    So beautifully written. Thank you for being you.

  • Becky March 9, 2012, 10:28 am

    Thank you, Caitlin.

    I almost cried when I read the negative cards from these little girls (my niece is 9, and she has participated in GOTR, so it hits especially close to home). While I totally related to these thoughts because I have them all too frequently, the thought that girls that age have the same thoughts is heartbreaking. Thank you so much for what you’re doing to make them aware, help them fight it, and teach them that they are all special! Boy do I wish I had a program like this when I was that age (heck, I could use it today!!). πŸ™‚

    Thank you for all your thought provoking posts – I really appreciate them!

  • Alex @ Raw Recovery March 9, 2012, 10:55 am

    I actually just got my first tattoo yesterday! A daisy and the sanskrit word for goddess written underneath to remind me of my inner light and divinity.

  • Carrie March 9, 2012, 11:13 am

    I absolutely LOVE the idea of Negative Nelly! I coach Jr. High Girls track. The girls are so negative about their skills and abilities and compare themselves to others despite me telling them that it is completely false and that they are amazing young women who are strong and do their best. I may have to use this idea! Thank you for your inspiration!

  • Moni'sMeals March 9, 2012, 11:39 am

    what a touching situation. I think everyone should have this box hanging out to throw in their mean and bully thoughts!
    You are so awesome and such an inspiration to them BUT REALLY…to us ALL. πŸ™‚

  • Jamie March 9, 2012, 11:42 am

    Right now my son is five and still at the age that he thinks he is AWESOME. However, he has already had to deal with some bullying since starting school. I hope that I can reinforce the idea that he rocks and keep his confidence up as he gets older.

  • Linda March 9, 2012, 12:14 pm

    Hi Caitlin,
    I LOVE your blog and all you do through Operation Beautiful and Girls on the Run. Next month I am going to be working with 3rd-5th graders by teaching them yoga. It’s an hour and a half class so I don’t just want to do yoga the whole time. The activities you did with the index cards and the negative thoughts and the positive thoughts got me thinking. Yoga is all about going within and body acceptance and self love etc. I would love to do some of these kinds of activities with the kiddos. Where do you get your ideas for these activities? Could you send me a link? Thanks for all you do and all your inspiration.

    • CaitlinHTP March 9, 2012, 2:40 pm

      These are all GOTR activities that are included in the lessons plans, which are copyrighted so I can’t send them to you πŸ™ So sorry. Check out the Dove campaign though, they have some activity ideas!

  • Kate @ ibrokemyumbrella March 9, 2012, 12:15 pm

    Beautiful post! I loved it.

  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) March 9, 2012, 12:51 pm

    I haven’t been commenting on these posts because I’m not sure how I feel about the project. However, I think you hit a good point in this post about your thoughts (negative) on things not related to appearance. It seems that the less we find worth in sole appearances, the more we focus on the person that we really are. And for many of us, it’s not exactly pretty, so to speak. And of course, that’s okay.

    It’s those non-appearance things that people are truly going to remember about us The brain is not really good at recreating an image of someone in your head. Try it — imagine someone you think you know really well — how much detail appears when you close your eyes? You’d be surprised at how vague the image is. But the way a person treats you, the spirit they give off, and all that other stuff resonates much more clearly.

  • Amy @Macncheesenpeas March 9, 2012, 1:40 pm

    I really love your message! It’s so powerful and positive! Thank you for this post. I’ve recently started trying to engage in positive self talk when i start feeling down on myself. It really does help, and its a good tool to use to empower yourself.

    Thanks again!!!

  • Helene @healthyfrenchie March 9, 2012, 2:04 pm

    Such a great post! It’s amazing how the naked face project changed your perspective!
    As for those girls, I find it incredibly sad that they have such thoughts at a young age. They should be running around carefree and enjoying life!
    I have been thinking a lot about the pressure we face, and posted something today, about remembering that no, I am nit superwoman.
    Keep up your great and inspirational work

  • Amber K March 9, 2012, 2:55 pm

    I remember having some of those same thoughts at an even younger age than they are. They started out externally (being told that by those in my life) and I internalized them very quickly. It is very sad and I wish I had this amazing group back then. You’re doing an amazing thing Caitlin!

  • Kelly March 9, 2012, 5:40 pm

    I feel like those cards are so raw. And it’s so crazy that girls as young as 8 are having those feelings. So thankful these girls have something positive in their lives. I wish you would post the positive cards too!

  • Karina March 9, 2012, 7:58 pm

    Well done with this project πŸ™‚

  • Angie March 9, 2012, 8:21 pm

    My 8 year old daughter is doing GOTR, and I absolutely love the program. I almost cried when I read that one of your girls wrote “I hate myself.” As the mom of a young girl I know that the negative thoughts start very early; my beautiful daughter once cried because I wanted to braid her hair – she said that she looked “ugly” with a braid. Also, she has done locks of love twice and both times she has been concerned that she looks “bad” with shoulder-length hair instead of hair down her back! I don’t know how they start so young with the negative self-talk. We tell her all the time she is an amazing person both inside and out – she is beautiful and smart and a loving, caring person. Where did she ever get the idea that she could be “ugly”?

    And while I have my own work to do on the negative self-talk, I NEVER EVER verbalize my negative feelings in front of my children.

  • Melissa March 9, 2012, 9:17 pm

    I am absolutely shaken up by what the girls wrote on their cards. I remember having very negative thoughts as a child as well (and still do daily in my adult life). Feeling bad about being YOU is the worst thing ever and I feel like we’re brainwashed into thinking that we’ll never be good enough starting at a very young age.

  • Penny April 7, 2012, 9:17 am

    I stumbled on this blog yesterday. It was perfect timing for me. I have always really struggled with self-esteem, and yet sometimes I would do things to prove to the world I don’t…
    I was 15, and I decided I didn’t like shaving. When I mentioned wanting to stop to my mom, she said I had to shave! This blew my mind. When I asked why, and used French women as an example, (Sorry, generalization!) She said because of our culture.
    At my wedding, no one recognized my mom because she had make-up, jewelry and a gorgeous dress on. She isn’t that type. Yet, there she was telling me had to shave because culture dictated.
    I remember saying, “So, I’m gonna go have sex with every boy I know, smoke and drink at 15, just because the culture dictates?” We both sat back and were horrified. (I did manage to not shave for almost a year, then I decided I wanted smooth legs for an evening and started up again.)

    Now I have to face my self-esteem again. I went on a trip and left my makeup bag there.(Totally on accident.) My husband offered to take me out and get more, but we can’t really afford to right now. So, I am going all naked-faced.
    I never wore much, but I did wear foundation because I believed (okay I still do) my skin tone would look so much better if it didn’t change halfway across my face. My head (and my husband) tells me I look fine, so what tells me I don’t?
    As I go out, I find I long to put on my “mask”. If I put on my mascara I can’t get emotional, because it would run. If I wear eyeshadow and eyeliner, surely no one will notice when my smile doesn’t reach my eyes. If my hair is perfect, no one will know I dragged myself out of bed this morning after a long night of worry about my husband’s job.
    It is a mask, and now I have to face myself everyday. Am I the only one who feels this way? People admire me for going “bare”, how can I take a compliment when I don’t believe it? Will I ever change?

    • CaitlinHTP April 9, 2012, 10:19 am

      I think this is a perfect example of how strong our culture’s influences can be! You are naturally a person who wants to question and push back, but as an adult, you know it’s hard to do this. I would really just urge you to look within and find other ways to challenge yourself… it doesn’t have to be about going Naked Face. I have found resolution and insight from the most unlikely of places (namely, racing and doing triathlons and whatnot). I hope you find what you are looking for!

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