All Of the Things I Am Not – Leading With the Negative

There are countless things that I am not:

  • A good cook
  • Patient
  • Nurturing
  • Good with directions
  • Wealthy
  • Able to hide my emotions
  • A good housekeeper
  • Responsible with money

…the list goes on.  I recently found myself not only recounting all of the things I’m not to someone, but also focusing on them, in a negative way, in my own time.  What’s that about!?  That is not productive behavior and it is certainly not Owning It!

Yes, there are many things that I am not, and there are many things that I can’t do (I can’t slam dunk a basketball, I can’t bake a Martha Stewart worthy wedding cake, I can’t sculpt a masterpiece out of clay…) but who cares about that stuff?  Why am I not thinking about, and focusing on, all of the things that I AM?  I am a good friend, a caring person, a hard worker, strong, determined, successful, funny, honest, trustworthy…those are great qualities!  Why am I focusing on things like the fact that I can’t cook?  Why is that what I tell people?  Why do we so often lead with the negatives?

Let me ask you a question.  When someone pays you a compliment, what do you do? What is your first reaction?  Is it to shrug it off, downplay it, or deny it?  Be honest.  I know those are my first reactions.  “You look really nice in that dress, Annie.”  My response should be “Thank you!” but instead it’s an insecure look down, or in a mirror, and a shrug, an eye roll, and a comment about some insecurity, “Oh, it makes my hips look wide.”  Good god, why do so many of us do this?  Does this go back to the crazy beauty standards we see thrown at us every day?  Or is it that we don’t want to appear arrogant or conceited?  Either way, it’s messed up!  “You look really nice in that dress,” does NOT mean I should immediately compare myself to the model I saw wearing the dress in an ad.  Do I look like the model?  No.  Does that mean the dress doesn’t look nice on me?  NO.  Saying “Thank you,” to that compliment does not mean I’m conceited and think that I look better than anyone else.  It means that I took the time to choose this dress and put it on because at some point, I liked the way it felt and looked, and the fact that someone is acknowledging what I kind of already hoped to be true anyway should be met with gratitude, not self-deprecation.

Do you notice it when you talk to your friends?  Do you notice yourself dong it?  Do you notice your friends doing it?  How do you feel when you tell your friend she looks great and she rolls her eyes and says something negative?

Why do we lead with the negatives?  Why do we think that we should hide our confidence?  These are terrible habits that get in the way of each one of you being able to Own Your You.  Owning who you are and embracing who you are does not take away from anyone else.  So often we shortchange ourselves in order to make sure others have enough (any moms out there – you KNOW I’m talking to you!) but the rest of us often do it too.  It’s important to us that our friends and family have enough – enough whatever it is at that point in time – and so we sometimes hold back, take less, give more, etc. to ensure others are not wanting.  That’s ok, in moderation, but I believe that it flows over into things like this and starts affecting our confidence.

Have you ever heard, or said, something like “Yeah, I can do that, but Jess does it better,” or “Thanks, I do like this dress, but Sara’s really got the legs for it, not me.”  These are both examples of us trying to still give more to our friends and family.  Give more praise, give more credit…more something.  Maybe Sara does have legs that would look great in that dress, and maybe Jess does have skill at something that you also do, but does accepting compliments on YOUR stuff diminish them in any way?  No.  Does Jess do X any less well because you acknowledged that you did a good job at it?  No.  Do Sara’s legs look any less fantastic because you accepted a compliment on a dress that she isn’t even wearing?  NO!  Let’s stop this madness, friends.  We are all allowed to do well, be good at something, feel good about ourselves…this does not diminish or take away from anyone else around us.

Let’s break these habits.  Let’s tell the world about all of the things we ARE and all of the things we CAN do.  Let’s put on our favorite outfit and Own It!