“Oh my God, Becky. Look at her butt.” Have no fear, that’s just some lyrics to Baby Got Back. However, could it have been you or your friends commenting on another woman’s body at one time in your life? The answer to this question is yes. Yes. Let’s be honest with each other. We have all said or even thought something we regretted. It is part of the human experience.
I am going to be honest. The first time I look at photos of myself, I usually cringe. I don’t know why, but my guess is that pesky thing known as “karmic programming” which I will get to in a moment. But when we notice these thoughts and feelings about other people, we have to wonder are we reflecting something back about ourselves we don’t like? Then we have to dig deeper into our karmic programming, which is a history that has been passed down through the generations of how we feel about ourselves or how we view our bodies, etc. Here is my example…and it’s just honest reflection, but in the south, women seem to dress up, wear make-up, and diet more than other places. I could be wrong, but it is what I have observed. The girls I went to school with were very concerned about appearance and hair, my Lord, was everything.
So to break out of that way of thinking, or programming if you will, requires lots of pausing and reflection that as teenagers, we just really don’t have. In college, we might have a bit more, but as mothers, oh as mothers you would think we would know how hard it has been. Sometimes this is not true. So in order for all women to benefit from breaking this cycle of thoughts, we have to try to speak better, think better and build better relationships with the women around us. We have to watch how we speak to ourselves and how we speak to other women…even if it’s in our heads my sisters.
How to Create Meaningful Friendships:
- Avoid feeding into the negative body image feelings that most women have. This is the hardest one, so I started with it. This weekend at a conference, we were asked to turn to the woman next to us and tell them what we saw in their eyes, their faces, and write it on these heart-shaped mirrors. The woman next to me was sparkling, but because of my skills, I knew she didn’t think so. I also saw her beautiful, vulnerable eyes. She was an international woman, a woman who has her own business, but had just said to me, I usually don’t take my sweater off because of my arms. The first thought that came in to my head as I turned to look at her was how dazzling she was. Just pure love in her eyes, but such vulnerability that as I told her she was beautiful and dazzling, we both started crying. Know that as you feel vulnerable, so does the woman you are friends with.
- Embrace differences and allow for growth. Where your friendships are right now, in this moment, is not where they were 6 years ago. Hopefully that is a good thing. However, if they are in the exact same place as 6 years ago, and you are having the same conversations about the same things, ask yourself if you are feeling fulfilled in this friendship or is this just a “surface” level type of friendship where you don’t feel connected. The surface level friendships just don’t last usually because they will always hold something back. A deeper friendship should strengthen with time and feel different…like you have grown roots and might even be connected. As you reach for that connection, test out your answers. Do you feel comfortable with the entire truth in this friendship? If the answer is yes, or even hell yes, I’d tell her anything and she just gets me, then you are a lucky sister. We can find those friends, and when we do, we need to hold on.
- Don’t listen to others…feed your own soul. Sometimes, there are those who are jealous. They look at the surface and make nasty comments. Did you see her outfit? She needs to lose weight. She acts so ridiculous. Why is she so happy all the time? These comments are usually a reflection of the person making them. Point of fact for me…I sometimes have gotten a few nasty comments from people I don’t know on my FB page. I can always tell as soon as I read their comments that it is a reflection of something they are going through and has no bearing on my life what so ever. Delete. Do not engage. I know it’s difficult, I AM A SCORPIO. Trust me. However, I say a few nice things under my breath about how difficult it must be to carry so much judgement, hate, and malice and I really hope they think about how it would feel if they were being open, honest and vulnerable to sayyyy 100,000 people, and I let it go.
Remind yourself to do a mental check-in on how you are feeling during the day and if a friend is having a particularly rough week, try to be gentle. No, it’s not easy. Will it be worth it? I think so. Chances are, whatever is coming up for them feels awful, and they will notice it as well. Re-direct on what is going right for them this week, or how great they look in the color whatever…and know that they are sometimes in the ego, and not in the heart.
It takes a long time and many hours to re-direct and shift our thoughts away from tearing each other down, or ourselves down, but it can be done and more meaningful friendships can be born out of this soul-searching experience.