Recently The Central Nest and Kellie Gibson arranged a screening of the highly informative film ‘Embrace’ in Bathurst. It was an event that was filled with inspiration, motivation and the joy of spending the night with 150 of our closest friends.
After spending a wonderful evening at the Bathurst Embrace screening last week with 150 other local women and “one token dude” I left feeling really empowered and loved the amazing message that the film sent. You know it’s a powerful and hardhitting message when you are left thinking about it for days afterwards, there were so many parts that really stuck with me.
But… I am going to be completely honest here.
When Wednesday rolled around and the cover for Bathurst City Life was released, I took one look at the cover shot, which was a photo of myself and the other ladies who contributed to the event and my initial thoughts were “what a terrible photo of me… I look horrible”, “I didn’t realise I was that big” “look at the bags under my eyes” “how embarrassing” “everyone else looks great but I look terrible”.
Then a massive part of me felt guilty that I was left feeling like that particularly when the event was all about embracing who we are and how we look and promoting positive body image for all. I felt like a fraud that I had been so passionate about this issue that I had brought the Embrace screening to Bathurst and now I was body shaming myself!
I caught up for a cuppa this morning with a friend who was also on the cover and she told me her thoughts upon seeing it and I was shocked to hear that her reaction was pretty much the same, she was so critical of how she looked but thought that the rest of us all looked gorgeous! After a good laugh it led to a chat about why we are so hard on ourselves, how can we be exposed to such a positive message which makes us walk away feeling so great and then have such a negative reaction to the first photo we see of ourselves? How can we change these powerful thoughts and feelings that have been wired into us for so many years? How can we change the culture?
Upon chatting further I told my friend that I can personally remember being told so often in the past that I was pretty or that I was beautiful, that I had a great body, that I looked really fit etc. Looking back, I honestly feel that being told these things so often has devalued in my own mind other important qualities and attributes that I have to offer as a person and when through my own perception (no one else’s) I feel like I don’t have those things then I feel like I am not enough. Don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t love a compliment? We all do! A genuine compliment can really brighten our day. The issue is that all too often compliments are based on aesthetics as opposed to a variety of beautiful qualities that make us truly unique as individuals, all of those things that our family and friends truly love about us! It can be so hard when what is portrayed as normal in magazines and other media is worlds apart from reality.
At the end of our cuppa we decided that the only way we can change this culture and way of thinking is to have more conversations about it! We need to talk about it as a way to constantly remind ourselves that we are so much more than how we look and that our qualities extend far greater than what meets the eye.
As women we need to work towards building ourselves and each other up and getting to know those qualities that make each of us so unique and so special, each and every one of us has so much to offer! It’s going to be a work in progress to change these thought patterns we have developed over time… but collectively lets all continue to try!
On that note I would like to share one particular quote from the film that I absolutely loved and will always remember “It’s a waste of energy that people spend all of that time worrying about how they look as opposed to what they can contribute” – Turia Pitt. Well said Turia, well said!