A few days ago we were hit with a blizzard. In the past, I would have never went out and ran in the wind and snow, but over the past year I have made a commitment to myself to stop with the excuses, set the example for my kids and just get it done. Thanks to some motivating friends and a great community of amazing women I follow on Instagram I felt inspired to get out there. So out I went and was pretty darn proud of myself.
The first day I just ran up and down the same street not knowing what the conditions were around me. But the second day I ventured out…loving the sound of the snow crunching under my feet (and the occasional snow blower). I would guess that about 90% of the people I saw were men. There were a few kids sledding and a handful of women shoveling.
As I ran by, most men waved or said good morning. I was also told, “god bless you!” “now that’s determination!” and was given a few thumbs up. It felt nice, although I wasn’t out there to be told I was doing something great.
But then it happened. Only one woman felt the need to say something to me. And that was the comment that hit hard. She stopped shoveling and stared at me as I ran by and asked, “Is that really necessary?”. I almost stopped. I almost snapped back and asked her if her comment was necessary. I almost let myself feel bad. But I didn’t. I kept that one on her.
But why? Why not just ignore me if I was upsetting you that much? Why was I even worth commenting at? I just don’t get it. But what maybe made me even more proud of myself than the fact I got out there was that I just let her comment go. For years I would’ve held on to that and allowed her to make me feel like I was doing something wrong. That I was stupid for running that day. That I somehow should be apologizing or feel guilty for being out there. And that makes me sad. Sad I wasted all that time not letting it go and using it as fuel to work even harder.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with self confidence. Let’s face it, girls can be pretty mean sometimes and for whatever reason we don’t always tell each other how amazing we really are. It seems as though girls are taught to compete with each other instead of work together or build each other up. It’s taken me 37 years to fully wake up and realize that it’s okay to walk away from those who make you feel less than what you should, and that if someone is making you feel that way it is most likely an insecurity or issue within them, NOT YOU.
As a mother to a young girl, I’m sure I have been more sensitive to what other women say to me since Ava was born. I’ve made a huge effort to make sure she understands that she is amazing and not to take what others say to heart. It’s as simple as when someone pays you a compliment just saying “thank you”. Why do we feel the need to act undeserving of someone who is actually being nice? Why if someone tells us something simple like “your hair looks great” do we say something like “oh really? I need a trim badly” instead of “thank you”. We are so used to hearing something negative we can hardly even take a simple compliment. And this needs to change. For me to help Ava understand, I have to keep making an effort to change myself. To be aware of how I say things and make sure I am making other women feel good about their choices and not guilty. I know I am not perfect in doing this but I will continue to try. We owe it not only to ourselves, but to those little girls who look up to us. They deserve that and so do we.