As many of you know, it was International Womens Day 2016 on Tuesday 8th March. Many of my blogger friends posted about this, and also what it meant to them.
Others chose to talk about their idols, and their inspirations. These ranged from women who had won the Nobel Peace Prize, to Artists, Writers and even fellow bloggers.
A lot of people went on to talk about family members that inspired them. Their mothers, Aunties, Sisters and Friends. How they had overcome adversity, depression, financial hardship or ill health. How they raised themselves from a poor situation to success.
The overwhelming sentiment that I got from reading all of the stories was not particularly about the things the individual had achieved, (although these were amazing and admirable) but more so the love and passion with which these people talked about their “inspirations”
Far too many times we are quick to pull other females down, to criticise, refuse support or ostracize someone for their look, style, choices and opinions. It is far easier to look down your nose at someone, than it is to praise them.
When I first started wearing big dresses, hair flowers and vintage accessories, I worried that people would laugh and ridicule me. I found, luckily that the exact opposite happened. I literally had strangers stop me in the street, come up to me in shops and even grab my arm as I was getting onto a tube train to tell me that I looked lovely, or that they thought my style was amazing.
Contrary to belief, 95% of these comments came from other women. This was something that I wasn’t used to!
I myself have been subject to catty comments, sniggers, and seen those elbows nudging with a nod of the head towards me. The feeling of insecurity and dread that it causes.
I visited a local supermarket, in a black 40s style dress, kitten heels and a red hair flower, and had a woman give me the dirtiest look ever, and as I turned down into another aisle, say to her husband “Did you see the state of her?”
Now, whilst I can appreciate that she perhaps wasn’t a fan of the style I was rocking, did she really feel the need to belittle me so much? Why is it easier to be negative about someone, that to be nice?
Is it jealousy? Is is bitterness? Is it past behaviours that have been inflicted on them? I certainly don’t have the answers. I wish I did!
For me, I certainly attract more positive attention that I ever did. This has changed me in many ways. It has made me more confident, happy in the style that I have adopted, and comfortable in my own skin. I wear what I like and I drift along in my own little happy bubble, unaware of any negativity.
The biggest impact it has had on me, is how I now behave. When I see a lady who looks great, whether it be her hair, her smile, her dress or even her shoes, I tell her. I smile and compliment her. It was a bit unusual to start off with, however the more I did it, the easier it got.
The surprising response is wonderful too. Give someone a compliment, and their face can light up. They could be having a terrible day, and one sentence from a stranger can turn that day around.
It costs nothing to be nice, to spread a little kindness and to bring a tiny bit of happiness. Giving someone a compliment make you feel great too!
When I have given compliments to people, my smile seems a bit brighter, my soul a little less battered and it makes my day.
Accepting compliments is still something that I need to work on. I don’t think anyone finds it easy to accept them. It’s not the British way. But I am getting better at it.
Which is why I was totally floored by Lottie L’amours IWD2016 post. I knew that Lottie had been planning a post because she had asked for input from her social media followers to join in and tell everyone who their idols and inspirations were. Family members and famous people were mentioned in the post, along with the reasons as to why they were an inspiration.
Then there was this………..
“Other than the obvious nominations for my Mum and Girlfriend, my nomination has to be for Tanya of Secret Plus Size Goddess. She is a fantastic mum, an inspirational blogger and above all, she has been an amazing friend to me. Tanya, you’ve inspired me, supported me and been there for me in my darkest hours. Your story of body positivity fills me with happiness and glee and I never tire of hearing how you turned your body image from negative to down right incredible! Not only all this, but you look CRACKING in a nice lingerie set and I know how inspiring it is for women to see bodies like yours being celebrated. You rock!”
Well, you could have blown me down with a feather! I certainly don’t think of myself as an inspiration, I mean, I am just me?!?! But to have these wonderful words written down by someone I ADMIRE, makes it even more special.
Lottie is an amazing Bo-Po blogger, who is opinionated, honest, caring, and has, above all, integrity. She stands up for her beliefs and rights, and those of others. She is someone that I am honoured to have come to know, and I never knew this is how she felt about me.
Suffice to say, It happened on a day when I was having a pretty tough time. Work, family, finances and learning new skills were kicking my butt. I was very down and despondent, and couldn’t see the positivity in anything (unusual for me, I know)
My positivity was pooped, my smile was sinking and my get up and go had got up and gone far far away.
And then on my lunch break I read Lottie’s Blog, as I always do. With no pre-warning or notice.
I then realised that I should perhaps invest in waterproof mascara. Or hire myself out as a Fat Alice Cooper tribute act.
Those kind words turned my whole day around. Before you wonder, no it’s not a ego boost. I don’t need to get compliments every hour to feel great. But on that day, when I was feeling low and wondering what to do next, those words were exactly what I needed.
Knowing I had touched someone’s life in a positive way felt great. Immediately I started to feel my mood lift. I went home that day different to how I had started the beginning of the day.
We all have stresses and troubles. No-one is expected to be little Mary Sunshine all day, every day. And that is natural and fully acceptable.
But if you can spare a little happiness, share a kind word or thought, then do it. It may just be the one thing that person needed to hear. I know I certainly did.
To finish off, What I am trying to say in my long winded waffling way, is that we are all in this together. Let’s “be nice, play nice, say nice and show nice”
Kindness doesn’t cost anything at all. But could be priceless to that one person who needs it.
Till next time,