I want to share with you a short story about confidence. Whoever told us that it’s not OK to love ourselves? We’ve had it hammered into us from such an early age (well I have) there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance.
Last week, a friend came around for dinner. She’s not long been out of a long-term relationship, she’s living on her own, has a good job, good friends, a good heart and will have you in stitches before you’ve even greeted her with a hug. Throughout the evening she told me she smoked too much, hated her clothes, she’d put on weight, she wished she was in a different job.
After chatting things through I asked her to tell me two positives about herself… she couldn’t! I sat in silence for what felt like forever whilst she racked her brains, finally we started to get somewhere… ‘I think I’m a good friend.’ Fair point, I think she’s a good friend too. What else?
I shout up to my other friend at the top of the stairs ‘tell me two positives about yourself’. This was followed by a long silence, maybe she hadn’t heard me? Just before I shouted again (even louder) I hear ‘am I allowed to say I like my hair?’.
Who can blame us? After all we’re living in a world that can’t help itself but to fat shame, skinny shame, not wearing a bra to the shop shame.
I can confirm — it’s ok to love yourself. It’s more than ok, it’s powerful! And, you don’t have to work a 60-hour week or eat a kale, matcha mocha every morning to be worthy of that love.
So, back to you. Can you think of two positives about yourself? What makes you stand out? Write these down and keep them somewhere close by. When your friends struggle to find their own positives, let’s be there to remind them.
Jenna O’Keefe is a planner at GOOD, but is also the author of @positivityproject_uk and this is why she started it: All my life I’ve been branded as ‘confident’. I grew up with three big brothers and sold windows and conservatories with my Mum at just 13, so on reflection I don’t think I ever really had a choice. When I left University and got my first ‘adult’ job at 21 things started to feel very different. Every morning I woke up with an indescribable fear of how I’d travel to work without having a panic attack. Mental Health just wasn’t talked about, I felt really isolated and ashamed. I remember I went to the doctor who immediately signed off with stress and anxiety, but I was too terrified to take the note into work so I screwed it up and never told anyone. It was incredibly difficult for me to admit to myself I was struggling. Three years later I decided I wanted to turn my journey into something positive (all those panic attacks can’t have been for nothing, right?). So, I started my Instagram page The Positivity Project, with the hope that if I can make just one person feel a little better and a little more confident then it had all been worth it. My page started a wonderful community that’s had attention from all over the world. A message I’ll never forget was a message from a girl in Ireland who said she looks out for my posts each morning, because they made her feel like she could take on the day. It’s messages like that that keep me posting and sharing, because you just never know who you’re helping.