Have you seen the latest Dove campaign? I do love Dove and their ‘real beauty’ ethos (you can see an inspiring video of their latest campaign here), and their newest project is no less inspiring. It’s all about how we focus on the negatives in ourselves, and don’t recognise what others see.
It was brought home to me last night when I was chatting to an old friend. We were just whittering away, as you do (I know, me – whittering. Shocker.), and I admitted that I frequently stood in the playground, eyeing up the other Mums, contemplating going over to these women I don’t know and striking up a conversation. Asking them for lessons in HOW they do it.
How do they keep their hair so shiny and well-cut?
Their figures so slim?
Their clothes so neatly pressed?
Their children so beautifully turned out?
I also know by looking at them that their houses are clean and tidy.
They have ‘that’ smell as you walk in the door that says ‘this house is clean and well looked after’.
I know that they’ll never forget a non-uniform day, the money for a school trip, or their child’s swimming kit.
They’ll never be rummaging in a pile of papers at 9 in the evening trying to find a bill that MUST be paid 3 days ago.
They’ll never be scrubbing yesterday’s yoghurt off the school jumper at 7 in the morning.
How do they do that?
Honestly – please will someone come and teach me to be that person?
My friend started laughing – but as I continued, she grew silent on me.
Eventually I trailed off, wondering if she was even listening to my heartfelt outpouring.
“Are you serious? REALLY?
Flip it around – what do those women think when they see you?
You think they see some overweight slacker who never gets anything quite right?
They see a woman who successfully holds down three jobs but still has a marriage people envy, is doing an incredible job of raising four smart, independent, bright and funny children, and has a home that people just feel at home in too.
So, you don’t get the laundry done all the time. So you may not wash your hair every day. So you may not be a size 12.
You think people care? Anyone who judges you on those things quite frankly doesn’t have a judgement worth respecting. Get a grip, you fuckwit. Go do something badly and make the rest of us feel better. Even when you get stuff wrong you make it okay by laughing at it, shrugging it off and bowling on. You’re so strong and ambitious and cheerful and every day I wish I was more like you.”
This woman is someone I have been friends with a very long time. There are few people who know me better. And she’s one of the ones at the back of my brain that I wish would come and teach me to be more like a grown up.
We laughed it off, batted some more insults across at each other, and hung up.
But it stayed with me long after the line went dead – and I was reminded of the Dove campaign I linked to above.
Blatantly, I am obviously NOT the paragon of amazingness that she reeled off. But actually, I’m not so shabby at life either.
It’s bloody hard seeing the good stuff, though, isn’t it?