Due to the nature of my career, I meet hundreds of women each year.
As a sales director with Mary Kay, I am in front of lots and lots of women. Single ones, married ones, ones with kids, ones with dark hair or blue eyes and every woman in between. They come from every economic and social background. They live in huge houses, small houses, clean houses, messy houses. They have six-figure jobs and no jobs. It doesn’t matter who she is or where she comes from…I hear it every.single.time.
“Ugh, these wrinkles are so bad.”
“I’m sorry you have to see me without makeup.”
“I’m so gross.”
“Can I use this serum on my huge thighs?”
“Help me fix this ugly face!”
I can’t even put a number on the amount of times I hear these or similar comments in any given week. In this time of social media and Pinterest and magazines and movies and all the other stuff telling us we aren’t good enough, it’s easy to believe it. And yes, my industry is one of vanity. But I don’t use it to make a sale. I use it as a vehicle to help women be their best self–with or without the newest mascara.
I didn’t always feel this way. When I started 12 years ago, I was driven by the desire to succeed and sell as much product as I could. About seven or eight years ago, I started noticing the pattern of self-deprecating comments. It was driving me insane, and I wondered what I could do to change it.
I’m certainly no psychologist or counselor, but I realized a common factor for many of the women I meet is that they give so much to others, they have little left for themselves. They would never speak to their best friends the way the speak to themselves. They wouldn’t tell their partners they’re gross or tell their children they have ugly faces. So why do we say it to ourselves?
I’m guilty of this sometimes. I find tons of things to compliment about friends’ appearances, like how Autumn’s eye makeup is always on point or how pretty Mandi looked with a different hairstyle the other night. But when Autumn complimented my outfit a few weeks ago, I immediately blocked it with, “Seriously? I don’t know if I like this shirt.”
Now that I’m a mom, I have worn my hair in ponytails more times in the last two years than I’ve done in my entire life. I choose my outfits based on how likely it is my toddler AJ will get food on them. I’m usually in a T-shirt nowadays. I hate T-shirts. And there are lots of times now that I just don’t feel pretty.
But deep down, it doesn’t matter. I know my worth.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you may have heard of the book, “Girl, Wash Your Face.” Author Rachel Hollis identifies the lies we tell ourselves, such as, “I’m not good enough,” “I’m defined by my weight,” and the one I needed most: “I’m not a good mom.” Encouraged by her words and loving her thought process, I took some of my Mary Kay team to see her documentary, “Made for More.”
In the movie, she said that one of her mentors had once explained women in the most profound way. It blew my mind.
Women are like vases. As they’re filled with good stuff–encouragement, compliments, joy, opportunities to recharge–they start tipping themselves to share it with their children, their partner, their boss, their friends. They tip to the side, pouring out the blessings on others and giving it away…and tip so much they fall over. This is often when the self-deprecating starts. “I’m not good enough. I don’t have time for myself. I’m ugly. I’m a bad mom,” and so on. There’s none left for her.
But what if, as a woman receives the good stuff–encouragement, compliments, joy, opportunities to recharge–she keeps it for herself? As a vase fills with water and will eventually overflow, so will a woman who keeps the good stuff for herself. Her family, her job, her house…they’ll all get some of it, too.
Just as what we feed our children shapes their lives, what we feed ourselves has the same effect. What if, just for a week, we stopped the negative self talk? What if, just for one week, we told ourselves what we’d tell a friend? That our eye makeup is amazing and we are worthy? Because I bet there’s at least one thing about each one of you that really is pretty great.
Ladies, you are the glue that holds it all together. Give yourself some grace.
Stop tipping the vase.