Growing up in a culture complete with impossible beauty standards, sexist stereotypes, and a lack of social, economic and legal parity can make self-confidence a challenge. Given that, it's no surprise that women self-criticize eight times a day on average, according to a Weight Watchers survey of 2,000 women. Although perhaps the point of the survey was "lose weight and you won't need to criticize yourself so much" — which is definitely NOT body-positive — it's important to be real about the ways women are taught we're not good enough.
In the survey, the top reasons women criticize themselves are weight, low salaries, and "a lack of creative and organizational skills" says the Daily Express. We apparently start beating ourselves up as early as 9:30 a.m., are for the most part unable to receive compliments, and would rarely give ourselves the compliments that we give to others. Sound familiar?
Although Weight Watchers' small sample shouldn't be used to make sweeping generalizations about all womankind, just living in the world as a lady-identified person with female friends and relatives is enough to realize that self-criticism is kinda the norm. There's no easy fix for this behavior other than therapy and/or life experience, but here are five self-criticisms that I personally would love to leave in the dust of 2015:
1. I'm Not As Hot As __________ (Insert Hot Babe Here)
Comparing yourself to a mega fox female celebrity or your best friend leads nowhere. Isn't hotness in the eye of the beholder anyways? It's tempting to see how you hold up physically against other women, but don't give in to the patriarchal conditioning that aims to pit us against each other or define our worth by how we look.
2. I'd Be Happier If I Was __________
You can just as easily be miserable and fit the societally-prescribed definition of physical perfection (Hello, Marilyn Monroe!). These body-positive activists are perfect role models to inspire you if you find yourself starting to let perceived bodily imperfections define your happiness.
3. I Wish I Didn't Eat All That _________ (Insert Awesome Food Here)
Too bad, you already ate it. Food shaming doesn't help you un-eat whatever it was you feel guilty about, and it doesn't help you make "healthier choices" (whatever that means to you). FYI, it's OK to enjoy yourself and pleasure is good for you, although we're consistently told otherwise.
4. I'm Not Where I Thought I'd Be At _________
You and me both, sister. But since when has anything gone according to plan in life? It's cool to set goals and work hard, but there's no reason to criticize yourself about what you haven't accomplished and there are plenty of highly successful people who did their best work after 30.
5. Everyone's Doing So Much Better Than Me
Social media in particular can create the illusion that your friends and peers are killing it while you wallow in miserable hopelessness. No one ever has their shit together 100 percent of the time, despite how fantastic their life might look from our screens.
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