Today is National Women’s Friendship Day, a day dedicated to honoring the special women in our lives, and celebrating the friendships that exist between us. Overall, as women, I think that we’re incredibly gifted when it comes to friendship. We’re supportive of one another, providing love, encouragement, and acceptance. Case in point: when I look at my friends, I see strong women. I see capable women.  I see beautiful women. I see women traveling and teaching and nursing and coaching and adventuring and volunteering and mothering and doing a thousand amazing things. When I think of my friends, not once am I concerned about their weight, their eating habits, or their past mistakes.

But I’m not so kind to myself, and I know I am not alone in this hypocrisy. When I think about myself, I’m overwhelming critical, and the negative self-talk I catch myself engaging in is really nasty; I say things to myself that I would never dream of saying to my friends.  I obsess about my double-chin. I beat myself up when I eat cookies instead of carrots. I constantly doubt my decisions and second-guess myself and worry about whether or not my judgment has been sound.

I accept my friends and love them unconditionally, so why can’t I extend that same love and encouragement to myself?  I’m dedicating this National Women’s Friendship Day to being a better friend to myself, as silly as that might sound, and I challenge you to do the same because I want to change the fact that it is so much easier to be kind and a good friend to others, than it is to be kind and a good friend to ourselves. I know that this task is anything but easy, so I’ve rounded up ten women who are sharing a glimpse into their own journeys using the #selfacceptance hashtag on Instagram. Let them remind you that, today and everyday,  you deserve the love, encouragement, and acceptance that you so readily give to others.

1. From a_body_well_fed

“I am tired, I am a new mum, I have a recovery body that still has weight gain . . .  I will be just as imperfect at any weight, I will still be me. Flawed, and real.”

2. From intertwinedbybella

“I think it’s easy to look at someone else’s life and think that they have it all together, but we all have struggles and fears and insecurities. . .The journey towards self acceptance and love can be long and winding for some of us, but if you haven’t told yourself yet today, let me be the one to let you know that you are worthy of love. Especially your own”

3. From elizabeth_.e

“Healthy comes in many shapes and sizes. Feeling beautiful is NOT about being a certain size or fitting in the skinniest of skinny jeans! Feeling beautiful is DIRECTLY related to feeling healthy. 💙 In this season I am focusing on SELF LOVE, building CONFIDENCE and making sure my cup is OVERFLOWING!”

4. From iamsamdarby

“How do you talk about people and their bodies in front of your kids? How do you talk about your own body? 💕. . .  show children that they can be loved no matter what their bodies look like. Show them their body shape has no bearing on them as a person. Set the example that all bodies deserve respect, to be loved, to be valued.”

5. From reinadea_

“Take it or leave it; flaws and all”

6. From biggirlfitgirl

“How come when we see squishy babies with their rolls and butt dimples they are the cutest things ever and we just want to eat them up, but then as adults we dislike those things about ourselves? Like, when does it go from the most adorable thing ever to something we dislike or even hate about ourselves?”

7. From rachau

“Why do we feel the need to knock ourselves down when others try to build us up? . . Instead of picking apart things that I’m insecure about or things I think need work, I will find things I love about myself and I will make them known. ⁣”

8. From jade.elouise

“I don’t look at my body and feel hate any more, I look at myself and my soul sees it’s home.”

9. From lannahussain

“I’m done with the expectations of my size, shape, colour, age, ethnicity… I am me. Big, lumpy, curved bits and all.”

10. From kaye_namba

“I can still accept and love mySelf even through my anxiety. I can honor this part of the journey by acknowledging my fear. I can draw strength in by allowing the jitters to be here with me.”

Kirsten Clark is a high school English and Social Studies teacher, a reader, a runner, a writer, a lover of good food, and most importantly, a new mom. Kirsten lives in Vermilion, Alberta with her husband, and since welcoming a baby boy last December, she is embracing the new adventure of motherhood with all of its ups and downs. She occasionally blogs at shelooksforadventure.com, and posts regularly on Instagram @kirstenlanae. Find her on Twitter also.

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