For International Women’s Day last year, I wrote a post about my twelve favourite women. Some of those women are no longer in my life so I considered writing a up-to-date one but then, I thought that it might be nice to write something a little different this year. After all, I sing the praises of my favourites so often that I don’t think there are any words left in the world that I haven’t used, to describe and thank them.
So, this year I wanted to focus on some of the ways that people – though women are the focus today - can support one another:
1. No pressure
With social media being everywhere at the moment, it’s become a very influential platform and the old saying of ‘sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me’ is becoming less and less true. We’re always inundated with criticisms and the goals for weight, style, health, relationships, etc. are constantly changing. Just when you think you’ve achieved something, it seems that there’s someone there to better it and leave you feeling inferior and insufficient. I think that one of the greatest awareness’s you can gain in life is the insight that there’s consequences for your words and actions. But there needs to be a balance between pressuring a person into being someone they’re not and encouraging a person to grow, develop and take on new challenges.
I believe that you can offer someone genuine, support but it not be unconditional. I think that the thing that makes the support unconditional is the relationship. Could you truly support a complete stranger no matter what they said or did?! I think that this, unconditional support, only really comes to those we love; family, friends, partners… Just knowing you have at least one person in your life who supports you unconditionally, can be hugely comforting and reassuring.
3. Credit where credit’s due
I truly think that these days, people are too quick to criticize and judge others; so, a bit of praise and a compliment can go a long way. It’s important to speak up when you feel offended or upset by someone, but it’s equally important to tell someone when they’ve helped you, or when you’re proud of something they’ve done. Not everyone can recognize their own skills and achievements so having another person do this and remind you of them, can be a huge boost in confidence.
I find honesty is a lot more respected these days, especially where someone speaks out about their mental health. It’s a difficult one because there’s always a fear of retribution, judgement, trolling and criticism when sharing your experiences or opinions; and sometimes that fear prevents people from speaking honestly and openly about important issues in life. But being honest with one another creates a trusting relationship that allows the opportunity to seek advice and support.
In mental health especially, there are so many negative influences out there and it’s very sad to say that some of those, are actually people. There are people out there who promote self-harm and encourage others to use it as a coping strategy which – I think – is quite obviously, the exact opposite of what we need to be doing. Instead, we should inspire others to take on new challenges, face fears, recognize skills, make achievements, accept themselves, use safe coping skills, be healthy, laugh, love, live.