getting rid of the negative.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


don't we all deal with self-confidence issues? start marking a mindful effort to get rid of the negative in your life. brandi and i teamed up to share some tips.

1. unsubscribe from fashion/celebrity magazines. no one looks that good without photoshop and a personal trainer. if unsubscribing from your celebrity gossip seems like punishment, at least remind yourself of that fact.

2. when it comes to blogging, no one lives a perfectly styled life. it's important to keep in mind that a blog reads like a magazine. who wants to look at an ugly photo? bloggers are purposefully putting their best face forward. myself included.

3. do you have the type of friend who would complain if they won the lottery? here's a gentle reminder.....

"megan, i very much enjoy our conversations but your defeatist attitude leaves me feeling negative. perhaps we can focus on the positive things that have happened this week?"

if a few gentle reminders don't work, it's time to give megan the boot. life is too short to hang out with people you don't like.

4. bummed you can't afford anything in the jcrew spring catalog? toss it in the recycle the second it leaves your mailbox. your closet is pretty awesome the way it is.

brandi has some good advice.....

"i swore off fashion magazines during my first year of college. i noticed my perception of myself changed when i looked at these magazines. it's easy to spend our time comparing ourselves to other people, to their lives, finding places where we're lacking. but we need to let it go. embrace our beauty, our imperfections, our dreams and not someone else's. they make us unique."

how do you get rid of the negative?

ps: the truth behind the picture.

46 comments:

Emily said...

You're both so right. My mother gave me good advice a few years ago when she saw me fussing in the mirror. She said "You need to be kind to yourself." Such good advice to just go easy on myself and remind myself I'm alright just the way I am! I also find if I'm feeling grumpy about my appearance it's usually because I've been eating junk. It's easy to feel like junk if you fill your body with junk!
Great collaboration girls!

rebecca said...

emily-
junk food is a great addition.

Kathy said...

AMEN!!

sheri said...

Love the message. I have a 20 year old daughter who's a fashion merch major - so you can imagine the imagery she's subjected to. There's such a narrowly defined "ideal" of beauty, which doesn't leave room for much self-confidence if you're at all unsure of yourself. For me? I get rid of idle time. The more I'm enagaged with things I love to do (and am GOOD at), the less time to be staring at the world and envying what everyone else is doing. Thanks for writing this!

nikkijoy said...

Great post. A friend of mine recently was saying to me that she started consciously spending her money on things that made her smile instead of things that made her "prettier" ... because a smile is prettier than any new wardrobe addition =)

Lottie said...

I am giving up self doubt for lent so hopefully that will mean I will stop being so harsh on my appearance and myself in general.

And that video is creepy but eye opening--I am surprised the models can even recognise themselves.

rebecca said...

nikkijoy and sheri-
i love your tips.

lottie-
yes! the video creeps me out.

Mary said...

Great post. I gave up women's magazines a long time ago and have been only the better for it. I also try to eliminate catalogs from coming to the house so I don't see things I might want but don't need. (I say try, because damned if they don't figure out I cancelled and start me up again!) I stay out of stores unless necessary. And....I'm one of those pessimistic people, I'm afraid, but I work tirelessly not to be. My blog is a big part of the how. I write about what I'm grateful for. My outlook has become so much more optimistic as a result.

Katie said...

Yep yep yep. In the same vein as unsubscribing from magazines, I've unfollowed Twitter users and unsubscribed from blogs that made me feel like I needed more/new clothes or that my life was somehow dull. Very important to be aware of this stuff.

rebecca said...

katie-
i've done the same with twitter/blogs. :)

Trucking Tumbleweed said...

I don't look in the mirror for any longer than it takes to check for boogies in my nose or broccoli in my teeth.

Susan said...

Great advice ladies, and I agree 100% with it all!

Kim said...

I love this post. It's easy to think that everyone leads a perfectly-styled life except you, but it's not realistic. I struggle with getting rid of the negative, but the advice here is great motivation to ramp up my efforts.

the sassy kathy said...

well said ladies! :)

Ashley said...

I've never seen that video before. I like. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I try to purposely point out my faults and messes on my blog, it's actually made me feel better about accepting them because we all know- they will never go away.
Ps I really like your haircut and wish I had the guts to chop mine off.

rebecca said...

ashley-
i'm actually growing it out! i just needed a quick evening out from my grown out bangs.

la domestique said...

Love this post! I like how Lottie in the comments is giving up self doubt for lent- great idea! When I'm feeling negative, it's tempting to go shopping and buy something that I think will make me feel better. That's another mindset fashion magazines can perpetuate. Instead, I decide to make something, because having things does not make you awesome, but creating things is positive and self-affirming. Whether it's developing a new recipe, shooting some photographs, or writing creatively, these actions all promote positivity.

dreamday said...

rebecca i am so grateful for this post. it speaks to so many things i've been thinking about. love the comment about buying things that make you smile instead of focusing on what makes you "prettier". happy people who are comfortable in their own skin shine no matter what they are wearing!

Lisa - The WagonMaster said...

As a self-concious and awkward teen (weren't we all?), my mom gave me great advice to refocus me. She would always tell me that I could spend as much time as I wanted getting ready in the morning, and primping in the mirror, but that as soon as I left the house for the day I shouldn't think about myself anymore. The focus goes to those around me and how I can help them.

Patrice said...

I grew up being one of the only Asian-American kids in my school and faced quite a bit of bullying in my formative years. Being raised in the Catholic faith, my parents always told me that we are all made in the image of God, and if He loves me enough to have created me in His likeness, nothing else matters. When I feel really down and out, I try to remember that beauty doesn't make the world go 'round-love does. Love for ourselves and love for others.

Also, Lottie's comment is awesome. How appropriate today!

jen said...

My sister-in-law and I were just talking about this over the weekend (blogs being viewed as "real life" when it's really the best face forward kind of thing). I have never subscribed to fashion magazines but found that even subscribing to fitness magazines puts an unrealistic ideal in your brain. So now I just focus on keeping up with my exercise routines, eating right and wearing what fits my budget. I feel strong and confident and work hard not to compare myself to others. It definitely takes effort to think this way. Hopefully one day it will be like a second nature.
As for getting rid of toxic people, that's hard to do but you feel SO much better. When we moved a few hours away from our group of friends this summer, I took that opportunity to stop staying in contact with the pessimists and negative people. I know you can't always just move! So I'm trying to be very careful about who I hang around with. If they don't inspire me to be better and more positive, our friendship isn't going anywhere.
Great post!

Meagan Murtagh said...

a nice bottle of vino usually does the trick.

xo the egg out west.

Atsuko said...

Great post. It is not fun to compare yourself with others. I totally agree with every advice, especially #3. I should not be with someone I am putting fake smiles on my face. One thing I did on New Year was to cancel Facebook since people were positing complains and jealous. Oh and yes I stopped buying gossip magazines and stopped watching entertainment news on tv. Keep it real:)
P.S. I love your shoes. They are very nice colors.

jenessa! said...

this post is really wonderful and such a good reminder that it's important for women to love themselves. let's face it! women are smart, beautiful, hardworking and creative. we know how to rock a business meeting and how to sing until birds land on our fingers (ha). one thing i find about myself is that i let work define me to the point that if i make a mistake at work, it makes me feel bad about myself as a person. my husband and my sisters are good at reminding me that i'm not my job. i'm me! i try to brush my shoulders off when i leave the office, and sometimes doing air punches and kicks really relieves the tension.

Lena at A Crimson Kiss said...

It took me a long time to figure out how to keep negativity out, but these are such wonderful suggestions!

Emily said...

I think it is so important to remind yourself that you don't have to fall victim to the rest of the world. That your life is what you make it not what others see. So if something makes you unhappy don't do it. Thanks for reminding me to think of that.

Lauren said...

What a wonderful and thoughtful post. A girlfriend and I used to joke (when we were in high school), "If I'm not going to be hard on myself, who will???" But I've been in a particularly hard-on-myself place lately, and you've reminded me to step away from that. And I love nikijoy's idea! Totally going for that!

Kayla Poole said...

Dude, you're so spot on. I already commented on Brandi's post regarding a comment a reader made in my post today about Adele on the cover of Vogue this month (so photoshopped--so sad!). It's really ridiculous when you think about it. I exclusively stopped reading celebrity trashy 'zines and physically twitch when I watch E! News or hang out for too long anywhere around people in the PR industry. I know that sounds terrible, but I used to intern at a famous Entertainment PR firm in college and it was one of the scariest/most eye-opening experiences of my life. I'll take my quiet & unheralded life any day, if only for the peace of mind that I lived simply and authentically, surrounded by people I love, and not defined by the media, money or societal expectations.

Kayla Poole said...

p.s. beautiful photo of you!

Lucent Imagery said...

I love when universal issues are brought up like this. I think all yours and Brandi's points are fantastic. It's funny how timely it is. I have been drafting some thoughts up behind the scenes about similar things and haven't published them yet. Great post!

skim said...

We are always the most critical when it comes to ourselves, aren't we? Being an avid consumer of media combined with the grooming that comes from being raised in a Korean household created a lot of cognitive dissonance for me growing up. I was raised in Midwest suburbia so in comparing myself to my peers it would always be a losing battle. The majority of the faces around me in school and the community were overwhelmingly white. The images in magazines and on the television and in the movies were mainly white. And TALL, which of course I am not. So it was more than just my body but my face, you know? That's something that I could never change. Thankfully, my parents made a point to be actively involved in the Korean-American community so I wasn't cut off from being in a group of people who looked like me. However, body image and comparing oneself to other people and their lives is something that everyone does, regardless of race. This is going to sound ridiculous but what really helped me what getting physically active. My parents never let me participate in sports and I always had considered myself unathletic and uncoordinated but in college and now, as a thirty-something adult, I've come to really be proud of my body and of what I know it can do. It's been very good for gaining confidence and accepting my body for what it is.

As far as taking the negative elements out of my life, that took a little longer to figure out but like you I now recognize if there is a potentially toxic relationship in my life and I've learned to phase those people out. It was hard for me initially because I always felt that I should make my best effort with all friendships and relationships. Once I recognized how those people were feeding my insecurities and how terrible they would make me feel about myself walking away was easy. And liberating! I'm really glad you two did this post. I've been thinking a lot about focusing and cultivating the good in my life since the start of this new year. This was a very timely post for me.

Thanks Rebecca. (Also, sorry for the book long comment.)

Chessa! said...

These are SUCH important reminders.

It is so easy to get bogged down with negativity. I really believe that you have to surround yourself by good people and you have to remind yourself of all of the things that are amazing about your life and about yourself. It's not narcissistic. Unfortunately I'm the kind of person who tends to focus on the things that I should be doing and the reasons why something isn't (or I'm) not good enough. Somehow there's always a failure for every triumph (in my eyes). So it helps me to just visualize good things and positive things. And I work really hard at it bc I don't want my daughter to see that behavior from me. It makes me so sad to think that she would ever be so tough on herself.

As far as surrounding yourself by good people -- I actually ended a terribly toxic "friendship" years ago and when it ended it was like a cloud had been lifted. I didn't even try to phase it out...I just said "I can't be your friend anymore"--I definitely mourned the friendship but it had just gotten to the point where it was unhealthy to be around this person. You just have to cut that stuff out of your life. It sounds harsh but it's true.

Sydney said...

Amen sister.

MeganPena said...

lovely advice! I love reminding myself of this sometimes. This Lent (Catholic school teacher!) I am giving up facebook in an attempt to wipe out some of the negativity...so far its been rather blissful!
Thanks and love your work.
Check out mine sometime if you are able.
Megan
www.artbymegan.com

Franka said...

Wonderful tips, which are absolutely right.

Have a great weekend!
♥ Franka

ASR said...

I recently asked my husband if there was anything I could do to my appearance that would please him more and he said " just smile more."

Laicie said...

I love this -- we all need a little more of this in our lives!

(also I love the comment above mine... what a sweet guy)

kylie said...

Love your post. It's exactly what I needed right now, so thank you. I find if I don't make comparisons, but just be, I'm perfectly happy... why do we focus so much on what others do or have? Human nature? I don't know, but I'm trying to stop.

On FB... I was going to close down my account as I find a lot of folks do just use it as a place to complain and rant about things, but then I remembered all the lovely photos from family and friends that I've been able to connect with {that make me smile} and have left it.

Rik said...

Ditto to the ladies who unsubscribe from blogs, too. Blarrrrg, I get so frustrated with myself after spending too much time on the internet. So I've given up that, too, quite a bit. The internet sucks me in and is a huge addiction for me. Or can be. The more I'm online, the more negative I am about myself, my home, my talents, etc. So. I've been doing a lot of dancing with my baby (who looks so funny and cool "dancing" with me in his sunglasses) and trying to create more. I also got my piano tuned - that helps me feel so happy.

I'm Pam said...

keeping it short...this was a great post that made me think. thank you!

Johanna said...

Great post. I stopped reading celeb mags and websites, too. Somehow I feel less dirty.

Britta said...

Trying to catch up on blog reading and loved this post. Glad I didn't skip it. Add to that list Pinterest, but I've tried to use the approach for it to improve my life in subtle ways...not to compare or to put a damper on those things I don't have.

leavesofgrass said...

this was so nice to read! (and hopefully implement in my life). thanks!

Anonymous said...

Yup, i hate Vogue magazine. They are always fawning over some rich person's grown-up daughter. They had their lifetime to build up a closet on mom and dad's credit card and model mom's clothes. Vogue/fashion editors/writers used to look normal in the 90's but now they are all wanna be anorexic socialites marrying a "financier".

Anonymous said...

But I'd like to ask where you get your shoes in the picture above after all!

rebecca said...

anon-
cole haan, but several years ago!

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