Up until recently I checked out everyone who followed me on Twitter to see if I wanted to follow them back. Most of the profiles on Twitter are about as dull as waiting for your computer to boot up in the morning, but one of them caught my eye.
“Overweight petite body-builder” it started, which intrigued me right away. Not because I have any interest in body-building because, unless you count my morning toning sessions with a pair of 2kg dumb-bells, I have no interest in it at all. What intrigued me was the honesty, the brave sharing of her flaws, the obvious authenticity behind it and the contradictions in those three words. I wondered how an overweight person could be petite or a body builder and had to find out more.
Unlike most of the profiles on Twitter this one told the tale of a real person, an interesting person and a person with flaws just like me. Here was someone I could relate to. Someone who wasn’t afraid to be honest and admit her flaws but was also trying to improve herself.
In the past I’ve feared being judged and disliked because I’m too thin or fat, have a funny accent, am shy, work from home, have a messy house or just don’t fit in with most people. At some point you have to let go and accept that not everyone will like you no matter what you do or how much you try to fit in and that really it’s their loss.
For a long time I lived with that fear of judgement. In everything I did I was consciously worrying about what other people would think about it or trying to hide the truth about me from them.
That was mainly because I worked from and lived on an island in New Zealand with a reputation for being populated by weirdos and hippies but tried to keep it hidden from my prospective clients because I knew they’d never use my services if they found out I worked from home and where my home was. I also pretended to be happy, when I was depressed and pretended to be outgoing when I was shy.
In the end all this hiding who I really was made me unhappier than I had ever been before. The disconnect between what I was actually feeling and doing and the front I presented to the world made me feel stressed out and lonely.
When I realised the cause of my stress and loneliness I stopped doing it and started letting people see the real me. My confidence and self esteem grew and my happiness levels soared as I realised that it wasn’t me that was the problem, it was other peoples’ attitudes.
Some people are friendly, open-minded and non-judgemental and some are not. People will accept you or not depending on their values not yours but the longer they know you and the more flaws they discover about you the more they’ll like you.
We all have flaws
Here’s an example. Reading the official line about celebrities or watching them be interviewed is boring. Their perfect hair, skin, clothes and well practised words can’t hold anyone’s attention for long. But, when people write about celebrity philandering (Tiger Woods), mental health problems (Britney Spears) or yo-yoing weight battles (Oprah) that’s when the celebs start to get interesting. When we realise stars aren’t the perfect individuals they seem to be in the movies and posters, that’s when we like them more.
We’re all contradictory and flawed but that’s what makes us interesting. To learn to love yourself you need to celebrate your contradictions and flaws, not hide them. Go on, I dare you to try it and see what I mean. Intuitively you think admitting your flaws will turn people off you but actually it draws them in.
Oh and if you decide to check me out on Twitter, I apologise. My Twitter profile is deathly dull but I’m sure you won’t hold that against me, it’s just one of my many flaws and imperfections.