Last Monday I created and launched a project that I am incredibly proud of. It’s something that has made everything seem worth it, and I can already see the good that it’s done. But mostly, I’ve seen how much it is greatly needed.
The Babe Collective is a space created for women to express themselves and celebrate their awesome.
In a week and a half, I’ve collected nearly 800 babes who, despite not always feeling the most confident, most interesting, most amazing people (even though they all are) are able to find the good in themselves, and share it in this safe space, and it’s so amazing. These women are all strong, all beautiful, fascinating, intelligent, generous, inspiring, wonderful people – my hope is that this space starts to show them all of these things and more, and it feels like, for the most part, it’s working, with regular themes and strategies to actively practice their self-love.
I know what it’s like to have low self-esteem and low self-worth. To feel like I am not enough, I’m not valued and not worthy of the love that others are. I used to compare myself to others and work myself into a hair-pulling, screaming, crying, frenzy of stress and anxiety because I was convinced that I had to impress people, and the stress of doing so was crippling me. I spiralled into anxiety, depression and insomnia because my head preferred to tell me every little thing that was wrong with me, over and over again. I had to dig really deep and make the conscious decision to find all that stuff within me, because all that crap, those negative thoughts and anxieties, were killing me!
At one point last year, I remember I kept reading about women in their 40s and 50s saying that now they finally are at a point where they don’t care what other people think, and how liberating that feels. They can do and say whatever they want because they know who they are, they like who they are, and they celebrate who they are. It sounded glorious.
I want THAT! I thought. And why the hell should I have to wait another 10 or 20 years to find it?!
And really, why should we?
Why can’t we love who we are right now?
There truly is no reason why we can’t love ourselves and celebrate ourselves today.
So that is what I did. And let me tell you, it is fucking fabulous.
We grow up being taught that celebrating our successes, our looks and our happiness is shameful. Why? Why is it so bad to celebrate our accomplishments? Or have some fun when we look in the mirror and think, ‘dayummm, I look good!’ ?
Big-noting yourself, the tall-poppy syndrome, being vain, selfish, up-yourself – they’re all terms used to make you feel worse about the good in your life in my opinion. And it’s just crap.
Why? Because other people project their own insecurities onto your happiness.
You “make” them feel bad by working your ass off, by feeling confident or having a good day. It brings shit up for them and sometimes, they take that out on you. So you dull your sparkle. You grow your poppy at the same damn conservative height as everyone else. You tell yourself you aren’t special. All for the benefit of someone else. It’s belittling and can cause a lot of damage if you’re constantly downplaying your awesome for someone else.
Now, I get it, the last thing you want to do is make anyone feel like crap, right? But I’ll let you in on a secret; if someone gets upset by your happiness (unless said happiness is a bit stabby-stabby/actually hurts people on purpose), that isn’t your fault. It just isn’t. It doesn’t mean that person is evil or wants you to fail, either. It simply means that by you being your fabulous self, you are showing them a part of themselves that might not necessarily working for them right now, which is a hard thing to see. And even harder to recognise. What they do with that information can either be productive or destructive, but even if they try to pull you down with them, it has absolutely nothing to do with you.
You see, part of being in The Babe Collective is introducing yourself to the rest of the group (so we know a bit more about the face and the name that is commenting on our posts). It’s meant to be just a ‘hi, this is me’ kind of post, with an optional photo, that when I first came up with it, I honestly didn’t think too much more of than just that. But since this group has started, I’ve had countless women contacting me because this task I had come up with was paralysing them with fear. They honestly didn’t think that the wonderful person they are was worth that small space on the internet. That they’d look stupid, or boring, or uninteresting, and nowhere near as amazing as the women who had already posted. And it guts me. To me these women are so damn awesome. They’re strong and creative and loving and kind and gorgeous, a lot of them inspiring me in my own life because I’ve had the honour of knowing them personally. But even in a space that I created for them to learn to love themselves, where judgement, bullying and name-calling is forbidden, they still doubt how fucking fabulous they are.
It hurts my heart.
But more than that, it shows me how much a space like The Babe Collective is needed in this world.
When I did manage to build them up enough to post the words that they previously thought wouldn’t be good enough, do you know what happened (every single damn time)? They weren’t just met with acceptance and love; they were met with applause, celebration, admiration and the biggest baben bear-hugs you can imagine. Each and every time the women who showed so much concern with whether or not their story was good enough for the Babes amongst them, they hit a nerve with at least one person, and a connection was made. They were thanked for sharing a part of themselves; for their honesty and their bravery and told exactly how awesome they were for just being themselves. It’s just so bloody awesome!
It’s early days, but I know in my gut that this is going to change the way we talk to and about ourselves, and about other people in our lives, especially women. The energy feels so much different to other social media, and other Babes in the group are so proud to be part of a group that encourages us to lift each other up and feel better about who they are.
I know that honing in on your own special brand of awesome can only bring about great stuff. After all, you can’t fill others with an empty cup. So fill yourself with love, forgiveness, appreciation, understanding, fun, and everything you’d give to someone else in your life, so that you can be the kind and generous soul that you are without draining yourself. And if you don’t know where to start, we’d love for you to join us at The Babe Collective.