Like most busy people, I have a “to-do” list. I have one for this blog, in fact. A list of potential subject headings on things I want to post about. High on this list was something I was struggling to find a heading for….without seeming….well, like a bit of an old trout.
So, what was making me struggle so much to find a snappy headline? Here goes….. Why do all young girls/women look the same? Same hair, same make-up (what is going on with those brows), same clothes. Where has all the individuality gone? At what point did twenty year old hotties become so insecure about their looks that they headed for Botox injections and fillers in their lips? At what point did a rule get passed that you can only pull that silly, pouty duck face in a photo? What messages are we really sending the young women of today around what it takes to live a happy and successful life, whilst being comfortable in our own skin? The wrong ones in my opinion.
However, none of this was helping me find that all important header for my e-rant. And then someone posted this on Instagram……..
GENIUS. (Annoyingly, why didn’t I think of this? )
We absolutely need to embrace our inner Patsy! In a highly edited/filtered and curated (and in my view, false) world, now – more than ever – we really need to celebrate our individuality, stop masking our “flaws” and be our fabulous (darling) selves. So, just what would Patsy do? Here are her top three rules for life.
Rule #1 – You don’t need someone else’s opinion to validate you. Patsy Stone is a ringing endorsement for the power of self-belief. Yes, she’s flawed but that’s kind of why we love her anyway. Can you honestly imagine her asking anyone (other than maybe Edina) for their opinion as to how she looks? No! She simply doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. I’ll bet she stands in front of the mirror in the morning and says “you’re fabulous darling” and then gets on with her day. Her attitude is one of “take me or leave me” (warts and all) and she’s not interested in putting out a carefully edited version of herself; just for validation. What you see, IS what you get.
Let’s just take a second and compare/contrast mind-set with what we so often see today. Matthew Hussey, the dating and relationships guru, does a great synopsis of the truly self absorbed and insecure way some young females behave nowadays. Talking about online dating apps, he describes how many have literally thousands of selfies on their Instagram feed and profile pages, (none of which look like them because they’re so highly edited and filtered) and then obsessively check them for likes/validation. He goes on to describe how they’ll upload a provocative picture, hashtag it with “beauty is on the inside”, “feelingblessed” and “humble” , whilst totally failing to see the complete irony in those statements. Naturally the women in the room (most of all look like they’re over thirty) see how ridiculous this all is and collapse into fits of laughter.
So here’s the deal. What you see on the Kardashians. What you see on people’s Instagram feeds and Pinterest Boards – is an illusion, produced solely for your consumption. It doesn’t exist. It’s a carefully curated and managed image and its sole purpose is to get your validation or to sell you something. That’s not to say it’s bad necessarily but it has to be used in context. Unfortunately, it seems we’ve kinda gotten out of context with it all and are (quite literally) – taking it literally. Patsy knows life is to be LIVED and that means dealing with the good, the bad and not having to edit out the ‘ugly’ bits (why would you, when you can laugh at them later?). So be kind to yourself and focus only on being the bestest, most fabulous version of YOU. Which leads me nicely into our next rule….
Rule #2 – Loosen up – it’s not that serious. For Patsy and Edina, every single day is an adventure. They grab life by the danglies and by god, they have fun. They’re unapologetic, they’re definitely not PC and they don’t care what you think. They’re fearless…..they’re authentic. Now I’m not suggesting for a moment that you steam-roller your way through life and over people; leaving a trail of devastation in your wake. Being authentic isn’t about disregarding everyone else’s feelings or well-being but nor should you pussy-foot around them either. Dropping the pretence and being your true self is freeing, liberating and will allow you to squeeze each precious drop out of life. This is your ride and if other people don’t like it, well they can just get off.
Rule #3 – You can count your true friends on one hand. Or on one finger, in Patsy’s case. We now live in a time where you can buy Instagram followers and people will tell you “I’ve got 1031 friends on Facebook”. Yeah, because those people really are your friends. But over an alarmingly short space of time, we’re becoming programmed to crave validation from people who a: don’t know us or b: only want to know us because we paid them to or they liked a picture we filtered the bejeesus out of. Surely I am not the only one who sees how truly messed up and shallow this rationale is? You simply can’t choose your friends like you would a piece of furniture on the Ikea website.
On the other hand (and for all of her faults), Patsy is fiercely loyal to Edina. These two don’t do anything without one another, they know everything about each other and if they’re pissed off they don’t put an enigmatic meme up on Facebook and then go take a tonne of moody/pouty selfies. No, instead they have a blazing row, trade a few insults, make up and then share a bottle of Bolly. What makes their relationship so special? They communicate. Face to Face. In the Matthew Hussey piece I mentioned in Rule #1, he talks extensively about how people have lost the art of face to face communication; simply because it’s so easy to hide behind a piece of technology, whilst all the time projecting a false image. However extensive your emoji library; nothing can take the place of human to human interaction. Our tone of voice, body language, facial expression and quirks make us the crazy, individual and wonderful MOFO’s that we are. No, not everyone will appreciate your particular brand of individuality….. but that’s just fine – you never needed their approval anyway.
So don’t be a validation junkie, waiting on someone else to give you permission to be fabulous. Be a Patsy. You won’t get more likes but you’ll get more loves.
Last year that was a big thing about the Danish word hygge which describes a particular kind of comfort. The Interweb was awash with pictures of roaring fires, scented candles and squishy sofas. Normally sensible folk ran amok in John Lewis buying cashmere throws and knitted cushions, trying to recreate their own little sense of hygge at home.
Unfortunately, there isn’t such a term for a particular type of selfishness and consequently our associations with the term are generally negative. When I looked for some interesting memes to accompany this article (about selfishness not being a bad thing necessarily) there were none to be found. Quite. Literally. None. Fortunately, I love a challenge and I did find one that expressed perfectly what I am trying to say here:
There is a very good reason why they tell you to fit the oxygen mask to yourself first, isn’t there? In the event of a problem, it means that in looking after yourself first, you are able to help others. However, other than being 30,000 feet up in the air or in the middle of the ocean; in daily life a lot of us grapple with this concept.
As women; I think we particularly struggle with the idea of looking after ourselves before others; especially as parents. How many times have you heard a frustrated female say “he’s just so selfish” about a partner or spouse? Maybe this difference between the sexes (in the sense of putting oneself first) harks way back to when men went out hunting and women were left looking after the family. In order to make sure he brought back food for his tribe, I am quite certain that the accomplished hunter took care of himself (in terms of being fed, rested and watered) before he did anything else. Which actually makes perfect sense: particularly at a time when the roles between the sexes are becoming increasingly blurred. With more and more women now the major breadwinner or going it alone entirely; isn’t it about time we let a little of that prehistoric psyche win through?
But the benefits of being selfish, reach far beyond our ability to put food on the table. Looking after yourself first will also enable you to show up in a friendship, job or relationship as the best version of yourself you can possibly be. If you are emotionally and physically drained because you are constantly putting everyone’s needs before yourself; sooner or later you will be running on fumes and have nothing left to give.
So maybe being selfish isn’t such a bad thing after all, but if you just can’t bring yourself to think of it that way, then call it self-hygge.