Monday, June 13, 2011

The Flavor of Flaws

When I talk to someone about being a Whimsical Sol, I often ask them a simple question.  What are the first 3 words that you would use to describe yourself?  Oh, and remember, they must be positive.  Try doing that with your group of friends and really listen to their responses.  How long was there dead silence before they started sharing?  How many of them laughed and joked about it?  Were they even able to think of 3 words without any coaching?

Now try asking your friends to name a flaw.  Have you ever been with a group of girlfriends and one of them shares a flaw?  It starts with a simple comment like, "Your hair looks so pretty today."   The other friend's response is, "Look at my roots!  I can't believe how gray my hair is getting.  Thank God for Kathy, my colorist!"  Then the conversation really takes off.  Everyone seems to chime in on their early gray hairs, their wild gray hairs and even the graying down below. Next they are talking about how their hair is too curly, too straight, too fine, too flat or hair showing up in places that it should just never be. As your girlfriends take turns sharing their graying fears and awful hair experiences, they share the solutions.  Soon you know way more about hair color processes and are trying to decide if you should try Brown Betty or just get a Brazilian.  Before long, everyone has shared something about the gray, wrinkled and hairy mess that they are or will soon become.  You all agree that these changes suck and you are going to fight them.

When someone says they like your toenail polish, how do you reply?  Most often I hear, "Oh, thanks, but it is so chipped up.  I really need a pedicure, my feet are so rough and gross."   The conversation goes from complaining to comparing nail salons in the area.

Have you ever had a girlfriend compliment your outfit and before you could say thank you, she was saying how that would never look good on her?  Her butt is too big or she says she has a poochy tummy or worse yet, she said she has a gunt.  (That's an offensive word I have heard too much lately and I find it disturbing.)

Another favorite topic is breast size...or location?  It begins with my boobs are too big, small, saggy, whatever.  Even the women with implants complain about the placement, size or complications.  No one ever seems to say, my breasts are perfect and perky.  Even if they are, I have yet to hear any woman say that.

Do you see what happens?  Girlfriends bond over their flaws.  When someone opens up and shares a flaw, it eases the other girlfriends' insecurities.  They can listen, learn and relate to you.  It's a way of mirroring.  They can see themselves in you, because so few women see themselves as perfect.

Our flaws seem to give our personalities a little flavor.  They make us real and approachable.  Since we are not busy intimidating one another, we are able to relate and eventually lead to having a real conversation.  We just need to remember that if we focus too much on our flaws, the flavor turns sour and overpoweringly bitter.

The best part of lightly flavoring our conversations with our flaws is that our girlfriends counter with what is real.  They share what they admire and love about us.  That's what we need to hear.  That is what we need to hear from ourselves. 

How about if we start focusing on just 3 positive words about ourselves?  Don't worry, it won't make you arrogant or unapproachable.  Your girlfriends will still love you,  if you love yourself.  Elevate your conversations.  It is contagious.

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