Being Me

Tonight I saw a woman at the grocery store whom I hadn’t seen in months. I have missed her very much…she is the parent of a girl who used to be in the same dance class as my daughter, and this woman has given me so much support over time…so much encouragement. She spoke to me tonight as if we’d never been apart, and she remembered everything that had been going on in my life several months ago. I was amazed. Then, before we left, she said, “You look good! You look like you’ve lost weight!”

*sore subject with me*

I shook my head as she hugged me and I replied, “Well, uh…no, I haven’t.” And I sort of…shrugged, I suppose. Then she looked at me and said (in front of my husband, no less): “It’s that self-image thing again, isn’t it? We all need to work on that. You are beautiful. So many women would love to look like you.”

Riiiiight. Oh, sure, I just got a call from Sports Illustrated the other day and they want me for the swimsuit issue…NOT! I think my jaw hit the floor, because I wanted to laugh in her face! :))

But after she walked away, I thought, “You know, my self-image is poor for many reasons. And I wish it wasn’t.”

Growing up, we all hear the things our parents say. Those things affect us. The things our peers say affect us as well. In a nutshell…I didn’t have the most encouraging environment as a whole. :D Never in my life have I thought that I was beautiful. Not even when I was at my thinnest weight in high school. (Even then, I compared myself to my 5’8, no-fat-on-the-body friends and found that I was lacking two inches in height and had about twenty pounds more weight than they did.)

But that’s not the problem that plagues me most. After all, outer beauty is fleeting (unless you have unlimited funds and a top-notch plastic surgeon! Ha!). My problem is that I have trouble seeing my inner beauty. I see the faults that I have, and I face them every single day. I am the one person that I have the most trouble forgiving. (Anybody else out there like me?) When others point out my character flaws, I am quick to agree. They don’t even have to tell me what they are…I can easily make a list. (A friend of mine actually laughed when I told him that, but it’s true. It wouldn’t take me long, because my faults and weaknesses are at the forefront of my mind at all times.) I am a perfectionist, and yet, I think I’m a realist, too. Which pretty much means that it sucks to be me! :)) No, but seriously–having such incredibly high expectations for oneself and yet knowing you can never fully achieve those things because you are a HUMAN BEING is just…well, it stinks.

What I want to know is, when will I see the benefits of being me? It seems that no matter how many talents I have or how I use them, it just isn’t enough. People continue to see the “bad” in me, and I plod down that pathway after them, nodding in agreement all the way. I have been misunderstood my ENTIRE life…and abandonment has been a bosom companion. When will this go away? When will I just learn to accept myself for who I am and begin to see the good in me?

I think that sometimes as women, we are harder on ourselves than we ought to be. I don’t really know why this is the case. If you’re like me at all, then what do you think? What can we do to see ourselves in a more positive light?

And Gretchen, I know you have very little trouble with this. ;) I envy you. :P

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  1. gretchen on March 27, 2007 at 6:42 am

    I wouldn’t say I have “very little” trouble with this – I’m just not as vocal about it as you are. ;) I think a huge part of this is obviously the result of media portrayal of women and how we are “supposed” to look. And it doesn’t help when the guys we love reinforce that image by staring or commenting on how other women look. At least mine does that. 8-| Can’t speak for yours.

    I know you know this part, Kel, but one thing that has helped me is the whole personality “crap” that I study. I no longer feel weird about who I am and why I do things differently or see things differently than other people. That didn’t happen just because I read some book on the subject either. It took a lot of thought and analyzation on my part – but that’s what I like to do anyway. ;)

    As for always seeing the negative, I think we are all guilty of that as well. I can list all of my flaws, too. One is an 11″ scar on my back and the other is that I keep hanging around with you. :d I’m kidding – I have more than two. Ok and I’m kidding about the hanging around with you part. :D My point is that it is always easier to find the negative.

    You will laugh when you read this, too, but I actually have several lists on my palm of positive character traits that I possess and a list of things I have accomplished. I read through those every once in a while and it helps. I also save emails and cards that were particularly complimentary or encouraging for future “pick me up” moments. Some of those are from you. :)

    I don’t have all the answers, but I can say that you ARE beautiful inside and out. You wouldn’t be in my band of you weren’t. ;) I have said before that people are often too quick to pass judgement without taking the time to see things from the other person’s point of view. Most of the time people are not out to offend us, but they do. It’s up to us as individuals to recognize that and try to see where the other person is coming from. Often the issue at hand is not really the issue. ;) If we take a moment to realize that, it can soften the mood. (Not sure where that just came from, but there it is.)

    Love ya and all that mushy crap. :-@

  2. Mommy, What is Hooters? : Girls Can’t WHAT? on March 27, 2007 at 8:15 am

    […] reading Kelli’s post about self-image, I started thinking about that incident and I started wondering why a place like Hooters is still […]

  3. Kel1 on March 27, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    Well, thankfully, I’ve never caught my husband staring at another woman, and he CERTAINLY has never had the stupidity to compare me to ANYONE else. He doesn’t talk about other women’s parts, and I rather prefer it that way. lol

    I am guilty of passing judgement too quickly at times, and at other times I just “get it” right off the bat and find out later that I was right about that person. The problem I have the most, though, is passing judgement on myself.

    And I’m TRYING to grow thicker skin, too, btw. ;) That’s not the simplest thing in the world.

    Oh yeah…and if I tried to make a “positive” list about myself, I’d end up saying, “I do this well, BUT….” *sigh* So I usually just don’t try. :P

  4. kel1 on March 27, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    HUH? /:)

  5. gretchen on March 27, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    “I am guilty of passing judgement too quickly at times, and at other times I just “get it” right off the bat and find out later that I was right about that person.”

    Ok, could ya stop rubbing it in already? :-w

  6. gretchen on March 28, 2007 at 9:25 am

    I’m tired of saying “Ok, You’re right, Kelli.” /:)

  7. Kel1 on March 29, 2007 at 12:15 am

    Oh. :D

  8. Rita on March 29, 2007 at 10:41 am

    Kelli, you speak like a teenager.


    I mean, I always thought that those were thiings that only teenagers thought off.

    Because everytime I say something like that to my mom she just tell me to shut up and keeps saying “It’s just a phase, that phase is the worst, your sister went there, too.”

    That really annoys me.

    But at the same time, I always thought that she was right, that those feelings and thoughts would go away in time.

    Now you just putted me in doubt.

    I simply hate when people tell me things like “you’re perfect!” “OMG, your grades at school are amazing! I wish I could be like you!”
    Why? Because that doesn’t tell me ANYTHING. That just make me think “right… what’s so special about that? I don’t even have a boyfriend. ”

    I prefer people that only say good things about me that are truly unique and that make me know what’s really good about being me. Like… “you can express yourself so well while writing!” “You can always think so clearly and without put too much emotion into your thoughts!” (those were the only two things I remember being told to me. )

    And because I know what’s wrong about me, and I prefer people who tell me that even joking with me, than people that while I say that I’m bad at something, just tell me “shut up! you’re not!”

    Well, that was all. I will keep writing until tomorrow if I don’t stop now.

  9. kel1 on March 29, 2007 at 11:03 am

    Ha! Well, Rita…if I sound like a teenager maybe it’s because I hang out with kids all day…or maybe because I hang out with my college group at church. But it could be because I still FEEL like I’m a teenager at times! :D
    Everyone struggles with self-doubt at times. It isn’t limited to teenagers. I think that often so many people get busy with their lives and just figure “this is the way things are” and there’s no time or room for examining themselves.
    However, there are those of us who OVERanalyze ourselves (that’s ME!) and often paralyze ourselves in the process.

    I agree with you, that specific comments about our positive traits would be helpful. So often I can get specific about my FLAWS, but when it comes to something positive, I can’t think of anything specific that I like about myself.

    I need to work on that. :P

  10. Amy Stephen on April 3, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    I remember when I was in my twenties, my mother said that I would look back and realize how great I looked. At 45 years of age, I know understand she was right. Gretchen knows I struggled with turning 45 this year. I told everyone, including my Grandmother. Yea. Stupid. Let’s decide to be happy. Time is racing by! :-)

  11. Amy Stephen on April 3, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    Get her, Trina! Egads! I am twice your age! Yea – thanks Gretchen, feeling MUCH better! ;-)

  12. gretchen on April 3, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    Amy if it makes you feel any better, I am getting paid back for all the age jokes I dish out at you. my friend Trina is 23 and she reminds me every day that I am 34. :-w

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