Thursday, August 20, 2009

Fat, ugly and stupid

I received an email yesterday that reminded me of something I've wanted to write about for a very long time. It was the sweetest and kindest email I've ever received from a reader of my blog.

S.R. wrote me that she reads a lot of blogs and had never written to a blogger before. She went on to say I was "stunning/gorgeous". Wow! That got my attention. No one ever says that about me!

Then she said something I know is so very true, "when I read your blog, I hear such a negative self-image at sad".

S.R. is right, I have a really bad self-image. I'm always criticizing myself, putting myself down, saying I'm fat and ugly and stupid. That I'm boring and uninteresting. Sadly, I believe most of these things.

The funny thing is I know why I'm like this. It's because of my mother. Now I had the most amazing mother you can possibly imagine. I was blessed with incredible parents. I won the lottery when it came to parents. I grew up being told I was smart and pretty, that I could do or be anything I wanted in life. I was told this over and over from the time I was a young child all through my adult life.

So what happened? Why am I like this? It's really simple. Even though my mother told me how great I was over and over, she said just the opposite about herself. She said she was fat, that she hated how she looked. She said she was stupid.

My mother was really pretty with a beautiful smile. I look at pictures of her when she was young and she was gorgeous. She looked like a movie star. She had a weight problem after having three kids, but she was still very pretty. She lost 100 pounds when she was 65 and kept it off during the last 20 years of her life. She still said she was fat. She was 5' 8" and weighed 145.

About her being stupid, it wasn't true. She was really smart. She skipped two grades in high school and graduated when she was only 16 years old. Yet she said she was stupid and dumb, when really she was one of the smartest people I've ever met.

My point is you can tell your kids anything you want, but it's really what you say about yourself is what they're going to hear and copy. They will grow up to be like you. If you say you're fat and stupid and ugly, I guarantee you're going to hear your kid say that same thing about themselves.

So if you can't have a good self-image for yourself, at least fake it the best you can for your kid. When you look in the mirror, and your child is watching you, don't say, "oh, I'm so fat, I just look awful" or make comments that you're stupid. That's probably the greatest disservice you can do to your child.

I don't blame my mother for how I feel about myself. I know she did the best she could and would never have intentionally said those things if she knew I was going to take them on as my own image. The really sad thing is that I can't seem to change it. I know it's not really true, yet I hear that little voice in my head constantly telling me that I'm fat, ugly, and stupid.


Lia said...

It is always good to determine the root of our mentalities or problems and once realized it is much easier to change because it is more understood. Have you tried training yourself to only listen to people's compliments about your physicality, or catching yourself mid negative thought and stopping it and immediately changing it to a positive one. It feels kinda silly at the beginging, but after a while it becomes a habit, just like the negative thoughts became a habit long ago. One step at a time. Sometimes, if I'm feeling, ugly or something, I play music that makes me feel sexy and then I get an automatic confidence boost. A rather unrelated way to get a confidence boost, but it works. :D Sometimes it's fun to just strut around pretending to be really confident and you see people reacting to it and you become more confident as a result. All of us readers support you and will always be here!

big_mummy said...

I agree with Lia, you really are a very beautiful woman and you need to find a way to love yourself and accept that these little things about you, that you dont like, actually make diana, diana! You are you and you are a wonderful person, and whats more is nobody in the world is like you, not 100%. embrace that.

MizFit said...

I agree with you and I know lots of people (ok friends IRL) would not.


to try your damndest to pretend the selflove and, IMO, you may even discover it along the way.

you are beautiful.
on the outside---sure---but on the INSIDE from whence it ALL EMANATES.

Sweety On A Diet said...

What a wonderful post! I need to really look at how I treat myself and what lessons my dd will learn from me!

Fatinah said...

so Dianna - are you going to fake it now till you make it? Why do we have to do it for kids (not that THAT isn't a great idea!!) - but why can't it just be for ourselves?

Ron said...

The difference between you and I is you express how you feel, I keep it all inside. My reasons are a little different tho! I try and stay positive but it can be hard to do

Fatinah said...

oops - sorry 'bout the extra "n"!!

~ugly girl with a beautiful heart~ said...

Helloooooo!!! I'm swimmin in that sea of negativity too sister! I do try really hard not to say anything bad about myself in front of my son though, but all that negative shit, I really do believe when I look in the mirror. My son is an angel though...I'll be straightening my shirt or putting on deodorant and he'll go "Mommy you're so beautiful". He makes me feel about a million times better!

I know how you feel about your mom, I feel the same about my mom as well. I think she's beautiful, she thinks she's old, wrinkly, saggy, etc etc etc.

When will we women break that nasty cycle?

Graciela said...

I'm just catching up a bit on my favorite blogs...

1. Thank you so much for the "lovely blog" award. After my company leaves town, I'll forward it on to my own favorites.

2. I just saw the pictures of you in Alaska, esp the one with your nephew. You are so gorgeous and those muscular arms! To die for.

3. It's good you are coming to some realizations about why you have such a negative self image. Awareness is the first step to recovery. Because you obviously are not "ugly" (photographic evidence) and "stupid" (you wouldn't have your high-tech difficult job if you were) and "fat" (no matter how you look at it ~165 lbs is not fat unless you are 4'3" tall).


Ida said...

So much truth in what you wrote. I think we all have problems with self image. Admitting the problem is the first step in overcoming it. And what everyone wrote about you being beautiful, smart and a LONG way from fat is all true.

Roxie said...

New here, but I'll back.

Hillary said...

i look forward to helping :)
are you following me? im new to how this works but it says i have no followers haha can you follow me?

Melanie said...

Powerful post and it hits home. I've said for years "You can't give your kids what you don't have yourself". I truly believe that especially when it comes to self-esteem. I've tried really hard not to be so negative in front of my son, but I'm sure some of it has rubbed off on him.
I got my negative self-image from my mom too. She always told me I was smart, pretty, etc, but I never believed it because I always compared myself to others.

Pamela said...

I love this post, Diana! In reading it, it really made me do a lot of thinking, because my mom is the same way. She was and is very pretty and smart, but has talked bad about herself as far back as I can remember. You've given me a lot to think about!