There are two ways to determine your self-worth: You can base you sense of self-worth on how highly other people value you, or you can determine your own value. Many of us never take the time to consider how and why we value ourselves; we base our self-esteem entirely on outside opinions. If we don’t make the "beauty spectrum" in the media, we must not be beautiful. If no one else asks what we think, we must not be smart. If a friend walks all over us, we must deserve it.
The trouble is that everyone sees life through their own unique filter. How they perceive you is too wrapped up in how they perceive themselves. Waiting for people who are inundated with negativity to decide you’re good enough is ridiculous. Who says you need their validation? You don’t.
Powerful words. I thought about them this weekend when my daughter asked me if I thought she needed to lose some weight.
I feel the need to give you a bit of that dreaded backstory here. Growing up, I was the fat kid in my family. Always on a diet and never happy about the way I looked. Then one day a few years ago when my kids pulled out the old family photo albums and I started leafing through the pages, I had a moment of clarity. The “fat” kid I was looking at hadn't been fat at all. Not even close. So why had I felt that way my whole life? Because that 's the feedback I received from others.
Mainly my mom.
There is no one in this world I love more or who has been more supportive of me over the years in every other aspect of my life, but the more I thought about it, the more I recalled little comments about my weight and comparisons to some of my smaller friends that I hadn't noticed at the time or at least hadn't given much power to. That is, until she overheard my daughter's question this weekend and commented that she would look even prettier if she lost a few pounds. Not downright insulting, but the message came through loud and clear to me even if my daughter hadn't caught it. You are not good enough the way you are.
So I sat down and had a talk with my mom. It was hard. But it turns out she never realized how her comments about my weight had affected me all these years. I didn't completely change her way of thinking, she has always lived by the motto that you can never be too rich or too thin, but she agreed to be more conscious of the things she says and that's really all I can ask.
It turns out my daughter wasn't considering losing weight because she thought she looked bad, but because she wanted to increase her base running speed in softball. I told her we could talk to her coach and see what kinds of drills would help her meet that goal. And if she loses weight, she loses it, and I expect it will be a by-product of the increased exercise which makes her a stronger competitor in the sport she loves to play, not because someone tells her she should.
Have you ever had a life-changing revelation?