My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

Posts tagged ‘self-esteem’

8 signs you may suffer from low SHELF-esteem

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One of my favorite things to do on a Sunday morning is take my current book (s) du jour and hit up a local coffee shop, enjoying my latest page-turner with a cup (or three) of freshly brewed java and bagel doughnut anything made with just all of the gluten. If I’m lucky (and the weather is cooperating with me), I’ll grab a table outside and hunker down for a few glorious hours.

On one such morning a few weeks ago, I was approached by a man rocking a pretty spectacular fedora who wanted to know what I was reading. Now to preface this, I’d like to point out that I am an equal opportunity reader. I like to dabble in all genres by all kinds of authors. I’m talking mysteries and young adult to non-fiction and the literary classics. My book rolodex runs the gamut! On this particular day, I just happened to be indulging in some chick-lit (if you haven’t read One Plus One by Jojo Moyes, you need to! Like, yesterday). When I told this man what my book of choice was, he kind of gave me a kind of snooty, hoity toity sneer, his nose turned up like he just got a serious whiff of sweaty gym socks.

“Hmph,” he said as he turned back to his table. “I’m more of a literary purist.” That’s when I noticed the book he happened to have in his hands: Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past. I’m not gonna lie; I felt my face turning a bright shade of red, slightly embarrassed by my apparent lack of bookish intelligence. Should I be dabbling in these philosophical, historical, meaningful [and ridiculously hard to understand] books too? Am I wasting my time and energy (and ridiculously high level of brain power) on mere chick-lit?

Now, I’m not a psychologist (actually, I’m a librarian which makes things even more confusing. I mean, I am in the business of books after all). I have however been a teenage girl (’nuff said) and definitely noticed that since my crimped hair and Hanson-listening days of middle school, those who scream the loudest about how great they are, are usually the people who are just compensating for actual lack.

This can be applied to many areas of life; school, work, the sports teams you cheer for, and even the kind of beer you drink. The more self-conscious you feel about a certain aspect of your life, the more likely you are to overcompensate for those things/skills/abilities/talents that you think you lack. What I’ve recently discovered is that is also can be apparent in the world of books. Generally speaking, those who are worried about their intelligence level (or lack there of) feel the need to prove their smarts in ways that actual intellects don’t. They suffer from very low shelf-esteem.

Mr. Fedora, I’m talking to you buddy.

Signs that you too may be suffering from a bad case of low shelf-esteem include:

1.You mention what you are reading, but make sure to tell people who your REAL favorite author is (typically someone who’s tres “important”).

“I mean, yeah I’m reading this now, but I usually stick to anything and everything written by Hemingway.

*J.K. Rowling is my girl!

2. You make excuses for what you are reading.

“Oh this thing? Yeah, I only started reading it because…my dog ate my copy of War & Peace.”

*Definitely reading The DaVinci Code, again, because so good, right?!

3. You don’t tell your friends what you’re reading, because you’re intimidated that they read “more important” things than you.

“I’m uhh, well I, it’s actually…but enough about me. What are you reading?”

*Twilight, okay?! I’m reading Twilight!!

4. You nod along when people talk intelligently about dead Russian white guys that you don’t really know anything about…instead of being honest about not knowing.

“Oh yeah. He was the one who wrote that book about that thing that happened a long time ago in that one place, right? Sooooo good!”

*Yep. Nope. I have no idea who you are talking about.

5. You have a fake favorite book for when people ask you what your favorite book is.

“My fave book is totally The Sound and The Fury by Faulkner. Obviously.

*HARRY POTTER! HARRY POTTER! HARRY POTTER!!!!!

6. You keep something fancy on the coffeetable for guests to notice.

“Oh these old things? Yeah they’re just the complete set of Tolstoy’s greatest works. The printed originals. In three different translations. No biggy.”

*Copies I got at a garage sale for $.50 each because they looked neat.

7. You won’t get rid of books you hated because you want people who come over to see that you’ve read them.

“Wow! Of Mice and Men? Crime and Punishment? Anna Karenina? Impressive shelves, girl!”

*Yeahhhh….about those….not a big fan. In fact, I couldn’t finish any of them because I kept falling asleep.

8. You make blanket statements about which kinds of books are bad without actually reading them.

“Pshhh. Comic books are soooo 2014.”

*Comic books are sooo 2015 and I can marry Thor please and thank you.

As I mentioned before, everyone has their reading preferences. I am not ashamed to admit that I love a good tear-jerker, mushy-gushy love story. I think I’ve single-handedly supported the stock in Kleenex for the number of Nicholas Sparks’ books that adorn my bookshelf alone. There’s nothing wrong with reading what you want to read. Ever.

Just because you choose not to read the difficult, heady or highbrow novels all the time (or any time) doesn’t mean that you are in any way less smart or intelligent. In fact, it probably means that you are confident enough in your self shelf to read what you want, to not be intimidated in any way by judgy McJudgsters who feel your reading is not up to snuff. Be proud of what you read and own your interests no matter what anyone says.

So to Mr. Fedora, I would just like to say, “Yes I am reading the chickiest of chick-lit books and yes it is amazing (and yes I could use a tissue, thank you). So you can just take your Proust and shove it (but not really because that actually is an incredible book and can I borrow it when you’re done?)

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Healthy is the new skinny

Hey guys! I hope you all are having a great hump day so far!

Today I thought I would talk to you all about something near and dear to my heart: Self-love and healthy body image. It’s something that has been on my mind a lot the last couple of days. This past week, I was at my bae Target picking up a few groceries (I went in for milk, just milk mind you, and left with a pair of pants, a sweater, a package or Oreos and some Cinnamon Toast Crunch. But forgot the milk. Every. Time.) when I ran into a mother and daughter who were also doing some shopping. As I was perusing the clearance rack, I couldn’t help but overhear the conversation that this mother was having with her young daughter. On numerous occasions, the girl would pick out a super cute top or a pair of pants, asking for her mother’s opinion on how it would look or if she should get it, and numerous times the mother would reply with remarks that truly made my heart sink.

“Are you sure you want this shirt, honey? It’s really not all that flattering on you.”

“You might want to hold off on those skinny jeans until you lose those last few pounds.”

Um, excuse me. WHAT?!

First of all, this young girl was absolutely beautiful! She had a smile that could light up a room and a sparkle in her eye that was undeniable. Secondly, no one should ever, EVER talk to another person like this, especially a mother to her own daughter! EVER! As a parent, as a human being, we should strive to bring each other up, to build our confidence and teach self-love and respect. That we are more than the number on a scale, the size of a pair of pants or the shape of our bodies. I really wish I would have had the courage to say something to this lady, to tell her the damage that she could potentially be doing to her amazing daughter, but in that moment, I was too shocked to really formulate a complete thought.

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Body image issues have been prevalent in our culture for a very long time, but I think it has gotten a lot worse within the last few years, especially with young girls and women. Everywhere we look–whether it be in magazines, on television, in the movies or even opinions from mother’s who are uneducated, insensitive and naïve– there is this ideal, this crazy, unobtainable and unhealthy ideal that is continuously getting shoved in our faces. The terrible thing is this “ideal” is perpetuated as something we all should strive to obtain if we want to be successful, loved, happy.

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Young girls see these images and hear these messages. Some stand up for who they are, not giving in to this warped mindset of what beauty is, but sadly, a lot of girls and women (and even men) fail to recognize how truly amazing they really are. They start picking apart the color of their hair, the freckles on their face or the size of their waistbands.  They begin to work out hours everyday, restrict what they eat and begin this dangerous comparison trap, asking themselves if they are or will ever be good enough. As someone who has struggled with my self confidence and body, I know that finding a healthy balance and learning to really love, respect and accept myself for the amazing and kiss-ass young woman that I am was and still is not an easy process. It’s something that I have to continually work on, reminding myself of all the things I love about myself instead of focusing on the things I don’t.

I have been following Katie H. Wilcox now for a while and am continually amazed and inspired by her messages of self-acceptance, positive body image and health. She is the founder of Healthy is the New Skinny, a campaign  that is challenging not only how the media portrays beauty, but also our own motives and mindset. This campaign actively reaches out to high schools across the country through their PUP program (Perfectly Unperfected Project), challenging the way our culture views beauty and building self-esteem and self-confidence in these young and impressionable girls. I want to give miss Wilcox a giant bear hug for the work she has done, and continues to do, raising awareness about how skewed our cultural ideals are and sending messages of how important it is to be kind to yourself, be proud of who you are and to love every inch of who you have grown to be.

This is how we feel about this latest Victoria's Secret campaign.

This is how we feel about this latest Victoria’s Secret campaign.

Sure, there are some days when I look in the mirror and do not think, “I woke up like this.” There are days where my hair decides to have an attitude of its own, days where I feel fat and bloated, days where I just am not feeling good about myself. But you know what, it’s days like these that I have to think the exact opposite! We are all beautiful, strong and have so much to give this world, give to each other, and more importantly, to our selves.

It’s high time we, you and I and that dude sitting across the hall from you with the very nice green tie eating a chalupa, we have to start throwing some serious shade to all of these ridiculous ideals of perfection and beauty, and start making our own!

We should “wake up like this” every damn day.

And to that mother at Target, I would just like to say to you that your daughter is beautiful. She is strong, unique and perfectly imperfect. I hope she bought that pair of skinny jeans and super cute top because she would’ve rocked them out!

If you want to become involved with the Healthy is the New Skinny campaign, get more information here! And be sure to follow Katie on her Instagram and blog!

Images via, via, via

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