Body Image.

be nice to yourself

Today’s post has been on my mind for a long time.  Truthfully, I’ve had this post saved in my “drafts” folder for months  now, but haven’t had the courage to actually hit publish.  But lately I’ve had this weird gnawing feeling inside me, saying that I should just do it.  So here goes.

You guys.  We really, really need to be kinder to ourselves, and to each other.  Especially as women.  We need to be mindful about how we talk to other women, how we talk about other women; and the way we talk about our bodies.  I was really inspired, recently, by Jennifer Lawrence’s interview where she suggested that calling someone fat should be illegal.  (Her interview has since been taken out of context; she was referring to the media – not everyone.)  The other thing that motivated me to write this is a website called Return of Kings.  They have posts with titles like “5 Reasons Why You Should Date a Girl With An Eating Disorder.”  I spent probably too long on their site, getting more and more disgusted and angry by the minute.

This is not meant to be a fluffy post, something you’d read in Glamour or see in a Dove commercial.  “Love your body, love your life!”  It’s about treating ourselves a little better.  Being nicer to other people, being better to yourself.  When someone pays you a compliment, not saying “Oh but I look so fat in this.”  I may just be talking to myself here but I say that stuff all the time.  One of my goals is simple but a little hard – to just say thank you when someone says something nice to me.

It’s different for everyone, but we all have our little things… insecurities and hangups.  A little over a year ago one of my (now ex) boyfriend’s friends took to my Facebook wall, late at night.  I knew this guy didn’t like me, and he was pretty drunk, but I was horrified but what he wrote.  He said a slew of nasty things, and called me fat.  (Yes you read this correctly – on my Facebook wall.  And yes, we are in our thirties.)  Of course the thing I fixated upon most was the fat part.  It was so stupid but so terrible, and it made me feel like total + complete shit.  I felt hideous and disgusting and remember standing in front of the mirror and crying.  It was really awful.

Time heals everything, but truthfully, it probably took until my boyfriend and I broke up this past summer to really be totally over it.  After the breakup, I got really selfish.  One of the things that probably helped the most was that I only spent time with people who left me feeling good.  As time went by, I started to get my self-confidence back.   I was having fun again, and living more in the moment (and worrying less about what everyone else thought.)  I’m not sure when, but at some point I woke up and just felt better, stronger, good.  And when that happened, I kinda just gave anyone who was mean to me while we were together a big eff you (at least in my head.)

But this post is not about what happened to me.  Honestly, every girl I know seems to have a terrible memory of her body being made fun of – whether too fat or too skinny, at least at some point in her life.  I told you this to show you how those words made me feel.

The sad thing is that whenever I tell another girl this story, like I mentioned before, she usually has a similar story.  Recently I was at dinner with a new friend when she told me that her ex-boyfriend told her that she could stand to drop 50 pounds.  He said this to her on New Years Eve.  (Again… who does that!?)  Though it is irrelevant to my message here, this girl is teeny-tiny.  If she lost 50 pounds she would literally die.  Why anyone would ever say that to her blows my mind.

But these guys aside, I hear it from girls too, which is frustrating and honestly even more disturbing.  I just feel like we should be better to each other than that, and hold each other to a higher standard.  I was out with a big group of girls a few months ago, and the wine was flowing… there was a girl that had done something not so nice to a friend of mine, and another girl piped in, saying… “Oh, well she’s just a sad fat girl… that’s why she did it.”  She meant well (to make the other girl feel better), but the fat part made me cringe, a lot. Oof.

The thing I’m learning is that it does not matter if you are a size zero, a size 6, or a size 16.  We all feel badly about ourselves at times, and we let other people make us feel badly about ourselves.  I just wish that we could stop doing that to ourselves, and just be nicer to ourselves.  I’m simply advocating being better to ourselves and to others.

I guess the key takeaways here (sorry for the business talk here… after spending 4 years at P&G I’m prone to summaries) are as follows:

  1. Your worth does not come from the number inside your jeans.  Your character defines you, not your size.  It’s who you are that matters.  What you do with your life.  The lives you touch… the things you accomplish.  Being a good person, and being a good friend.  Not your size.
  2. And secondly, I kinda agree with Jennifer Lawrence…  we should ban hurtful words, especially “fat” from our vocabulary when we can.  And for the record, I feel the same way about making fun of someone for being too skinny.  Just don’t do it.   Eliminate the “f-word” from your vocabulary in 2014.  Don’t say it about yourself, and don’t say it about others.  And see what happens…  I bet you’ll end up feeling a lot better without it.

To end, I’ll just say that if someone is trying to tear you down, they probably have their own set of problems.  Remember that, too… happy people don’t say that stuff.  They just don’t.  (And to the five guys that read this blog, just be better and remember that your words have consequences.)

End rant!  If you made it this far, thank you for reading… I really hope that you take this post to heart.

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Comments

  1. Sarah Batters says 12.29.13

    Wonderful post Grace, beautifully written and so true! (and no, the P&Gisms never leave you!)

  2. melissa says 12.29.13

    I am always so shocked at how I hear stories like this. Yes I have had people say some not so nice things to me..but that crap stopped after high school! I dropped literally everyone who has ever said one mean/back handed thing to me. I won’t put up with it and no one else should have to either.

    So if I won’t put up with it from other people…why in the world would I say it to myself? I am the one person I can never get away from so might as well as be nice to myself and have some confidence. Not only to I have to be confident but I have to be a good role model for my kids….and oddly enough I have more confidence now then I did when skin around my stomach was still tight. It’s a mind set…not a look.

  3. Andrea Perkov says 12.29.13

    This is such a beautiful post. I agree with everything you said. Each of us has their own insecurities. Too often people say hurtful things without thinking about the impact their words could have on another person. The world would definitely be a better place if we could all be nicer to each other.

  4. Nuha says 12.29.13

    Thank you!! Thank you so much for writing this! We are so harsh on ourselves and so critical of others and don’t realize that the things we say as simple “conversation fillers” can be so hurtful sometimes. I’ve always been insecure about just about everything (ha!) and I took what other people said wayyyyyy too literally and it would constantly tear me down. Then one day, I decided I just simply did not want to live a miserable life of feeling awful about myself. Happiness is contagious and that’s what I choose – to be happy. When someone pays me a compliment, I take it…and I try my best to pay one right back. Thanks for reminding us to be a little bit nicer. You’re always good about things like that! xo

  5. Abigail says 12.29.13

    wonderful. thanks for speaking your heart.

  6. allison says 12.29.13

    great great GREAT post! thank you for writing this, absolutely inspiring as I’m trying to prep myself for the stereotypical NYE resolution of lose (insert number) lbs. instead I’m going to compromise with myself and lose some of the weight and focus on loving my body more. xoam

  7. Claire says 12.29.13

    Love this post and what a great way to start a new year! The image is great too – my friends and I have all been talking recently about negative self talk and what damage it does. Very well said!

  8. Clara says 12.29.13

    “Your worth does not come from the number inside your jeans. ” I needed that today 🙂

  9. zina says 12.29.13

    First of all, a boyfriend who tells you that you need to lose weight should become an ex- boyfriend STAT.
    Second of all, we’re too old for this BS. Drop people from your life who are toxic. And stop going to sketchy gross sites. You’re only contributing to their page views.
    Third of all, stop with the fat talk. I know it’s tricky having a blog and posting pictures of yourself, and I’m sure you get trolls. But you are not fat. And if I wanted to see what clothes looked like on a model, I could open any magazine.

  10. Meg says 12.29.13

    Thank you so much for this post. You put into words how I have felt for a long time! Thank you for using your (amazing) blog to spread messages like this. It’s so refreshing.

  11. Meghan says 12.29.13

    We’ll said G and completely agree! Thank you for sharing and your continued strength. You are an inspiration always!

  12. Jackie {York Avenue} says 12.29.13

    Great post Grace. I think a lot of this comes from the media and the whole celeb culture, which makes men and women think that women should be a size 0, that that’s just a normal size to be. Kind of ridiculous. Everyone needs to actively combat that kind of thinking, including myself. This post is a good wake-up call.

  13. bclaire says 12.29.13

    Awesome and honest post. Agreed on all counts! Especially that people who say mean things usually have something going on behind the scenes. If I think about my meanest moments, they were because I was stressed about other stuff. I also think we as girls criticize others to feel better about our own issues, but what is most important is if you are happy with yourself. If not, work to fix it, but hating on yourself or others won’t help! Great post!!

  14. Amen.

  15. AMEN to this! I’ve been feeling pretty poorly about my current physique, but this post really helped me realize that I decide how I want to look. I used to think getting back to a size 4 was EVERYTHING. Now? I’d like to tone up and feel really good in my skin, regardless of the size of my jeans or the circumference of my waist. Bravo, Grace, for writing such a thoughtful and NEEDED post.

  16. Christina says 12.29.13

    Beautifully written and so timely! Being nicer to myself and others is the best New Year’s resolution I’ve heard.

  17. Brandyn says 12.29.13

    Love that you decided to publish this post! This is a critical issue for so many women, including myself. Being nicer to ourselves and other women is a resolution we all should make. I came across a quote the other day that hit home for me… “In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” -Buddha’s Little Instruction Book This applies to so many areas of life for me, including body image and how to handle toxic and critical people. Kudos to you for sharing your experience with us! You’ve set a great example to follow.

  18. BSD) says 12.29.13

    Preach.

  19. Lauren Martin says 12.29.13

    What a great raw and completely honest post. I think you spoke a lot of the thoughts we are constantly battling with. Body image is a vicious cycle. We all fight our daily battles and you’re right we need to eliminate certain words in 2014, it can only help us! Thanks for your honesty and courage to post this!
    Xx

  20. Rachelle says 12.29.13

    Love this post Grace, a long while ago I decided to only be in contact with people that make me happy. With that decision I was alone a lot and found myself feeling pretty content most of the time. I no longer compare myself to other women and if I decide to lose weight, it is my own decision but not because I feel bad about myself or anything. Cheers for this amazing post and for being real.

    xo,
    http://pinksole.com

  21. Meg says 12.29.13

    Excellent post. Body image is something I struggle with all the time and this is a great reminder. Thanks

  22. What a great post, Grace! I too, needed this today! Like most girls, I haven’t been feeling too good about my body, post holiday indulging. I like the idea of doing away with the word “fat” and I vow here and now to give it a try, starting with myself. =)

  23. RR says 12.29.13

    This post inspired me to rethink my New Years resolutions. Thank you!

  24. Michaela says 12.29.13

    This post really hits home for me! Thank you so much for writing it so beautifully!

    Michaela x

    http://Www.lifeofaladybear.blogspot.com

  25. Mackenzie says 12.29.13

    I could not have read this at a better time. I’m feeling especially down about my body because of the holiday weight I’ve gained, and I’ve been battering myself about it emotionally. Thanks for being honest and open and positive. We all need to hear it.

  26. Sylvia Dennis says 12.29.13

    This post is amazing Grace … Thank you I totally agree with what you wrote and thanks for being so real! I really hope we can meet one day … sending hugs and thinking of you as I am wearing my St James top today! xo take care

  27. Jenn J. says 12.29.13

    Thank you for this! A wonderful lesson that you shared quite eloquently. I’ll be printing this out for a reminder when I feel a little out of sorts.

  28. Great post, thanks for this! Just the other day I had a near meltdown (I was already a bit cranky) when I tried on a new shirt and boyfriend said it looked fine, but when I looked in the mirror, I hated it. I decided right then to clear my closet of clothes that don’t fit, I don’t love, or that don’t make me feel good when I’m wearing them. No sense in trying to fit into tighter clothes if I’m uncomfortable all day or don’t feel good in them. Instead, I will be healthy and buy clothes that make me feel awesome and be merry and bright.

  29. shirarosen88 says 12.29.13

    I loved your blog before and now I love your blog ten time more after this post. I am so so so happy you wrote this and amazingly written. My friend died of an eating disorder at 19 and this is a topic I’m really passionate about. I’ve debated talking about it on my blog but I have so much emotion attached to this that I’ve held off. I’m tired of reading about losing weight, how to get skinny, etc etc etc…especially after the holidays- all about how to lose the holiday weight, bla bla bla…. I wish we could focus on health at every size and lose the focus on dieting and being thin. We do need to be kinder to ourselves and I’m so thankful you wrote this.
    xoxoxo

    http://www.asequinloveaffair.com

  30. Amanda says 12.29.13

    awesome post..thank you.

  31. sarajoredlocks says 12.29.13

    I’m a pretty confident girl 90% of the time. One thing that really shakes me is when I listen to girlfriends of mine (who are at least 60lbs smaller than me) tell me that I’m beautiful just the way I am, and in their next breath talk about how fat and disgusting they are. It break my heart for me and for them. Long live Jennifer Lawrence, muffin top and food that tastes good.

  32. jen says 12.29.13

    right on..people need to get a grip and stop being so superficial.

  33. Nikki Rappaport says 12.29.13

    Beautifully said, Grace. We’re all glad you pressed publish. We need more kindness and thoughtfulness like this.

  34. Leydijonjon says 12.29.13

    I feel so much better about myself after reading this. Noone was mean to me about mybody, but I was all that time:( thank u for writing this so nicely give us power to feel better!
    http://fashionsbit.blogspot.com

  35. ppfgirl says 12.29.13

    Amazingly well written post, Grace – I agree that we all struggle from time to time (or a lot of the time) about our outward appearance. Being style bloggers & seeing photos of ourselves all the time…it’s very easy to criticize even the tiniest things that readers or people we encounter wouldn’t even notice! This is a great reminder for all of us & kudos to you for finally hitting publish!! 🙂

  36. Great post, Grace. I am a qualifiably “fat” girl myself (obviously it’s something I’m working on privately). It really just BLOWS MY MIND how much female (and male) focus is dedicated to commenting on other people’s bodies… Educated, talented people who waste time and energy making assumptions about complete strangers? That in and of itself is a harmful addiction, and it is a great resolution to make a point of changing the tone of conversation. At the end of the day, a person’s body is their own business. We each have our own issues to work out—bodily or otherwise. Thanks for posting. x

  37. Amy says 12.29.13

    I am probably a lot older than your target demographic, but as the mother of a beautiful athletic 13 year old girl this post really resonates. She has changed so much-physically-this year and she has started using the dreaded “f” word to describe herself. Social media amplies a lot of their insecurities. I just had her read this post. It means a lot more coming from someone other than me!

  38. Randilea says 12.29.13

    Absolutely love this post! Your sentiment is right on. I greatly appreciate hearing this right now.

  39. Vanessa says 12.29.13

    I really loved this post! Thank you so much for taking the time and courage to post! Using the word “fat” can seem so harmless, but it is so hurtful!

  40. ajminneapolis says 12.29.13

    I truly love this post. I really hope you know how powerfully wonderful messages like this are. 🙂

  41. Great post! The sucky, unfortunate thing is that the broader ‘disease’ here is the culture of comparison. Whether it’s weight, wardrobe, hair, career, I find we so often want what someone else has, and beat ourselves up for not having it…and yet, those same people we envy probably envy something we have, too! The grass is always greener, and it’s a fruitless, exhausting, never ending thought cycle. It’s so much healthier to take a minute to celebrate the things you have that make your life happy and fulfilling and make you feel good about yourself, whatever they are!

  42. Neha says 12.30.13

    Beautiful post Grace. I’ve been facing the “fat” word all my life, even after I shed the weight. I’ve just come to the realization that people who are mean to me and make me feel horrible about myself are just not worth my time.

  43. NM says 12.30.13

    Very insightful. It’s amazing how other people’s opinions of us can have such an impact. I just had a baby and I’m grappling with some body image issues and trying to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes.

    Also, while I was pregnant strangers would constantly tell me how small I looked (normally something women like to hear), however I had an issue that prevented my baby from growing properly in utero (he’s now a healthy baby boy). I was devastated each time someone would utter those words and baffled by people’s willingness to comment on someone else’s body.

  44. Natalie says 12.30.13

    Great post.

  45. Heather says 12.30.13

    Comedian Amy Schumer does a great skit about this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzlvDV3mpZw&sns=em

  46. Bee says 12.30.13

    Truth! Well said! You have a beautiful platform on which to stand and spread this good karma for all of us to absorb! Don’t hold on to them so long!! Look at the response! 😉

  47. Emily says 12.30.13

    I couldn’t agree more and am always so happy when I hear other women speak about this as well. No one understands how difficult it is to be a woman more than another woman and it is our job to stand up for each other and build each other up, not the opposite. Thanks for the great post!

  48. Lacy says 12.30.13

    Thank you! As 2013 draws to a close, I can’t but wonder how awesome 2014 would be if we all vowed to be a little kinder and softer towards each other. I am new to your blog and am so glad I found you in time for such an encouraging and warranted post. Happy New Year to you!

  49. staci says 12.30.13

    Well said! One of my favorite posts of yours

    xx
    Staci

  50. Susan says 12.30.13

    Happy people don’t say that…so true. And I CANNOT believe that FB story. Unreal. Thanks for the realness..love reading. XO

  51. Catherine says 12.30.13

    Thank you so much for this Grace! It’s so nice to hear that I’m not the only one struggling with this. It’s so hard because I’m putting myself out there (on the internet) when I post outfit pictures and I always tend to pick myself apart when going over the pictures. I really hope that in 2014 I can make some progress to put an end to my self-doubt!

  52. Cy says 12.30.13

    Wow, I really can’t believe that someone would do that. Where was your exes friend’s respect for him? Even if you disliked someone’s partner, keep it to yourself. I shouldn’t say this but, I hope your ex kicked his ass or at the very least disowned him as a friend! I am so sorry that happened to you! He must be in his own hateful pain to attack you like that. he’s tragic really. Perhaps he was jealous? Doesn’t matter.
    You are right of course, we all need to be kinder to ourselves and each other. I am heavier than I have ever been in my life, but, better than ever at acceptance of my body. I am older though and have had two majored surgeries in the last three years. I had to let go, my body has a few scars now. Life is too short.

  53. Noemi says 12.30.13

    I really liked reading this, Grace. And I love the statement, it’s so true. I’m often mean to myself and I hope to be nicer and I hope that nice things will happen!
    I think Jennifer Lawrence is right, but it’s a tough world. As a thin girl, I often be told “you’re so skinny, when will you start eating?” or “you’re so skinny that you look disgusting”. Well, I love being thin (also because I’m not tall at all) and at the beginning these words really bothered me but never offended me, because the same people (girls and women) who used to say I’m disgusting were on a diet and often complaint about gaining weight. People who say ugly and offensive words are often unhappy or envious, it’s kind of true, but let’s be honest: mean people exist and that’s their nature.
    I recently read that the most beautiful compliment a woman can get (based on a poll) is “you lost weight / you look so thin”. That’s how it goes, at least in a part of the world.

  54. Adri says 12.30.13

    Thank you for having the courage to post this! I have been reflecting on the things I want to improve and at the heart of it I think being nicer to myself is my top goal. We as women are so tough on ourselves and other women on top of hearing it from men. Whether it’s men or women making these comments towards someone else, we need to realize that these comments are really stemming from their own insecurities. But it doesn’t make it ok for them to say out loud.

  55. Diana says 12.30.13

    Wonderful post!! I completely agree!! Thanks for sharing. =)

  56. Jen says 12.30.13

    Grace, I haven’t seen you in such a long time and it breaks my heart to think that anyone would be so mean spirited as to make you feel badly about yourself. I have always thought that you were one of the most beautiful girls I had ever met, as well as one of the brightest, and kindest. This is an amazing piece and I am going to share it on my wall because it is so timely and important. As the mother of an almost twelve year old, I can tell you that she has friends who are already consumed with their body image and it is distressing. I don’t know when we as women become so self disparaging but it does need to stop; I am guilty of it myself. What a great piece. I am so proud to say I know you and have really enjoyed watching your career blossom. I can only hope that my own child turns out as kind, beautiful and talented as you have. Your parents must be so proud!!! All the best! ~ Jen

  57. Pat schwab says 12.30.13

    Amen to that. I grew up being really thin and tall but I grew into it. Now I’m older and 3 almost grown children add menopause into the mix and my metabolism is slowwww. Weight gain. Body image is a tough and sometimes we beat ourselves up the most. Sometimes other people say cruel things. Great thoughts on the subject Grace.

  58. emmainprogress says 12.31.13

    beautiful, just beautiful.

  59. Jamie says 1.1.14

    I love that you wrote this post so beautifully and well written. Every woman needs to respect and believe in themselves. My ex-boyfriend claimed to love me more if I gained weight and had a nicer butt, however because of all the stress I ended up dropping nearly 15 pounds while we were dating.

  60. Freckles says 1.1.14

    Loved this post! In March I broke off my engagement and since then I have gained 20 pounds. And it’s strange because I now get compliments from guys about my curves and more nasty comments from girls. Also, Jennifer Lawrence is amazing. In almost every interview she talks about eating food and being accepting of your curves rather than calling yourself fat.

  61. i love this post. you are a wonderful writer, grace. i am horrified to think that someone would ever say rude things to or about you – after all, you’ve proven that it truly is the inside that counts by being one of the most genuine and thoughtful bloggers i know 🙂

    as for being cruel to ourselves… i decided long ago that i was never going to let myself or my weight be defined by anyone else. it took a long time but im here – with friends, family, and a fiance who love me and dont care what i look like or what i weigh!

    thanks for posting. i love how thoughtful this was.

  62. jillian says 1.2.14

    this is really wonderful grace, and soooo important for people to remember. BE NICE t’s really that easy. i have some negative co-workers that i avoid now because they just brought me down complaining about everything and gossiping about others. now that i dont hang out with them i am so much happier (weird thing is they are 40+ yrs old. so yah, so much for the “we mature as we get older!” theory).

  63. Courtside Circle says 1.3.14

    Thanks for sharing a very important reminder for us ladies. I appreciate your candid, honest, and challenging words. Blessings to you!

  64. Comfy Cozy Couture says 1.3.14

    What a wonderful post…and so very true. Women can be so mean not only to themselves but to one another and it’s so sad. I’m with you on banning the “f” word forever! Glad you finally hit publish on this post 🙂

  65. Chelsey N says 1.5.14

    Fat is not a four letter word. Try stepping it up from accepting to embracing. I am fat and healthy and beautiful (Yes, I mean the ANDS there).

  66. Great post, Grace! I also wanted to add another perspective on calling yourself fat that I read several years ago and that has always stuck in my mind. The full post is here: http://www.salon.com/2009/01/24/kate_harding/ but this is my favorite part…

    “So when they say ‘You’re not fat,’ what they really mean is ‘You’re not a dozen nasty things I associate with the word fat.’ The size of your body is not what’s in question; a tape measure or a mirror could solve that dispute. What’s in question is your goodness, your lovability, your intelligence, your kindness, your attractiveness. And your friends, not surprisingly, are inclined to believe you get high marks in all those categories. Ergo, you couldn’t possibly be fat.”

    You should read the whole post…it really changed my perspective on the word fat and how we use it!

  67. Shirley says 1.9.14

    I agree with a lot of the points that you made! You so eloquently wrote what needed to be said.
    HOWEVER, I disagree with you about doing away with the word “fat.” You say that our size number does not matter, and then kind of contradict yourself by trying to dissassociate from “fat.” But then what do fat people call themselves? Overweight? Chubby? Round? At the end of the day, the simplest term is still fat. It is the opposite of the term skinny, so we shouldn’t skirt around it. What we should do is try to take away the negative stigma or image around the word. We should try to use the word fat in a positive tone, so that someday in the future calling someone fat won’t be hurtful, just a fact.
    This is my personal opinion, though. Again, love the rest of the post (:

  68. gossip is woman. says 3.23.14

    really smart to say that.