Pin It  

When I was little I internalized a lot. I’m sure we all do. It’s human nature to take things people say to heart or to even read between the lines and perceive what they may really think or feel about you.

When I was about 9 or 10 I remember running in gym class. We must have been playing some sort of game or sprinting or something. One of the teachers began to laugh at me. It was an innocent laugh, followed by a "Roni, you just aren’t a natural runner, now are you?"

I don’t remember being particularly hurt by the comment. I didn’t cry or even care that I wasn’t "a runner." I just absorbed the statement and assumed it to be true. All through middle and high school I’d shy away from activities that involved running. In little league I’d arrive late to practice because I knew the first 10 minutes were laps around the field. I must have uttered the phrase "I can’t run." hundreds of times. It was my canned response right up until a friend challenged me to run a 5k event a little over a year and half ago.

Now, of course, I’m training for a marathon and I enjoy the time and challenge of running. I wonder if I would have realized that a lot sooner instead of waiting until my 30s if I had a different teacher.

Fast forward a few years. I had a similar experience with my writing. My Dad is a musician and routinely wrote his own songs. I loved and admired that about him. Always wanting to somehow be involved. One day I wrote him a song. Not music but lyrics. I was so proud and so excited to share it with him. When I handed over the piece of paper I could hardly contain my excitement. Instead of evaluating the song meaning or even it’s promise he immediately critiqued my grammar and spelling. I was crushed. Like the teacher who laughed at my running, I don’t think Dad was trying to be insensitive. He thought he was helping and teaching me. But at the time, I wanted to crawl into a hole.

From that moment on I declared myself a horrible writer. I would never let anyone but teachers read my words again (until now of course). The red marks and criticism paired with my inability to self-edit and spot small details reaffirmed my fear, I was a horrible writer. I still declare that I am not "a writer" and look what am I doing right at this very moment! Go figure.

The next trip down memory lane isn’t really a specific moment more like a sprinkling of one particular statement I heard throughout my teens and 20s. It is one remark that makes my blood boil. Not that this phrase was uttered to me but that this phrase even exists in our collective consciousness.

It’s the dreaded "You’d be so pretty if…" statement. You know the one, right? Tack on any "if" at the end but it mostly involves losing weight or being at a particular size. I heard it in many forms growing up from a whole host of different people. Peers, adults, bosses. The one that sticks in my mind the most happened in the office of a college summer job I had. I was 18. Working as a telemarketer and it was the first time I had an office position where I dressed up.

I remember wearing a cheap K-mart business suit. I recently lost a few pounds (it was the summertime, always a consistent dip in the scale as per my yo-yo dieting cycle) I felt like a million bucks! I did my hair, put on makeup and strutted into the office confidently.

Hanging out with "the boys" in the office (I was starkly out numbered and easily the junior of the bunch.) Somehow the conversation shifted to models and women appearances in general. It was then that I was told I’d be "really hot" if I only lost but a few pounds.

I, of course, laughed it off. Wondering if I should even be thankful to be considered "hot" at all. Now I could give a shit, but that’s much easier to say and mean at 33 then it was at 18.

Let’s do one more memory for humor’s sake. At least I find it humorous. Freshman year of college was an exciting time for me. I moved away from home. I was finally smelling the air of independence I longed after for so long. I had no idea what I was doing but I knew I was in the right place.

The year was 1994. Computers were starting to become abundant but college was my first experience using one. We didn’t have the means growing up for our own and my small catholic school was proud to have the 10-12 word processors for it’s AP english classes. Which, of course, I wasn’t in. I’m not a writer. ;)

Regardless, one of the first classes I took in college was English 101. I was stoked as my teacher was super cool. She embodied everything I thought a college professor should be. She was young, hip, and independent. I really looked up to her. One day, in her office, I brought my little 3.5 inch floppy disk with my latest paper saved on it for a critique (terrified, I should add). I go to put the disk in and it wouldn’t fit. It’s upside down! Now remember, this really is one of my first interactions with a computer. She laughs out loud and says, "wow, you really are computer illiterate, aren’t you?" I immediately agree and declare myself and techno idiot. Telling her I have no idea how to use a computer. I agree, I must be "technologically challenged" as she put it.

I believed that for a few months until I took an Intro to Computer class, aced it, and went on to earn my degree in Management Information Systems. Afterwards excelling in my Instructional TECHNOLOGY Masters program. Now I proudly declare myself a geek.

I don’t think my professor’s intention was to define me as a technology idiot but I wonder; If that was told to me when I was just a little younger and more impressionable would I have shied away from technology to the point of me avoiding it completely. And where would I be now if so? I have fun pondering that considering I have built a highly technical career over the last 10 years that I am very proud of.

My goal with this post isn’t to sling blame at people in my past for things I did or did not do in my life. It’s more about self discovery, confidence and spreading a message of self-esteem. Have you ever thought about how you define yourselves and possibly how you came to those conclusions. Do we live to others expectations of ourselves no matter if they are negative or positive. How much do other’s innocent words affect our choices and confidence. Just something I’ve been pondering lately. Please excuse the extra long wordy post. I felt like writing. :)

Tagged with:
 
  • http://foodfoodbodybody.wordpress.com/2009/08/09/lifetime-and-juliajulie/ Foodie McBody

    It’s amazing how these often “casual” statements will stay with someone for decades. I still remember walking on the HS track with one of my “friends” and she said to me, “You’re the kind of person who will always be cute, but never pretty or beautiful.” It literally took me DECADES to erase this message! And to not cringe when my husband (or anyone else) said that dreaded “C” word.

    This post really resonated with me a lot. Thanks for writing it. And GOOD FOR YOU for erasing all those messages yourself…..

  • Debbra

    I think we all carry these message in our heads and are ultimately influenced by them. Maybe we all should be more careful of what we say to others, you never know how they will be affected by what you say or how you say something. You are a GREAT writer and I really enjoy checking in to see what you have to say each day. Thanks.

  • Denise

    Roni,
    I have been reading your blog since last summer and today’s post really hit me in the head like a ton of bricks. Oh how sad it is that we allow others to tell us who we are. I am 35 and have been navigating a pretty awesome path for myself and apparently I am waiting for others to acknowledge it as if that will somehow make it valid or real. Hmmph! Well thank you for your words and also for being real. When my two little girls (3, 5) wake up I will remind them just how awesome they are at everything they do. I usually do that anyway but what is better than knowing that mom thinks you are the coolest thing in the world!

  • http://Www.niaakagenea.blogspot.com Nia

    Awesome post, Roni!

    I’ve been thinking about this lately too! I do believe comments, positive, but especially negative ones, affect all of us — even if we say they don’t.

    I’ve realized this about myself and I’m trying not to let comments get to me..

  • http://dianasbodyjourney.blogspot.com Diana

    I think we all have stories like that in our past. I can’t remember anything blatenly obvious (besides pointing out the large hips I have or the pounds I gained in middle school…while still healthy mind you). People are mean…and they don’t realize the words coming out of their mouths. But, it is nice to be stronger and not let it damage us anymore, isn’t it? Big question…how do we teach that to the younger generations? That comments like that aren’t supposed to be hurtful or defining?

  • http://www.jenncooks.com Jenn

    I think a lot of times those comments are damaging because of what’s NOT said. My grandmother used to comment that I’d be beautiful if I was thin like she was at my age… I had an uncle who used to insinuate that I was fat. When I got upset and went to my mother, her response was “well, go on a diet then.” I doubt we’d so seriously internalize those statements if there was someone else on the other side countering those comments with positive ones. I was 17 or 18 the first time I remember being called pretty. Make that 22 for the word beautiful.

    With all the outside pressure on girls to fit this ideal of beauty, we seem to have run the opposite direction to focus entirely on their skills and how capable they are, etc. I just can’t help but wonder if that’s the wrong reaction. With so much negativity out there, we all need a cheerleader at home to not only say how capable we are, but that we’re beautiful just the way we are too. Maybe other people got that growing up, but I sure didn’t, and I could have really used it. I don’t have kids yet, but someday when I have a daughter, I hope I can be that light spot for her.

  • http://ellegetsfit.wordpress.com Elle

    I think this definitely happens to everyone! Its true that the negative ones stick more than the positive ones. I can probably think of 5 mean comments and no nice ones right off the top of my head. But I can also think of some really mean comments I have said to other people, that I wish I could take back.

    It seems the comments affect us the most when we aren’t quite sure who we are and we are trying to figure it out. Someone says – you are this, or not this – and you think, hey maybe thats who I am! I think it’s just part of growing up. We just have to learn to not to care what others think or say and to do what makes us happy!

  • Kim

    Wow–this post hit the nail on the head for me for sure!!

    I wonder if we don’t subconciously set out to be successful at those things we were told we wouldn’t be. I know that’s somewhat true for me. Conversely, I have shied away from a lot “knowing” I couldn’t succeed.

    It’s amazing, though, how successful my kids are already. I make sure to tell them how awesome they are; and it’s clear they really believe it.

    Thinking back, my father was the king of negative reinforcement. And still is to this day. This is why we have no relationship.

    I’ ve been successful at work, successful as a mom, but still have so many things to work on (weight being one of them). Your post has brought some things to light for me for sure.

    Wow.

  • http://www.livinglifefully.wordpress.com Michelle

    I remember once my dad had to fill out a survey about me for one of my high school classes. I opened it and it said ‘how would you rate your child’s beauty’ he ticked ‘average’

    I have just recently forgiven him…in my mind for that.

  • http://merryperennial.blogspot.com Beth Lamb

    I look at it from the flip side, and I cringe so bad. I think of things I said and did, and the negative impact it must have had on others when that was not my intention. I intend to apologize one of these days. I hope I don’t wait too long.

    Oh, I also have many stories of the impact others’ words had on me as well. Such as people telling my sister how beautiful she is when I am right there next to her.

  • http://jer29eleven.blogspot.com Robyn

    There are parts of this blog post that I could swear were torn from a page of some diary (either mental or physical) of mine. I was told that I was “not a runner” throughout school. My gym teacher told my parents I was “the slowest runner he’d ever seen”. So I always went for the events like shotput, discus, etc – things that used my strength in other ways. But running…? No, never running. I mean I “wasn’t a runner” so that would just be a waste of time, right?

    So, that’s why joining the Running Room and doing a Learn to Run clinic is so exciting for me – because I’m not supposed to be the kind of person who does those things. I’m not supposed to “have it in me”, if I believe the voices of my past. It’s one of the least “like me” things I could do, but I figured if I was changing my life and lifestyle habits with eating and such – I was able to change in other ways as well. I always thought running was for the slim, already-healthy people. “Fat girls” like me – we don’t run, do we? A day ago, I signed up for my first 5K. I’m in the last few weeks of my training program. It took this long to start shrugging off someone else’s definition of who I am, what I am capable of. So, I run because for years I didn’t – didn’t think I could, didn’t have the confidence to try. I “absorbed it as truth” as you did. But now I am changing my “truth”. I’m proving others wrong, but more importantly, I’m proving to myself that I am capable of much more than I ever dreamed – ever allowed myself to dream.

    Sorry for that long-winded tale, but all that to say – thank you, Roni. You continue to inspire me in so many ways and continue to be someone with whom I can easily identify on a number of levels.

  • http://www.lunzygras.com lunzy a la lunzygras

    great post roni! wow, I’m sure I have a lot of statements that were said to me.

    Words make a HUGE impression, especially on children. My mom, unfortunately, doesn’t have a filter between her brain and her mouth. As a kid, it was tough. If I just wore some makeup… If I just didn’t eat another hamburger (which I wasn’t eating, btw)… If I exercised more (I was on soccer, then swimming, then cheer with stunts).. If my hair had some height (WTH? this was during my Mall Hair stage)

    I actually just had a big “discussion” with my folks on our trip out to CA last month about what you say and don’t say to kids. As a teen they had me sign a paper saying I would enjoy raising my teenage daughter. I explained that was a crappy thing to do, and screams that you DIDNT enjoy raising me. They said, no one enjoys raising a teenage girl. I couldn’t believe them. I will never have my kids feel like that. Of course their “proof” of how well they raised me is how successful and independent I am now as an adult. HA! fun times with the rents on vacation :) (they claim to still have the paper. sigh)

    I always make sure to try and focus on the positive things my kids do and be encouraging. It makes us better parents right? ;)

  • pam

    I know without a doubt that we have all had these moments. We have also had the moments where someone compliments us and we remember that statement or compliment forever. Both can determine the path many of us take in life or how we percieve ourselves. Isn’t it AMAZING that one person’s comment can have that much power? I am a teacher and I really have to daily evaluate if I tried to “lift someone up” or “tear someone down”. It is something I think we all need to be conscious about, especially to our children.

  • Jennifer

    Thanks for sharing your stories Roni. I have scenes from my own growing-up years that are so similar… comments by teachers, unexpected reactions from mom and dad, judgments from peers… that were huge stumbling blocks in my personal growth. Funny how it takes a few years before we can see things for what they were and realize that we aren’t bound by the words that were spoken over us. Your post today was really encouraging and empowering — I really appreciate your willingness to be authentic and transparent!

  • http://healthyskinny.blogspot.com/ Carolyn

    I had some suspicions before, but now I know. We have the same job! :) I’m an instructional designer at a University. LOL

  • http://www.fittothefinish.com/blog Diane, Fit to the Finish

    I too carry a lot of messages from my childhood, and from the time I struggled with obesity. For me, my faith, a supportive husband, and some hard work helped overcome the hurtful messages.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  • http://www.andreaswellnessnotes.com Andrea@WellnessNotes

    I can really relate to this post. There are so many “casual” messages that I have heard that had a huge impact. I was told in second grade (I can still remember the moment like it was yesterday) that I was not athletic. Despite becoming a competitive athlete in high school and being actually good at it, I always thought of myself as not athletic, especially when it came to trying new things. I would think since I wasn’t athletic I couldn’t possibly be good at it. I have finally started to let go of a lot of these thoughts and look at how much I enjoy all kinds of sports.

    I also heard early on that I was a perfectionist. While I probably did show some of these qualities early on, I think being labeled, “made” me more of a perfectionist. It took me a long time (and I’m still working on it) to let go of a lot of my perfectionist thoughts and actions…

    I wonder how being called one thing or another has affected/will affect my children. What can I do to help them to not internalize everything they hear? I try to raise them with a good sense of self. But these messages are out there and could have a much bigger impact than they (or I) realize… A lot to think about…

  • http://hernewweigh.blogspot.com Anne Marie

    Awesome post, as always, Roni. I am so thankful that you continue to write. I know that I wouldn’t have challenged myself without seeing what you have overcome.

  • http://itallchanges.wordpress.com Cynthia (it all changes)

    I too take things really personally even if people don’t mean them that way. I got the runner statement too and it took me until I was 25 to think I could even attempt to run. And I was told I’d always be fat so I just didn’t think to really lose the weight healthy until now. It’s strange how seemingly insignifcant things to other people can really effect us.

  • http://littlempknits.blogspot.com Melissa

    I’m new to your blog but wanted to comment. I just started trying to train for a 5K. Like you, I “am not a runner” because I was made fun of growing up for being knock kneed. It wasn’t overly obvious unless I was running and then I couldn’t control it. Now I’m older and don’t really care what people think (as much) and I’m kind of mad at myself that I let myself get this far without even trying because of comments from other people.

    Love your blog BTW and I’m definitely bookmarking it.

  • http://www.emilyeats.com Emily

    Hi Roni,
    This post rang true for me in so many ways! New to your blog I was actually swept away by how quickly engrossed and carried along I am by your writing. I recall back in Physical Ed classes that I was in the lead in a long distance race, and was overtaken right at the end, but the teacher cheered that girl on and totally ignored my effort. I pretty much stopped running then. It’s as much my reaction to that as what actually happened, but it’s interesting how these little events can shape us.
    Have a great day,
    Emily.

  • http://www.medicinalmarzipan.com mara

    awesome post roni! its amazing how many people think that they can say things out loud like, you’d be so hot if you lost a couple… I remember hearing that and feeling the exact same way. I think that posts like this one are super super important for girls that age to read, because it is such a common experience.
    thank you for sharing!

  • http://cattywampuslife.com Steph.

    This topic always facinates me–our self-perceptions versus reality. I took one of those FB quizzes for the Myers Briggs test yesterday and commented I was surprised because I’ve moved from being in the “I” category (introverted) early in my 20s to now in the “E” category (extroverted) years later. Someone commented back that they tought of me as an extrovert with a capital E! Really? And this is someone who knew me back when I was an “I” by the test standards. The things people say can affect how we think of ourselves, but also our own self-perceptions may not be how others see us either! Go figure!

  • http://notime2weight.wordpress.com Michelle in CA

    For my entire life I have let negative comments take center stage in my head (with all of the positive ones taking a backseat).

    For example, my parents gave me lots of compliments growing up but on one occasion my dad mentioned my weight (I was 15) and *that’s* the comment that stands out the most in my mind. Same goes with other family members, co-workers, etc. I wonder why that is? I have never truly thought about this before I read your post – why the positive comments over my life haven’t prevailed over the fewer negative ones?

    Is this human nature? Or just me being overly-sensitive?

  • SMK

    Great post Roni!

    It is so interesting how these little things that people tell you as you are growing up really stick with you and can shape who you are in a positive or negative way.

    I feel like sharing so here are a couple of my stories:

    When I was a kid I was very sensitive. My automatic response to most conflict was to cry. My two older sisters always made comments about how ‘weak’ I was. My much older sister got divorced when I was 12 and I was very close with her husband. When he would come by our house to try and talk to her they would never let me be the one to turn him away at the door because I was ‘too weak’ to handle the situation. I’m sure that neither of my sisters gave much thought to saying that to me but from that moment on I really worked hard to be as emotionless (ie. strong) as possible. So began my unhealthy behavior of hiding my feelings. Even into my 20′s I was this way. I was unable to open up to anyone even the people I cared about most. I was told I didn’t care. I was called cold, closed off, emotionally unavailable but in my mind at least I was strong. A few years ago, some events in my life made me realize that I couldn’t go on hiding my feelings anymore and its been a work in progress ever since. The most important thing is that I feel comfortable enough with myself to be able to show my emotions and not worry about the judgments people make about it. I know who I am and I know I am strong…even if I cry sometimes :)

    On a more positive note, I was recalling this morning on my way to work a conversation I had in high school with an Algebra teacher whose name I cannot even remember. Its important to realize that at my high school graduating without being pregnant or having a child was a big accomplishment. Many of our teachers did the best they could and didn’t expect much from us as far as our futures were concerned. During High School, I was a slacker who hung out with the wrong crowd yet my grades were good and I never felt like I needed to try too hard. Well this forgotten algebra teacher was talking to me one day and asked what I was planning after high school. He told me that I should consider doing something with math since it came so easily for me. I most likely said a smart ass comment to him or I blew him off. Funny thing is, that was the first time anyone had ever drawn attention to my math skills and apparently it stuck with me because I went on to become an electrical engineer and I went through ALOT of math to get where I am today.

    Another thing is that to this day I HATE when someone tells me I can’t do something. There is no bigger motivator for me than that. I have accomplished many things against the odds over the years and to this day I still feel like the underdog.

    Thanks for your blog Roni!

  • http://lilmisshungry.blogspot.com Priscilla

    What a great post, Roni! I remember being in 7th grade and having to run the mile during PE class and one of the 8th grade boys made a comment about the way I ran. That comment has stuck with me ever since. It has made me self conscious about my body and the way it looks while working out, especially running. I’m about to turn 30 and I’m realizing stupid comments like his have had a hold on my self image for far too long. I’m finally learning to embrace my womanly curves and be proud of my shape.

  • Allison

    Roni, love this post! I have had so many of those moments myself that have held me back until recently. I am a nursing student and see people with all sorts of ailments holding them back from life…life is meant to be lived! We gotta take what we are given and roll with it!

  • anna

    thanks for a wonderful post, as usual! i think POSITIVE comments have shaped my beliefs and life path; i am from the south where beauty reigns and good looks is your meal ticket and you go to college only to get your Mrs. degree (find your husband and then drop out) so when i, along with my beauty, “dare” to also be intelligent and successful and smart i am not taken seriously and have to constantly struggle to prove myself and deal with “who did she sleep with to get her job” or “when you get past the great hair and pretty face you ARE smart” comments! oh! and girls are NEVER supposed to sweat so i could be the sweetheart or cheerleader for sports teams ,but never actually PLAY sports! i think i have always padded myself with extra weight to try and get people to see me for my talent, intellect, etc RATHER than my pretty face! especially now as i approach 40 i think: by golly i AM the total package and i better show it while i still got it! great post that made me reflect; love your site! keep up the great work; you FABULOUS, WRITING RUNNER, you!

  • http://sunbeamsanddragonflies.blogspot.com Andria

    I was really struck by this post, mostly because it is amazing to me that people can react in such different ways from each other. Like you, I have heard things like that from various sources my whole life. I think everyone does to some extent. And I imagine that for most people, those experiences are embarassing, hurtful, and long lasting. Myself included.

    I think the difference lies in our reactions to those comments. When you hear them, you instantly believe whatever it is that you’ve been told. When I hear them, I instantly take offense and it becomes a personal challenge to prove them wrong.

    The thing is, I’ve never been able to overcome the hard feelings that come with the comments, even after I’ve proved them wrong. I’m still working on that.

    Forgiveness is hard, whether it is forgiving ourselves or forgiving someone who hurt us. And that kind of damage is long lasting.

  • http://waistingduxie.blogspot.com/ Alison

    Excellent post Roni, I find myself dwelling on those types of comments all the time. STILL and I know better now, however sometimes those things just stick. Worse I think are the ones we tell ourselves when we fail, I have tried to work on getting past my own self imposed limits but its hard at times. As for the you’d be so pretty comments OMG how can people not know those have an impact, I can’t count the number of times I heard those. Thanks for the post I think I will re-examine some of these long held beliefs again.

  • http://hopesjourneytohealthy.blogspot.com Hope

    Roni,

    I can totally relate. If I remember, I’ve written a few posts on the same subject. I admit, I’ve always been a sensitive person, when I was younger, and I still am. I still carry with me some of the things that people have said to me in the past. It’s incredible how something like a few casual words can affect your whole life, self-image and confidence.

    In a way, it’s good, because it makes me more careful of what I say to people.

    Also, I love what Jillian Michaels says about it: People who put you down about your body/looks etc, that’s thier problem, thier issues. Not yours.

    Anyway, great post.

  • http://she-fit.com She-Fit

    WOW! What a great post. This hits home on so many different levels. I have lived my life by what others say about me and just recently I have started to discover who I really am, not defined by others. Thank you so much for this post!

  • elle

    Your post definitely rings true with me. I’m nearing the 30 mark and feel I have been reevaluating things that have happened to me to this point in my life. And it’s those little remarks that you heard from teachers, friends, parents, that really shape you, negative or not. It’s frustrating that you don’t realize how much damage those negative comments were to your development as a person until much later on. I guess all we can do is learn from them and going forward trust and listen to yourself before anyone else. That’s what I’ve been trying to do, it can be tough, but it’s gotten easier w/ practice. And I’ve noticed that my self esteem is getting much more stable as time goes on. Who cares what people think, just love who you are!

  • http://www.amerrylife.com Mary @ A Merry Life

    Roni I love how you so easily self analyze and pinpoint those incidents that made an impact on you. It’s fascinating how we all let other people define us. I guess as we get older we realize that we are the ones who get to do the defining. Its a shame we waste so many years believing we aren’t runners or writers or computer geeks just because someone told us we weren’t. Great post, I love it.

  • http://katycracker.blogspot.com Katy

    Roni, It seems as if these things that were said to you have led you to your choices today. What I mean is, they may have been a little challenge waiting for you in the back of your mind. Interesting stuff when you sit down and think about it! BTW…with the core value eating post…did you have any good ideas for core value rewards?

  • Sarah

    Roni-

    Thank you for this post. I am also one who loves to prove them wrong. You are awesome.

  • Colleen

    I love this post Roni! Eighteen years ago when I was 50+ pounds less than what I weigh now my boyfriend at the time and I were going to a picnic. I thought I looked good wearing a pink shirt and nice pink shorts. He said (while at the picnic), “Oh you are wearing shorts? I wish you wore pants.” Ever since then I have never worn shorts in public because I thought if my boyfriend didn’t think I should wear shorts I better not wear them.” What an excellent post! It’s nice to know how so many of us take these words people say to heart. I’m almost 50 and I still do! But I did learn a lesson in that I really watch what I say to other people. I never want to cause them to feel the same negative feelings and I hope I haven’t done that to anyone else. I want them always to remember the positive things I say.

  • Cathy

    You know I think I’m going to take up running. I spent the evening going back and forth on the issue and had landed upon the decision that I’d wait a year until I’m fitter.

    You just changed my mind. Thank you.

  • Jeri

    Hi Roni,

    I just wanted to say “thanks”. I know you hear that alot, but hopefully everytime makes you feel good. You are such an inspiration to me & i’m sure to tons of other people. You really make me think & I want you to know how happy I am when I get to work long on my computer & see I have a new e-mail from you.

    Again, you are an inspiration & keep up the awesome work. I think we all understand you’re very busy right now with all you’ve taken on, but I look forward to any information & advice you have to post whenever you are able to find the time.

    Thanks again,
    Jeri

  • McLauren84

    I once had a friend tell me I looked like a cross between rosie o’donnell and roseanne. Pretty hard to hear as an appearance-obsessed 12 year old! These casual comments can do serious damage, as that comment still hurts me today, despite my attempts to let it go.

    Thanks for sharing, Roni, as always. Keep on churning out your fabulous writing and proving you can do anything!

  • Krista S.

    LOVE this post.

  • http://www.blogtolose.com/profile/Lou Lou

    Well Roni, you went real deep today girl. Excellent thoughts and glad you are not holding resentment toward these people in your life as their ignorance should be forgiven. Of course we have all had either negative people or negative reactions from people in our lives. It is just human nature. The important thing is to make our experiences (in our journey of life) learning opportunities. Hence, “If life hands you lemons, make lemonade”, as per Dale Carnegie. This way, these events in our lives will help us in our future to make better choices in our journeys. We hope I am sure that there is a positive behind the negatives, right?

    Let’s see if I can add an addendum to your insightful profound post.

    “Compassion is the capacity for what it is like to live inside someone else’s skin. It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy for you too.” ~ Frederick Buechner

  • http://www.thefabulousfatties.com Angie

    Great post! Words are more powerful than most ever imagine. Thank you for the reminder… I am so sarcastic I always need reminding. It is also interesting to ponder how those things really affect us.

    XO
    Angie

  • Becca

    Thank you, Roni. When I was younger I definitely let others define who I was far too often. I’m not sure I even realized it was so profound until I read your post with tears in my eyes!

    Although my daughter is only 3, I try so hard not to label her because I want her to decide for herself who she is and what she wants to be. I’ll always love her no matter what path she takes and THAT is what I want her to know and feel.

  • Jackie

    This speaks to me. I believe all to often I let what other people think affect me. I am at the beginning of what I hope is a weight loss journey. Reading about your own experience (and wild success) has helped. You are an inspiration to many. Thank you for sharing.

    I also wanted to be a writer as I grew up. People told me that it was no way to earn a living….and I gave up on that dream. I never write anymore. Maybe I should give that another shot…….:)

  • http://blueberryhilblog.wordpress.com Hil

    It’s amazing the things that I’ve just unquestioningly absorbed. I was just talking with someone about the fact that I absorbed the idea in high school that I couldn’t do math, which, based on all outside indicators, was completely untrue.

  • Helen

    Hi Roni,
    I have been a silent observer of your site ( by the way I love your sites). But, I just wanted to say thank you for this blog. I grew up in an environment where I was constantly told I was stupid, and that I would look prettier it I would just loose some weight. These are the thing that at age 35 I still believe, today! It is sad what peoples word can do to a person– these were my own parents. I still am trying to work on my weight, I loose some then have kids and regain. I never did good in high school because I never applied myself. I just went on proving what I was told. I am now going back to college. I am married, work full-time and have three kids. Last term I made Honor Roll. I am sadly now realizing that I am not stupid. Your blog brought me to happy tears of realization. Thank you!!! I have a wonderful husband that has helped my esteem a lot but sometimes it takes the words of someone you don’t know to move you a bit further.

  • http://db-deborahsday.blogspot.com/ Deborah

    2 things stick in my mind.. My mom referring to my hips as saddlebags.. I still to this day look at myself in the mirror and see huge hips.. no matter what size I am..
    and a friend once told my I was a blender.. I asked her what she meant and she said I always blend in.. I took it as nothing special about me.. But I believe she is so wrong and she was trying to bring me down… Took a few years but I overcame that one.. okay I still think about it sometimes..
    Great post

  • Jenny

    I love going between your blog and another ladies blog who I love. both of you give me hope. I have struggled for years with wanting to lose weight. Thank you for keeping up with your blog.
    Visit http://www.getupandgetmoving.net
    You both motivate me to keep trying.

    Thank you

  • http://brandandmarket.com chris brown

    So how can we avoid making those mistakes? I try to help, and then say the wrong thing.

    And I remember when people would say the wrong thing to me and I vowed never to do it to someone else.

    How is it that this happens? How to break the cycle??

  • http://ronisweigh.com roni

    Such good questions.. but alas I haven’t the answers. :)

    I think just by being aware that your words really do affect people is a huge start.

  • Tabitha

    Thanks for the post Roni. You really can never take back a hurtful word. I try to specifically praise my students every day. I’m glad u broke out of the “stereotypes” people put on you in your life!

  • chicken soup

    I loved this post because I could REALLY relate to it. The sad thing is, I am your age, and unlike you, I really still have not come to terms with some of these sorts of comments from others, as well as my own ideas about my lack of abilities. They have become like permanent “tattoos” in my brain, and I just don’t know how to get rid of them.
    I feel helpless, because there are many things I want to do and I just feel like I “can’t” and I have no idea how to shake that feeling.

  • chicken soup

    Thank you so much for this blog

  • http://www.wordupwallart.etsy.com Sunny

    Glad to be reading these posts on “I can’t” and this memory/self esteem post. I too had a very similar experience in high school when in PE class. In tenth grade I started at a new school in January. This meant new friends and new teachers. My gym class teacher was an overweight, middle-aged man. He too laughed at me when I began to run and stated something like, “girl, hasn’t anybody ever taught you to run?” I was not only embarrassed, but decided from that point on, not to run because I ‘couldn’t’ do it right. Go figure. I’m now in my thirties, looking to lose weight, and continually tell my “runner” friends that “I can’t run”. My dad even makes comments about my 6 yr old being ‘just like her momma’ (running funny).
    Thanks for the reminder that we can believe in ourselves, even if no one else does:) I think I may just give it a try, one step at a time. That’s all anyone can do, right?

  • http://www.wordupwallart.etsy.com Sunny

    Oops, meant to click on the subscribe box:)

  • Tina

    I stumbled across this post today. I think it’s a great one. I too have received the same comment “You could be a model IF you just lost weight” from countless number of people – even my best friend’s parents one time. In high school my dad once told me that I “would be SO pretty if…” and my step mom jumped in and asked him “Why can’t you tell her she’s pretty now?” My face turns red and I smile like an idiot, as though they just gave me a compliment. Later I always bawl my eyes out – it angers and saddens me that all these people have no idea how their words remain with us years later. It took meeting my wonderful boyfriend at age 22 (now my hubby) to believe I was beautiful just as I am. Again, excellent post and excellent reminder to believe in ourselves.

  • Carol Goldhagen

    I love this particular post Roni! It really hit me like a ton of bricks. Your honesty & ability to express these thoughts give me so much inspiration. Thank you for all you do & share. Adore you even though we’ve never met face to face. You are such a wonderful person.

BlogToLose

A Community of Weight Loss Bloggers. We are here to support, cheer on, pick up and reach our goals together! Join Us!
Check out Roni's Other Sites... Just Roni | GreenLiteBites | The Unworldly Travelers | FitBloggin' | BlogToLose | SkinnyMinnyMedia