I still remember one particular day like it was yesterday. I was a freshman in college and my mom and siblings had taken a trip to my grandparent’s house (who lived near my college) to see all of us. One of the nights we were there, I locked myself in the same yellow room I always stayed in and the tears I’d been holding in for years finally came pouring out. I may have been PMSing (I can’t remember), but I know this problem was something I’d held on to far too long and my emotions were bound to explode at some point. I guess they decided this was the time to do it.
I was terrified to ask my mom for help with this particular issue, but I knew I needed her help. Once I called her into the room and she sat at the foot of my bed, I finally said the anxiety-inducing words, “I have something to tell you.” I’m pretty sure she thought I got kicked out of college or something else of a more serious nature (sorry, Mom!) What I had to say was still serious, though. In fact, it’s extremely heartbreaking that most people have these types of thoughts running through their heads on the daily.
I finally mustered up the courage to sputter out the words, “I have a big nose.”
Truth be told, I was mostly scared to share this with her because I had never acknowledged this to another person before and I was scared that once I did acknowledge it, it would make it true. I was also worried that whoever I shared it with would agree with me and the small part of me that thought it might not be true would be smashed to bits. It sounds silly, but I almost liked being in denial about it. In fact, I’d spent most of my life not even realizing I had a slightly larger-than-normal nose. I didn’t even have a clue until I overheard my “best friend” in high school describe me as “the girl with the big nose,” when she was trying to explain who I was to someone. That was really fun to hear!
We’ve All Been There
The truth is that we’ve all been there. We’ve all had something nasty said about us or hated a part of ourselves after seeing how we compare to others. This happened to my little sister when someone told her she had gorilla arm hair (and oh boy, did I want to give that rude little 2nd grader a piece of my mind!). It happened to my husband when kids at school called him chubby. It’s happened to every celebrity and Youtuber ever (I mean just look at their comment sections for crying out loud).
I could go down the list of people I know and guarantee that they’ve had a similar moment in some way, shape, or form. Even if no one’s ever outright told us what’s wrong with us, the media and social media sites do a great job of making it clear what exactly we should look like. When we don’t fit that “mold,” we get down on ourselves.
Of course, when I told my mom that I thought I had a big nose, she did what any great mom would do and said that 1. I didn’t have one 2. that I was beautiful and 3. that my “best friend” was a horrible friend for saying that. But even though my mom did her best to counter those negative beliefs, I still believed them. Sometimes I still do.
Body Confidence Isn’t All About Weight
Since that incident, my hatred for my nose has gone down quite a bit. I’ve pretty much accepted that it’s a bit bigger-than-normal and have decided that I don’t care too much about that. But there are still days when I hate it… and when I hate other parts of my body too- some parts that others have made me self-conscious of and others that I’ve probably imagined up myself.
I actually didn’t realize how severe my body image issues were because none of the things I’m self-conscious about have anything to with my weight and body confidence has become pretty synonymous with feeling overweight. Whenever I heard a podcast or saw a vulnerable IG post about “body confidence issues,” I skipped right on past because I didn’t think it was applicable to me since I wasn’t concerned about my weight. All the while, I was having severe body confidence issues of a different nature.
I don’t want to dismiss that weight is one of the main causes of body confidence issues, but it’s not the only thing people are extremely self-conscious about. I was comparing myself to girls who were skinny, “healthy” looking, and overweight, thinking things like, “At least you don’t have thin hair, a big forehead, and a large nose.” I would often think things like, “I was literally given every bad feature possible.” At times, I couldn’t see anything good about myself (even my weight bothered me at times, but not as much as other things). I may not have been as worried about my weight, but my negative beliefs were just as crippling as someone struggling with weight issues.
A lot of us are pretty quick to defend people who are overweight but don’t seem to have that same respect for someone with a big nose, a lot of acne, “terrible” taste in style, or an extra skinny stature. I think defending those who are overweight is a good start, but we should continue that narrative when it comes to any “looks based” (and personality based) gossip or critique. We’re all insecure about different things, and no one thing is more difficult to deal with than another.
Good People Don’t Care What You Look Like
Fortunately (and by my own wise decision), I married someone who makes me feel so very beautiful. But whenever I leave our home, my absolute “safe space,” all of that confidence tends to go down the drain. I’m suddenly surrounded by people who aren’t in love with me like my husband is- people who judge, critique, and aren’t always looking for the best in those around them. It can be scary to put yourself out there for the world to judge.
And yes, social anxiety definitely plays a big part in how much I worry about what others are thinking of me. I used to think I was only worried about how others perceived my personality until I realized that I was pretty self-conscious about my looks, as well (hence why I don’t take or post many pictures on social media). I’m often irrationally worried about how others are perceiving me. And yes, it’s totally irrational.
Here’s why (listen close because this was a huge wake-up call for me):
Most people honestly do not care what you’re doing or what you look like. If someone is the type of person who cares about what others are doing or what they look like, they’re not a good person (at least not at the moment, with that kind of attitude) and therefore do not matter anyway. It’s a pretty simple concept that most of us have probably been taught, but when I relearned this concept more in-depth in the book I’m reading right now, How to Be Yourself, it really slapped me in the face (in a good way)!
Stop Worrying- Good People Will See the Good In You (And They’re the Only Ones Who Matter)
My favorite people to be around are the ones who I know aren’t judging me- the ones I can wear yoga pants and no makeup around. The ones who love me for me and aren’t judging the way I look. The ones I know aren’t whispering to the person next to them, “Looks like she gained some weight,” or “Her nose is GINORMOUS.” Good people don’t say things like that. They just don’t (and if they do, they regret it later).
Good people see the good in other people. So, if someone isn’t willing to see the good in you, their opinion literally does. not. matter. Plus, I’m 100% positive they’re going around doing the exact same thing they do to you, to other people. Why should someone so negative about everything and everyone have so much power over how you feel about yourself?
I’m not an expert on this. Heck, I’m not even 100% practicing what I’m preaching yet (cause it’s gonna take lots of practice), but I think these messages are so important. That body confidence issues come in all shapes and forms and that good people do not care what you look like. Surround yourself with good people and when you can’t (because it’s not possible to), remember that the “bad,” judgey, critiquey people don’t matter. They’re going to find a reason to critique and tear down others no matter what. And that’s their problem, not yours. Please, please don’t let it become your problem!
I Want to Hear From You!
There’s still so much for me to learn about this and body confidence in general, but realizing that good people won’t care what I look like has been a game-changer for me. It’s helped me go from, “What is this person thinking of me?” to, “Who cares what they’re thinking. If they’re someone whose opinion I care about, I’m sure they’re trying to think the best of me.” I hope this can help you shift your thoughts, as well! What’s helped you stop caring so much about what others think of you? And what are some body issues you struggle with? I’d love to hear about your struggles and what you’ve learned from them in the comments below!