Do women know how terrible it sounds when they put themselves down constantly? I didn’t. In my early twenties I was notorious for the put downs to myself. Usually it was about my weight. What’s ridiculous is that I wasn’t overweight!! So what did I get out of it? Reassurance from people and friends. When I complained that I was overweight they always responded with, “No, you’re not!”. And then I’d feel better. For a minute! As I got older, I joked that I knew I was getting fat for real when people stopped responding with that line – looking back they were probably just sick and tired of my belly aching.
I remember when I was around fifteen, I was with my friends talking to a boy. There was a dance that night and my friends and I were talking about what we were going to wear. I laid out my usual line, “I don’t know what to wear. I’m soo faaat.” (you might as well imagine a whiny tone, too) The boy replied, “Yah, ya could lose about ten pounds. Then you’d be hot”. I was shocked into silence. Then I spent the next hour soliciting reassurances from my friends. “Do YOU think I could lose ten pounds? What a jerk, heh?”
My put downs have decreased over the years. My first eye opener was The Celestine Prophesy. When I first read the book, I identified with the Poor Me role trying to steal energy in the form of complements. That’s me! I thought. I had never looked at it that way before, but, unfortunately becoming aware of something doesn’t just make it go away. I still have some work to do.
These days my self admonishments are about my abilities as a mom and homeschooler. I have one friend, in particular, who calls me on it. Hi, G! In the middle of a conversation she’ll just stop me and say, I think you’re being a little hard yourself there.
What I realized after I read that book is that it’s exhausting to be around someone who hurls insults at themselves. As the listener, you’re put into an awkward position and at the very least it’s boring.
I got on this train of thought when I was watched a show on the making of a theatre production and group called “Women Fully Clothed“. It’s made up of five women comedians. This real “reality” show revealed how the group was formed, how they developed and tweaked the script together, and the little nuances of their relationships. It was so interesting and the theatrical production looks funny. During the different conversations there was one lady (Jayne Eastwood) who was constantly putting herself down. Because she’s a comedian she did it in the form of jokes. It was funny at first, but by the 10th time, it was like – enough already! Watching and listening to her it was so obvious how crappy she felt about herself. Or that’s what was portrayed. If she actually feels great about herself then she quit it with the put-down jokes. Even in this group photo she’s basically hiding herself. I truly hope that by the time I’m her age I’m fully over this insecurity bull shit.