On Being Short - A Life of Insecurity and Upward Comparison
Face It, You're Short
The phrase, "everyone is different" has been utilized to coddle and comfort us as kids, and it can still be heard as we progress into adulthood. While this fact may appear obvious, some people get so caught up in daily living that they forget to remind themselves of it, and, more importantly, they forget to accept it. We're all built differently; our characteristics vary greatly, creating the "melting pot" of a world that we live in. Unfortunately, these differences can make us feel insecure about ourselves, which can cause problems if left unchecked. Some differences or insecurities, such as obesity, can be changed. Changing this type of issue is never easy, and while an obese person may be more genetically inclined to be obese, it is something about them that they have the possibility to change. In an agreeably twisted sense, those people are lucky; they can change what they don't like about themselves. Others, such as the "vertically challenged" are not so lucky. In my experience, height seems to be a hot topic when it comes to one's insecurities. (While I am not specifically referring to those faced with dwarfism or midgetism, I am not ignoring them completely.) Height is a characteristic that can't be changed, and where you end up on the height scale is usually where you stay. If you're someone who has to live with a not-so-ideal stature, then I can tell you that you are definitely not alone. If you'd like to learn to accept your height, then hopefully this article will help. There's just one thing I ask of you; face it, you're short.
Why Does Height Matter?
No matter what your philosophy regarding inner/outer beauty is, it can be very difficult to shake the feeling of inadequacy when standing next to someone a full six inches taller than you. This feeling grows as the difference in height between you and the taller person increases. Personally, being taller tends to portray a position of power or authority, a certain coolness, and a sense of being "smooth". To put things into perspective, I am 17 years old, and I stand at around 5'7" at a healthy 140lbs. I am not overly lanky, frail, thin, or thick in build; I'm just proportionally smaller. One of my good friends of the same age, I'll refer to him as Ted, is bigger, to say the least. He's around 6'0, maybe pushing 6'1", and about 160lbs. Ted is clearly lanky; a true rubber-band man. The interesting thing about Ted and his lank is that he did not realize how truly tall he is until recently. I came across a current picture of him and four friends standing in a line with Ted in the middle. He had both arms around his friends, and his fingertips almost reached the outside shoulder of the end guy on both sides.He laughed when I brought this to his attention, silently realizing that he was as tall as people tell him. There are some simple things that Ted can do, that I cannot, simply due to our height. One of these things is "driving" with a knee. (I use "driving" lightly-it's more like small steering.) This is something I just can't do because of my height, and trying would just put me in an awkward position in the seat. This, along with many other small things, and the fact that I just look so darn small next to him, make me feel insecure about myself. Some people say that height is not an important factor in life, but I beg to differ.
Height is a large part of first impressions, and can directly influence what we think about new people. For example: You just got a new job at a well-known and local corporation. While sitting in the lobby, waiting to meet with your new boss, you see a man walk in through the front doors. He is dressed appropriately to work there, and he is not in a rush, but he walks with purpose. You notice that he is a bit on the short side, roughly 5'7", and he is at a healthy weight for his height. Shortly after the man passes, you are called up to your boss' office, and the man behind the desk is the same man that walked through the lobby. Let's run a similar scenario where the only difference is that the man is taller, roughly 6'1. Chances are, the taller man was thought of more highly than the shorter man prior to knowing his position in the corporation. This becomes problematic for those of us who are short; we sometimes become paranoid, for lack of a better word. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves, there is something we can do about being short.
How Do I Fix It?
The first step in fixing how you feel about your height is, as mentioned earlier, to accept it. People enjoy being around people who have self-confidence. Be the best short(er) person you can be! Use some other personality trait to your advantage, or, in other words, compensate for your height. That doesn't mean you need to have the fastest car or the biggest house or any kind of material item to ensure people ignore your stature, just be a pleasant person. If you wish to appear taller, without any outrageous solutions, artofmanliness.com has a great article on dressing taller and other style tips for short men (sorry, ladies).
Living life as a short person in a tall world can be difficult, but no one has ever said that success is linked to height. No matter how short you are, be honest, respectful, polite, and humble, and you should never feel insecure about your height again.