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Do You Have a Positive Self-Image?

Updated on June 2, 2014

From J.k. Rowlings

Let me share a wonderful quote with you, and then we’ll set about tackling this issue of self-image.

“I’ve got two daughters who will have to make their way in this skinny-obsessed world, and it worries me, because I don’t want them to be empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones. I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny….a thousand things before ‘thin.’ And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking Chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do.”

The first time I read that quote I howled with laughter. Once the fun of “Chihuahua flatulence” had worn off, I decided this is a subject that needs to be written about. And so I shall!

I was a runt in school. I stood a lofty five feet two when I entered high school, and there I remained, in all my shortness, until after my sophomore year, when suddenly I grew seven inches. I was convinced, those first two years of high school, that if I could only grow taller, the other kids would accept me and even (crossing fingers) like me.

Not true!

Later, I was convinced that if I dressed like them, and combed my hair like them, and talked like them, then I would be accepted.

Not true!

I had not yet discovered the secret.

School is a tough place for those with image problems
School is a tough place for those with image problems | Source

As a Teacher

Imagine my surprise, as a teacher ten years later, to discover that things had not changed all that much around the schoolyards of America. There were still kids desperately trying to keep up with the “in crowd,” and failing miserably, and because they were failing miserably, they themselves were miserable.

Imagine my surprise to discover, ten years after that, the same was true.

And ten years later the same was true.

My teaching career spanned from 1978 to 2010, and despite the changes in society, and the norms that spawn from it, there was always that constant societal malady of poor self-image among students.

They came from good parents and they came from poor parents. They came from riches and poverty, support and neglect, love and abuse. Poor self-image had no boundaries. It was a true democratic illness, infecting the young and the old, unmindful of sex, and that is still true today.

Learning to love myself at twelve was not easy
Learning to love myself at twelve was not easy | Source

Do you have self image issues?

See results

A Definition to Work With

Webster defines self-image as:

“the way you think about yourself and your abilities or appearance”

Taking this definition a bit further, we find that self-image may consist of three different types:

  1. Self-image resulting from how the individual sees himself or herself.
  2. Self-image resulting from how others see the individual.
  3. Self-image resulting from how the individual perceives others see him or her.

A complicated topic for sure, for none of us lives in a bubble. We cannot avoid outside stimuli, and we cannot avoid our own minds. Am I too fat? Am I too skinny? Am I attractive, intelligent, weak, a coward, ugly, and on and on we go, and where it stops, nobody knows?

How many of you reading this have self-image problems? In other words, how many of you have a negative self-image? There is a poll to the right of this section. Feel free to be truthful and cast a vote.

Is this normal? Do we all see ourselves as less than, or lacking, or comparing poorly? And by whose standards do we judge ourselves? Do we not live up to our own standards? Do we not live up to our friends’ standards? Do we perceive that we are falling short, or are we really falling short, and does it make one damned difference?

Would You like to Hear a Horror Story?

No, I’m sure you wouldn’t, but I’m going to share one with you anyway.

I had a student….let’s call her Trish. She was a gorgeous young woman when I taught her in high school. I’m not just saying that. All the teachers thought she was stunning. High cheek bones, beautiful figure, flowing golden locks, she had it all.

But she couldn’t see it.

Trish was convinced that she was too fat, so she set out to correct that imperfection.

Anorexia.

Death.

End of horror story.

At the age of twenty-two, Trish died from difficulties stemming from anorexia. She had basically starved herself, and her system shut down, and the world lost another wounded member of our human race.

Would you like to hear another?

Let’s call him Steve. He was a loner when I had him in middle school. Likeable kid but a loner nonetheless. Nothing changed in high school. Steve had several friends, but none terribly close. For the most part he spent his days and nights writing powerfully dark journal entries and playing video games.

On a bitterly cold night in January, Steve hung himself in the garage and died.

His journal was filled with entries about how stupid he was, how ugly he was, how unloved and disliked he was.

Steve was twenty-one when he decided that death was an improvement over life.

So Where Does Poor Self-image Come From?

A tough question for sure, one that has been debated for centuries, but most experts agree that poor, and positive, self-image is greatly influenced by the type of childhood we have. Several factors can lead to a poor self-image during the childhood years:

  • Being harshly criticized
  • Being physically, sexually, or emotionally abused
  • Being ignored, ridiculed, or teased
  • Being expected to be perfect all the time. People with low self-esteem were often given messages—from parents, teachers, peers, or others—that failed experiences (losing a game, getting a poor grade, etc.) were failures of their whole self

This is not a complete list, but it definitely points to factors that play a huge role in determining how we will see ourselves in later years. And of course, this leads to the following reactions as we grow older:

  • create anxiety, stress, loneliness, and increased likelihood of depression
  • cause problems with friendships and romantic relationships
  • seriously impair academic and job performance
  • lead to increased vulnerability to drug and alcohol abuse

After years of hard work, today I do love myself
After years of hard work, today I do love myself | Source

So What Do We Do About It?

There are no easy answers. The self-help gurus will tell us that we must learn to love ourselves. We must learn to talk to others about our negative feelings, and we must surround ourselves with supportive people who will foster our growth and reinforce our positive attributes.

All well and good, but certainly easier said than done.

Earlier in this article, I mentioned that, while in high school, I had not yet discovered the secret to a positive self-image.

I’ll be glad to share it with you now. It may not make some of you happy, and it is, again, infinitely easier to write it than live it, but here it is…..

Happiness is an inside job, and so is self-image.

It begins by walking to the nearest mirror, looking at your reflection, and stating in no uncertain terms that you are every bit as good as anyone else….not better, but certainly not worse. It begins with understanding the most basic of truths, that God don’t make junk.

The past is not simply the past, but a prism through which the subject filters his own changing self-image.

Doris Kearns Goodwin


I have no easy answers to this problem of poor self-image. I am just a simple writer with no training in psychology. Still, I know that a change of this magnitude does not happen unless we want it to. We must give our silent approval to change, and we must be willing to be the instrument of that change.

I cry for those who do not believe in themselves, because at one time, I was one of them. I ache for those who can find no happiness in who they are, because at one time, I was one of them.

You hold the key. You can either use it to unlock your potential, or you can leave that key hidden and remain a product of distorted thinking.

It begins with you.

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      As a teen and youth, I too had my moments of self-doubt and insecurity. I will be honest, it took me having two kids to realize that I am better then this and even if I don't have the perfect body (not sure anyone does really) that I am a good person and that counts for more then anything on the outside or physical appearance. Thank you for the reminder here today and have great week now.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Bill, my self-image has changed over the years. I was fine until a couple of years ago. I don't question whether or not I'm a good person - I am. I'm creative, accepting, supportive and have a positive attitude. Until it comes to the physical changes that have hit me now that I'm 57. The eyelids are drooping, where once my big blue eyes were my best feature. My neck is thickening and sagging and my body has taken on extra weight. My appearance is where my self-image has taken a nose dive. I'm trying to accept my new aging body; after all, I'm still me. But it's easier said than done.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, I think most of us get better with time.....for those who don't, there is still time. :) Thanks for sharing your experience my friend, and Happy Monday.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It sure is, Sha, but at least you are aware, and that is the first step in positive changes. Carry on my friend. I happen to think you are wonderful.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 2 years ago from West By God

      Yes I do believe that my self image has changed. Hahaha! I was that very small child too. 8th grade I was still wearing 6x clothes! I was afraid of just about everything. I stayed in my room lots and my mom used to have to throw my sister and I out of the house and tell us to run around and get the stink off of us. I was made fun of because I was so small. When I had my two daughters is when I started to change and actually speak up to protect my kids. Then I had lots of bouts with Ulcerative Colitis and the doctors told me to not keep things to myself so much because that is what is causing my attacks. Though it looks as if I have a low self image when I am home with my family, it is only because I choose not to speak up. I have gone through many changes, but now that I am older, I don't care what others think of me so much. I still do a little bit, but not as much as I did in the past. I now am trying to help a girl with this problem and she has ended up in jail time and time again. You can definitely see that her upbringing has caused her to not even know what love really is to even begin to love herself. She never eally went to school since the age of 15 and lost all those years of growing and finding her self image. She thinks that what others tell her that is what she should be. NOT true.

    • Aneegma profile image

      Merida Craze 2 years ago

      Bill, is that really you in the video? wow you have a lovely voice!!

      I am fortunate that I have never suffered from body image issues or low self esteem probably because I grew up in a military style home so there was no time for me to indulge in self imaging. But this has been an educative hub and I'm sure this will help the many self image suffers out there. Nicely written Bill. Well done.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Debra, thank you for sharing your experience. There are some wonderful lessons in your words. This is such a struggle for so many....anyway, by sharing as you have done, maybe we can raise awareness and help someone. Thank you.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 2 years ago from Taos, NM

      Great article! I would say I have good self-esteem, although I struggled with this at times in my life. Yes, messages we internalize from our parents, siblings, teachers, friends, etc. can all have an effect on that self-esteem. Fortunately, going through high school and college my self-esteem was okay enough that I was successful with relationships. But, I can tell you Bill, had we gone to high school together, I would have hung out with you. But, then I always recognized the worth of those individuals that weren't in the 'popular group.'

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Aneegma, thank you so much and yes, that was me in the video. Thank you for the compliment.

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 2 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Bill you wrote this message with words that pull us to earth. I am always talking about self esteem, but I do think that the earthly pressure is just so deep that those that win the struggle will find themselves floating on the ocean of negative thoughts about own self. I will share and reread it. Thanks!

      Oh, the videos are also great.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 2 years ago from Hudson, FL

      I was raised by two narcissists who didn't approve of me. Sure, I was wonderful as a baby and toddler, but that changed with age. The scars that remain serve as reminders to be gentle with the delicate hearts I'm raising. For that, I'm grateful.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzette, I would have gladly hung in your group. For some of us, growing older is the key. For others, even than does not help them. It is painful to watch talented people who have no belief in themselves. Hopefully this article will help some of them. Thank you Suzette.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you so much, Maria. I ache for those who do not believe in themselves. I know the feeling, and hopefully this will help someone.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lizzy, a rare glimpse into you...thank you for sharing that my dear. It is a bitch of a struggle for sure...seems to me you turned out pretty damn good. :)

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Self-esteem is a funny thing Bill, isn't it? It can flow and ebb, changing as we age. I used to be very good at sport which gave me a good self image while at school. As I got older certain things caused that self–image to wain eg. Weakened eyesight and needing to wear glasses most of the time etc. I am still good at sport and very competitive, but just had to change the type of sport I play. Used to be football, athletics etc...now tennis, table tennis, pool, bowls, ten pin bowling. I can still beat my sons at tennis and table tennis...lol. If you succeed at something, anything it helps you to have a positive image. Being able to write articles, stories, poetry that people enjoy reading helps as well. Great hub again, voted up.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

      I don't know where I learned the power of positive self-talk. I tell you the truth that there isn't a day that goes by when I'm not reminded about my weight, my hair, my nails, my clothes, my something that I've not perfected. If I didn't have positive self talk as a life survival tool, I would be miserable all the time.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 2 years ago from Germany

      Great article Bill. I would say in my childhood and my teenage years, I was not having a good self image. I was thin, shy, sickly and of course a loner though I had 1 close friend in high school who was with me thick and thin. I think I believe in myself when I started taking my own life in my own hands as a working student in college. Then I got married to a German who taught me how to love myself first before others and to be who I am the way I would like to be. Yes, I love myself and I don´t want to be like others. I don´t care what others think of me too.

      Thanks for this wonderful hub. Have a nice day!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great observations, John, and in many ways I mirror your thoughts with the life I have lived. Sports were always easy for me, so when playing them I had a good self-image. It was the other facets of my life that I had to work on. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Marlene, thanks for sharing that, and I firmly believe you speak for many people regarding the physical image. We are so hung up on how we appear to others....sigh! I understand.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Thelma, it all turned out all right for you, and that is wonderful. I can say the same about me, but it was a struggle for years.

      Thank you for openly sharing your experience.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      So true, dear Bill, God doesn't make junk!

      I am enjoying a day off from work this day and I realized that I have not received any email notifications from HP about when others published hubs since yesterday at 11:55? So, I am going about it the hard way lol.

      Boy, can I relate to this hub. I, too, was so shy, plus taller than others at the time and too thin. It was my own perception or my thoughts on how others perceived me, which turned out to be so false lol. I can laugh about it now and I am perfectly happy with myself just the way I am. I was always told that I was smart, beautiful and could do anything in this life I wanted, but for some reason I just did not see myself as such. I remember back then, they did not make the clothes to fit me right. With my long, boney legs, my pant legs were either too short, or if I bought a larger size, they would wrap around my waist twice lol. I thought of myself as sort of the character of Olive Oyl in Popeye LOL Long and lanky, when all the popular cheerleader types were much shorter and, well, bustier. I was so shy that I would always have a book in my face, even standing out in the hallways and hoping that no one would come up and talk to me. The good thing that resulted from that, I guess, was that I had a 4.0 grade point average.

      I guess I just would not let anyone in and so I was clueless that no one perceived me as I perceived myself and how I thought in my mind they perceived me.

      Great hub!

      Peace and Blessings always

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 2 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Bill - I believe that self-esteem has its roots in very young childhood, with the people who are significant in one's life having a profound influence over a developing child's self-confidence and self-image.

      I say that because of my own experience. While my mother believed me capable, smart and talented (and often told me so), it was her adoptive mother--my grandmother--who influenced my budding self-image more than any other person. She continuously told me that she expected me to become famous because I was (in her opinion) very smart, very talented and able to do anything I wanted to do. Her encouragement all through my childhood overcame the negativity that I heard from my father (thank goodness!), and, as a result, I may have grown to adulthood believing myself more special than I really am. In short, I've always had a surfeit of self-confidence to help me through life. Because of that, I've celebrated my achievements and successes, while not feeling that any failures defined me as a person.

      Children need positive reinforcement and encouragement in order to develop a good self-image, especially from those to whom they are close and admire. Harsh criticism, negativity and too much pressure to achieve without a balance of acknowledgement for what is achieved--these can all have a demoralizing effect on a child and have been linked to youthful depression, eating disorders and even teenage suicide. Parents and other significant people in a child's life should never take lightly their responsibility to help that child develop a good sense of self-esteem and self-confidence.

      For those people who are already past their formative years, adult or middle-aged, and saddled with a poor self-image that holds them back from their potential and contentment, I agree that self-talk and positive affirmations may make the difference in the way they ultimately see themselves.

      This is an excellent topic and hub, voted Up+++ and shared

      Jaye

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, now that you mention it, I haven't received any notifications either. That explains why I haven't had any interruptions. LOL Thanks for mentioning that.

      As for growing up...my goodness, we can do some damage to ourselves, can't we? Sure glad those years are over.

      Thank you for sharing your experience. I think that the more who share, the better it is for everyone.

      blessings always

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you, Jaye, and my years of teaching certainly support what you have written. I have seen many a child with poor self-image at the age of six....how else could that happen if not by the influence of family?

      Unfortunately, I am not the parenting police, and I am left with hoping that sooner rather than later, parents will come to realize the profound effect they have on their children.

      Thank you my friend.

      bill

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 2 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Excellent hub here. I think in high school, so many kids are unsure of themselves. I wish I could shake them and tell them how much high school simply Does Not Matter. Don't get me wrong, grades matter and learning matters, but peers do not. The friends I had back then are still my friends... and the ones I had so wanted to be friends with are now pretty much still doing the things they had been doing twenty years ago and though I'm sure they are nice people, I have no urge to contact them and "hang out." There are always things that I want to change about myself, but it's all about personal goals. One of the worst things to do is compare one's self to others. Instead, I think if we challenge ourselves to learn more, do more and become more, the only person we compete against is ourselves. A positive self image can be a tough one to get, especially if we become our own worst enemy!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Liz, you pretty much said it all here. Well-stated my friend. Now that I know the kind of person I want to be, it is a full-time job being that person. I can't imagine taking on the impossible task of being someone else. :)

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Even in their later years, Bill, women mainly find reason to doubt their self-worth. We are who we think we are, and you nailed the basic concept we must accept, "God don’t make junk. "Thank you for affirming that.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, I wish it were not so, but it is...and the only way to change it is to raise awareness and tell women...everyone...that they are miracles. Thank you!

    • profile image

      Susan Sproull 2 years ago

      Hi Bill,

      I remember when I was young always trying to please my dad. Nothing was ever good enough. Or I would hear anyone can do that. Because of that I could not accept a compliment. I gained inner strength and then it wasn't important for me to get his approval. Before he died he apologized and told me how proud he was of me.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Susan, I love that you shared that. I suspect there are a great many people walking around with similar stories. I celebrate your triumph my friend. Thank you!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 2 years ago from Arizona

      I never thought about my image growing up..guess I thought I was okay. I always had friends and though I grew up in a very affluent neighborhood we were not rich..My friends had cars etc...and I of course wanted a lot of clothes..So I bought sewing machine and made them. I have a good self image today but it does get shaken every once in a while.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Depression is most often allowed to be a problem due to the pressing of a "forget" button. The button lets us forget to love ourselves. So I have had my son draw me a remember button on my wall.

      Great stuff here Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, I think we all get shaken from time to time. It's human nature to compare ourselves to others, and a little of it is fine...it's when it takes over your life that you definitely have a problem. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eric, I love it. A remember button. Perfect! Thank you for that image.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I used to have a problem with self-image when young; didn't we all?

      I've now grown to realise that I have good points and bad points but that the good points are the ones on which to concentrate. We have to be happy with ourselves. I've also learnt that if we appear happy with ourselves and smile, the outside world sees us as happy, reacts to us with a smile and makes us happier! That's a win, win situation!

      I've been lucky and had the support that's given me a (mostly) happy life so it's easy for me to talk but I do believe that smiles bring smiles and friendship.

      Good to see you back after the weekend, bill. Hope it was a good one and I wish you a great week. Ann

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann my friend, you just wrote a synopsis for my new novel. If you get the chance to read it you will understand.

      Good to see you too, Ann. I hope the weekend was good to you.

      Take care and I'll see you soon

      bill

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      For me, the key to building and maintaining positive self-esteem is to find something you're good at -- anything, really -- then develop the heck out of it, helping others as you go. There is joy in helping others grow as you do, in forming a mutual self-help society.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Flourish, I love your thoughts on this, and I happen to agree with you...there is a joy from sharing. Thank you!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

      You know; thinking back, all my friends (or nearly so) had nicer homes and clothes and things...but I think it was being a tomboy I just didn't care what they thought about me. My best friend asked me in 5th grade I remember how my family (knowing I had that gang of brothers) could buy me so many clothes and the truth was I never grew so I just added to every year and I was great at mixing and matching so it looked like I had a big new wardrobe every year with just a few new pieces. (Oh and my Mom had to buy me a size too big!) lol

      I don't know how we can teach our children not to care and just be themselves but it is awful when they hate themselves. It should be required I think to have a class teaching children to respect themselves and not bow to bullies..just all that...maybe the whole student body attend a class in the gym with films and speakers etc once every 6 weeks. It could make a big difference couldn't it? All my growing up years I went out of my way to be friends with the poorer or shyer kids. I couldn't teach them anything but I could be their friend, I hope it made a difference.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jackie, I don't know if such a class would make a difference, but I know it couldn't hurt. I find it very sad that so many kids compare themselves unfavorably to others...and then grow to be adults and do the same thing.

      Loved the story about your clothes. Thanks for sharing that.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I have always been positive about my life since I have had many great challenges and positive mind got me through all obstacles.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I am glad to hear that, DDE! Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      There was a time in my life that I had the thought that death would solve my self-image problems. It scared me bad enough that I got some help. Life is very different now. When I see those knives on the counter and they look inviting, I ask myself some serious questions and figure out what is going on. Thanks for the wake-up call, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Denise, I love that you are willing to share that experience. Well done my friend. I, for one, am glad you do not pick those knives up. Thank you!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Hey, Bill, you really were a skinny little runt, weren’t you – but so were most of us. You outgrew it, but some of us don’t. I got my full height at age 11, and I weighed 86 lbs on my wedding day. Not only that, I had freckles! I endured name calling such as shrimp, little bit, and freckle-face. My mom made most of my clothes because I looked ridiculous in children’s sizes and ladies sizes were miles too big. I learned to sew at age 13 so I could help her make my clothes. Talk about low-self esteem. Since I didn’t look like Marilyn Monroe, I think I decided to go into radio to prove something, but I'm not sure what.

      During my years in radio, I met many male announcers who were not much taller than I was, but they had egos bigger than Texas. You’ve heard the expression, “he has a face for radio.” By using their talents, they proved that they had something to give to the world. They didn’t face the day-to-day discrimination that they would have faced in the business world as salesmen, office workers, or even in the blue-collar industry. I’m not saying that we vertically challenged people didn’t get teased by our colleagues sometimes, but it was a different kind of teasing. We knew we had their respect because it wasn't vicious and we were all professionals. (OMG, you should have heard the clamor when the song “Short People” came out.)

      Everybody has a talent to share with the world, whether it is in the arts, medicine, computers, etc. They just need to know that they are wanted and needed. I guess my advice is to look in that mirror and say “I have something to give to the world!” Then go buy yourself a loose shirt or blouse to cover up that belly, and go do it!

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Hello Billy,

      You had my attention right from the beginning with this Hub. Learning to love oneself and teaching our children to do the same must be one of the most important stages in the learning process. Why some people never get it is heartbreaking.

      I would love to see this subject covered in the school curriculum so that the examples you cited above never happen again.

      I recall my own son coming home one afternoon after a cricket try out at his school. He was an outstanding sportsman but for some reason he told me that 'the teacher never even noticed me'. The disappointment in his face was visible.

      The following year he was coached by an outstanding teacher who 'noticed him'. He went on to take the top awards in his school for golf, tennis and squash, all because a teacher 'noticed him' and saw his true potential.

      We all have potential, we just sometimes need a little help to find it.

      Thank you Billy, great Hub.

      Best wishes,

      Sally

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      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      A self-image has many dimensions. Good start. Being surrounded by a positive support group - family and/or friends, has been most useful to me, personally, over the years. Started with very supportive, positive parents. It seemed to work well, with our girls, as well! ;-)

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MizB, I love it! 86 pounds??? Is that even possible? :) I love the reflections on this hub. Great stories of ordinary people dealing with life...and yours is one of the best. Thank you my friend.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sally my friend, I love the story about your son. I had a similar experience at a young age in baseball...one year I wasn't "good enough" for a team. The next year, different team, and I was most valuable player. Go figure. I just needed someone to believe in my abilities until I could believe for myself. Thanks for sharing that story.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dr. Bill, you named some key ingredients for a good self-image, and it sounds like you passed them on to your children. Well done my friend.

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      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      Thought provoking, to say the least.

      My grown son once said to me, "mom, the only reason that you do nice things for people is that you want them to like you". I stood there perplexed. Maybe he had a point. Was I doing nice things for people

      to help them in their time of need? Or, was I trying to do nice things

      simply to score points and make myself appreciated.

      I finally found my answer. When ever possible, I do nice things anonymously. It makes me feel good about me.

      On my first day of school, I was a little country girl day in blue jeans and a plaid shirt. All the other girls were wearing pretty dresses.

      I was in the bathroom stall and over heard a group of girls laughing at

      the ugly girl dressed in jeans, plaid shirt and boy's shoes. I was flooded with emotions which I had never experienced before. I stayed in that stall until everyone left. Sometimes, I am still that little girl sitting in the bathroom stall, flooded with emotions that I do not understand. Life can be difficult at best. When possible, I chose to be happy. But, I did find the key to happiness, and it has nothing to do with me. My mission is to help people by bringing some joy into their lives. It is addictive and

      totally fulfilling. And, if I want, I can wear jeans, plaid shirt, and boy's shoes. They don't care what I look like. I volunteer at nursing homes.

      I look into cloudy eyes and hold their cold hands. I listen. We talk, we sing, I tell a silly joke. Their smile is my affirmation. Their laughter is all the approval that I need.

      By the way, great article, Bill!

      DJ.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, to hell with the article...great comment! :) You are a joy. That's all I have to say.

      bill

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      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 2 years ago from Philippines

      Being good at something raises your self image, and making friends with less popular kids gives you a pack. But I often find, when I look into the background of bullies, that their parents bully and even support their children's bullying. I think that children need to be taught that being a bully is NOT cool and PTA associations should have talks about bullying and how to discourage it in homes.

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      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Hi Billy buc, just getting ready to turn in for the night, but wanted to read your hub as my last thought of the day. Self image is vital. Thank you for your stories and for the encouragement you have offered to your hub friends about this vital topic. I will watch the videos tomorrow.

      I think most people are perceptive...I know I am. COUNTENANCE and body language says volumes about a person's self image (hanging your head, avoiding eye contact, frowning. Then there are ones like the two tragic examples you gave in this hub. Where they were not the persons people thought they were.

      I think the greatest damage to self image is the power of words, like DJ Anderson's story of hiding in the bathroom stall. Awful for her.

      Let me tell you, being a twin can be a nightmare. My twin and I were compared ALL the time in school.

      You could probably write an excellent book or booklet about self image that would help thousands. Why? Because of your genuine personality that shines through your hubs...nothing fake about you, you write from your heart. God bless, and thank you, always, for your dedication to your followers. Sparklea :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I completely agree with you, Mona. Many school districts here in the States have such meetings, and it is doing some good. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea, for some reason, I did not know you were a twin. Maybe I knew at one time and had forgotten. My goodness, I'll bet you have a book inside of you just about that experience. Fascinating I would think.

      Thank you for being so loyal. It means the world to me.....good night...and I posted your hub today.

      bill

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      Graham Lee 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Bill. I took the vote and it is a very even mix. I think we all try our best no matter who we are. As we all know self image and self confidence are paramount. In the end; What will be will be.

      Graham.

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      carol stanley 2 years ago from Arizona

      I had to come back and share something that happened to me...And how the self image can easily get shaken. Briefly put...I had a girlfriend from my childhood come spend the night as she has moved to a nearby city. I thought we had a great time but could tell from subsequent emails that something was wrong. I wrote her about this and I got a mouthful and after reading the email and answering and several to follow...I was beaten up pretty badly with her feelings how awful Iwas and how badly I treated her. I didn't have a clue..so sometimes our actions can affect others in ways we don't know. A little off the subject but it did shake my own confidence.

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      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      I have to say that society makes it very difficult to develop a good self image. The images placed before us are always the same. The women are always thin, gorgeous and usually blonde. Young girls are easily influenced by the barrage of commercials, magazines, movies and television shows that re-inforce the notion that everyone must strive to be "perfect." You simply can't stand on line at the supermarket check-out without seeing tabloids showing gorgeous women and right next to them showing "stars" who may have gained a few pounds. Until we change our national character, there will be self-image problems. Self-image problems plague both sexes, no doubt, but I feel it is especially difficult for young girls. Until we learn to accept who we are, we will never learn to truly love and accept another human being for who they are. I think the struggle for this kind of acceptance is ongoing and may take a lifetime. Thanks for this very important piece, Billy. Voted up, useful, interesting and awesome.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Graham, very true. We all stumble through this life, looking for a handhold to grasp for stability. We do what we can do.

      Thank you, Graham.

      bill

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wow, Carol, what did you do, chain her to her bed and beat her? What a strange response to kindness. Anyway yes, that would shake confidence for sure. Thank you for sharing that.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      brreakfastpop, I agree with you completely. I think society does great harm to young girls, and that harm can last a lifetime. Thank you for sharing that because it is an important message and truth.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 2 years ago from Arizona

      She thought I was ungracious...I told her I didn't enjoy going to thrift shops but we went anyway and it was fun. I didn't plan for dinner as we had a large lunch. So I served some wine and small snack and we finished her salad from lunch. She thought I asked too many personal questions and accused me of some really bad things....I thought we were good friends from the past but apparently not. Since you asked..

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      Ann1Az2 2 years ago from Orange, Texas

      Bill, don't know what happened to my previous comment, but I did read this! I got a little of the lack of self-esteem problem when I was in school because of a birthmark I had which was later removed. Youth especially can be cruel to each other. Years later, I had a problem with weight which, thanks to the Lord's help, I'm still overcoming. This is a great hub that raises awareness, something I'm sure you're fond of! So, good job, my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Well, Carol, you don't need people like that in your life....and I know, you didn't ask. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, HP had some issues the last few days...notifications didn't even go out to everyone...so it doesn't surprise me they lost your comment. Thank you for sharing about the birthmark....those were painful days for many of us.

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 2 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      This is such a great hub. I often wonder if genetics plays a part in this... is someone born with a positive self image and overly confident for no good reason? I am not terribly confident in my physical appearance, but probably a little too confident in other areas of life. ;-) I have a couple of aunts that believe "their s**t don't stink" as they say... yet they were raised the same way as my other aunts that have a poor self image. It is such a complicated matter!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It really is complicated, Jeannie, and I tend to believe genetics does play a part in it somehow. Thanks for weighing in with your thoughts.

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Billy I just read your hub and commented on it and I am so thrilled with all you shared. I will return to it to do the exercises. Phenomenal write, and I SO appreciate your answering my question about 'beautiful'...

      My twin is on Facebook, but she is a blonde. Her name is Lynne Epstein, look her up.

      I will send you a pic via email of an old photo taken a long time ago, when I went through a blonde phase.

      God bless and Thank you so much for being so good to your readers and answering their questions. Sparklea :) I printed out your hub too.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Lea. I look forward to seeing that picture. Bless you dear friend.

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      I sent you the pic via email. Hope I sent it to the right address.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      you did, Lea, but I'm having trouble with email and can't respond. Thank you so much for sending it

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      Victor W. Kwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

      As someone with a sociology degree, I know about the obsession with self-image, promoted by our current capitalist culture. I once watched a video in class about this skinny obsession and had to agree with it that there is a problem. It's sad that people have to die over their own self-images. Thanks for sharing this Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Right you are, vkwok. I find it very sad indeed.

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      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      So many things begin with us, but in order to get it kick started, either we find acceptance, or we walk our own path. I chose to walk my own path, and now those people that rebuffed me, are looking at skinny, cute little me. Funny how the ugly duckling turns into the proverbial swan. Need I say more?

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I think you said it all, Deb. I am still proving people wrong and I will continue to do it. Perhaps that is part of what drives me forward. Thanks and keep up the great work.

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      Jemuel 2 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Another wonderful hub, Bill! This is really helpful to those who have negative self-image. How wonderful would it be to make a difference in the lives of other people - I'm sure this hub will go a long way!

      Voted up and shared. Congrats friend Billy!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      jemuel, thank you, and it would be very wonderful indeed my friend.

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 2 years ago from Scotland

      Hi Bill

      Well I have a good choice to read tonight due to my absence. :)

      Great article. Self belief affects all areas of a life and negative self image is a hard habit to crush.

      Belief is always harder to achieve than self doubt, and even for the most self assured amongst us, it is a lifelong task.

      Your voice carries very well on the video and your article was both useful and most importantly heartfelt.

      Anna :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Anna, thank you so much. You are right of course. I don't know what it is about us humans that we are so willing to embrace the negative despite the harm. Anyway, I truly appreciate your thoughts and kind words.

      bill

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