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The snowman figure ~ Overcoming a negative self-image from youth.

Updated on October 28, 2013

The Snowman Figure.

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Why self-image is so important.

Growing up, my grandmother, aunts, and other relatives consistently told me I was heavy and overweight. The truth was, I wasn't.

These women were my role models. They were the ones I looked up to and dreamed about becoming like when I got older.

I have quite the history in my family. From aunts who were pioneers to the occasional actress. These were strong, bold and successful women. Who was I to question otherwise that it was possible to be beautiful in the shape I owned when they told me otherwise?

There was no doubt, I was tall for my age. In fact, I was one of the tallest girls in my elementary school. When I got to high school, I thought I had shrunk because I was the shortest. Somehow I stopped growing during middle school years.

Anyhow, during my entire young life, I was so ashamed. I tried to hide my body with large sweatshirts. As I grew into an older teenager, my size 5 figure wasn't slender enough, so I thought.

Fortunately, I love food too much to have succumbed to an eating disorder due to the inferior complex I developed from all of the negative attention I received about my figure.

It wasn't until I stepped in to a happy place in my life when I realized, I am good enough the way I am. It just so happens, it's now years later and my shape has changed significantly. I no longer possess the girlish figure I once owned that was so negatively criticized. I now have a woman's figure, full of beautiful curves, and one that I can truly say I'm proud to wear.

If it wasn't for a documentary I saw on television once about a young lady who had a negative self-image, I might have not been so accepting of myself. In this documentary, a life coach was teaching this young woman how to look in a mirror.

It then dawned on me at that moment. I was afraid of mirrors. I didn't think a ghost would pop out of one when I walked by. It was the fear of looking at my horrible self. My mind had become conformed to the words the role models in my life spoke of me.

My point being, I developed a very negative image of myself as a child that carried well through my adult years. This image was based on years of degrading comments that were made to me by those I entrusted most in my childhood.

Words are very powerful. So powerful in fact, that I spent a lifetime thinking I was unattractive, overweight, and would never be as good as the women that told me so.

In fact, one time I caught an episode of Oprah. I felt like Oprah was talking to me right through the television screen. A young lady walked out on to the stage as well-kept and put together as anyone I've ever seen. The story line sounded similar to my own. The young lady had been brutally emotionally and mentally victimized by people in her family for years telling her she was unattractive, plain, and would never amount to anything. Oprah said it best. "They did that to you so the real you wouldn't become who you are!" Why? Because they saw the potential for this young women to become better!

A young girl's body image is reflective of the negative perceptions around them.

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How to become free of a negative self-image.

The moral of the story is that when someone constantly berates you and belittles you through your young years, you will end up with a negative perception of yourself. Your judgments about others will become warped and you will accept them for the best and most reasonable people in your life, when actually they are the cruelest and least sincere individuals. Why? Because that's all you've known. It isn't until you are finally free to look at yourself in the mirror for the beautiful person that you are, that you will accept yourself and forgive those that caused devastating self-torment.

Even today, I still have trouble looking in mirrors even though my husband and children tell me how beautiful I am every day. A stranger on the street stopped me while I was pushing a cart through a grocery store parking lot wearing baggy sweatpants stained from painting an old file cabinet. The stranger told me I was the most beautiful women he had ever seen and asked me out for a date. I replied, "you are joking right? No, seriously, where's the hidden got you on video camera, because this really can't be serious!" He was actually very serious.

I've lived my life with the impression that I'm truly not worthy of acceptance because of what people told me.

Why is it that we always hear the negative, but rarely accept the positives?

The negative words of my youth no longer torment my own self-image. I have finally graduated and was promoted. I now possess the figure of a snowman.

Proof is when the little girl at my son's field trip last week squeezed me tightly from behind and wouldn't let go. Hugging me so tightly and giggling. At first I thought the little girl mistook me for someone else. But after a long, heart-felt hug, she told me I was squishy like a snowman. That was one comment I'm proud of.

My body may not have been successful in climbing a mountain, trying out for a beauty contest, or modeling women's swim suits, but indeed the laugh of a little child confirmed how attractive I truly am!

Have you ever noticed how easily people respond to negativity, but are contradictory to the positive?

Being free of a negative stereo-type.

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Do you have a negative self-image as a result from comments people made to you when you were young?

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How to let go and be free from a negative self-image.

In my situation, I was beaten down by people in my younger days who I respected and looked up to. They were my world. They were all I had.

When you are 10, and everyone around you constantly reminds you about how unattractive and overweight you are, you believe them.

In order to free ourselves from the constant badgering and psychologically damaging statements from others, we have to come to our own conclusion on our own understanding that we are beautiful.

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." I listened to that quote growing up and honestly believed if that is true, then I must be one horrendous little chick.

I felt unloved, unwanted, and constantly sought negative attention to overcome my need to gain acceptance from others.

This is the devastating toll it takes on a person when they are constantly reminded of how they have done nothing right and are too unattractive to get anywhere in life.

This picture was taken when I was a young girl. I believe I was 12 or 13 there. Looking back at this picture made me realize how beautiful I was. My self-image was robbed of me by the negative perceptions of those around me who I respected the most. The woman in the picture with me is my grandmother.

Body types

What are female body types? How I came up with the "snowman figure" I now possess and am proud to call my own.

When the little girl on my son's field trip hugged me with all the strength she had, I turned to the activity director and said, "well it's official. I now know I have the shape of a snowman. One of those shapes that just has to be hugged!"

Getting a roaurous laugh out, we parted ways.


Common body types
Definition
Result
Banana shape
No differentiating size between top, bottom and waist.
Causing a straight shape
Apple or V shape
Broad shoulders and narrow hips.
Body is broader on top than the bottom.
Pear (spoon or bell) shape
Larger hips and thighs.
Body is broader on bottom than the top.
Hourglass
Top and bottom are larger than waist.
Body is equal in size on top and bottom with narrow waist.
Snowman
By my definition, a squishy round body.
Body welcomes hugs.

What I eventually learned about myself.

In my youth, while I may have been berated for being less than perfect, as I got older I started working out. My grandfather had taught me how to box and I wanted to be in top physical shape. I joined a local gym. The stronger I got, the more people lashed out. I would never be good enough, strong enough, in shape enough, etc.

In my early 20s, I think I became depressed. Never being diagnosed as such, but rather just based on my own instinct, I decided to start a weight loss program to keep myself in shape. Mind you, I wasn't overweight at all. I was just always seeking to better myself because of the people around me who constantly told me I wasn't good enough. While I was working out and eating right, never was there a day where someone didn't say something negative to me.

The link that broke the chain was when I finally realized, it's not me. It's them. They needed to own their own issues. Calling someone out for not being up to their personalized standard is something they had to deal with. It wasn't right. In fact, it's downright toxic. I was no longer going to allow them to do that to me.

That's something that you have to bring yourself to understand. No one can do that for you. You can be told by 100 people that you are beautiful. But if all you ever heard growing up was that you weren't, you will always believe the negative. Your self-image was scarred.

One reading this, not knowing me personally might come to the conclusion I was a shy, tormented spirit, always seeking attention and never going any where in life as a result of my scarred self-image. However, that is not the case at all. I actually had it all. And this is exactly what their hurtful comments and message to my soul were truly about.

Just like when Oprah said it on television. "They didn't want you to become."



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Conclusion.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article and learned ways to proactively use your positive attitude to overcome obstacles that have been put before you do the perceptions of how others see you.

Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know how this helps you in your life. Do you have a snowman figure too?

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    • CraftytotheCore profile image
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      CraftytotheCore 3 years ago

      Hi Flourish! It's especially important to me that my daughter understands she is beautiful just the way she is. She was born very small, less than 5 pounds, full-term. Today she is the tallest child in class, among the 90th percentile of all children. When I was growing up, I was also one of the tallest, but now am one of the shortest. I stopped growing fairly quickly. I would never speak to my daughter the way I was spoken to. It's so confidence crashing to young girls to have someone point out what they perceive to be "flaws". I truly grew up thinking I was awful to look at to the point I wouldn't and still won't look in a mirror if I'm walking by one.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      I LOVE the snowman analogy. I'm glad you allowed that little girl to hug you and crack you up rather than make you feel bad about yourself. I'm there right with you. I'm just as curvy as I used to be, just in different places. A hub I read earlier today referred to "winter" bodies being like chewed bubblegum. That was also pretty funny. Isn't it interesting how those who originally made such critical comments about body type do not even recall the conversations? I gave up on that years ago and just committed myself to not passing on image issues.

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
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      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Thank you! My niece went through this too because her father's mother told her she was too "heavy" to wear skinny jeans. My niece has always been underweight. She went through an eating disorder phase for a while because of how her grandmother made her feel!

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Awesome hub, Craftytothecore! In high school, I always thought I was overweight even though no one had told me that. It was just something I tortured myself about. Now I look back at pictures and call myself an idiot, because I wasn't overweight at all! I definitely wasn't a twig, but I was fine. I feel bad for younger people now because they have this awful image of themselves, not realizing how perfect they really are! Thanks for this. Voted up!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
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      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      I just left you a comment on your article about making $128 in less than an hour on eBay. Yes, connections are important. Especially out here in the great big online world. Some one could easily lose their way if it weren't for friends guiding them.

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Connections happen in the most unusual and inspirational ways. Thanks for sharing that tidbit with me. By the way, I agree with that gentleman whom you encountered in the grocery store parking lot. You are very beautiful! And I should know. I'm a Hawaiian snowman. LOL!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
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      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Hi Joe! Thank you so much for your comments! I was just thinking about your Hub I read the other day on vintage advertisements. I came across a picture of myself with a white horse in New Hampshire! LOL

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      I am giving you a standing ovation! Bravo, my friend! You've courageously addressed a subject that's sensitive for either gender, especially for our youth in their impressionistic formative years.

      It's amazing and beautiful to see snowmen and snowwomen year-round. Thank you for paying such loving tribute to all!

      Aloha, and have a wonderful day!

      ~Joe

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
      Author

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Thank you for commenting Esther! Nice to meet you!

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      Esther Deihl 4 years ago

      In psychoanalysis you get to learn that the things people criticize i. You the most are the verybthings the refuse to see in themselves. This is an important lesson to learn because YOU become THEIR MIRROR! Funny that you had issues with mirrors... So listening to what people tell you, even strangers, lets you know THEM better. Once you learn this dirty trick evreyone uses, then you realize it's not about you and you can actually start having fun in life trying to decode their real message... Great piece. Thanks!

    • CraftytotheCore profile image
      Author

      CraftytotheCore 4 years ago

      Thank you Billy! I sincerely grew up thinking I must be horrendous and looking back I can't believe anyone could have tried to take my self-image away from me. I do hope that someone reading this will heal.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Articles like this one are so important. Well done my friend. Who knows who you will positively influence by your words today? If just one young girl or boy reads your words and realizes they are beautiful just the way they are, this article will be invaluable. Bravo for telling your story!