Excuse Me, Can I Get This Validated?

Long time readers know of my undying love for Kung Fu Panda. Today I watched the sequel again and, in what may be my favorite scene, (very minor spoiler alert) Po’s master, Shifu, says that when Po was name the Dragon Warrior it was the worst day of the Master’s life.  But then Shifu realized that the problem was with him and not with Po and that allowed him to work through it. (end very minor spoiler alert)

And wouldn’t it be just dandy if everyone had that kind of self-awareness?  But that’s something we’re still working on as a society.  In the meantime there are still people who think it’s their job to decide who else is worthy. And we buy into every time we look to someone else to tell us if we’re beautiful or sexy.  Y’all, let me suggest that parking is the only place where you have to look to someone else for validation.

My lovely blog wife Karen (once in a fit of liking my blog she asked me to marry her in the comments and I accepted) posted an awesome quote from Gabourey Sibide “People always ask me, ‘You have so much confidence. Where did that come from?’ It came from me. One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl.”

I think that’s the deal.  You give power to the posers every time you ask them if you’re pretty enough or if you’re sexy.  I’m not saying that it’s not cool to have people who tell you that you are beautiful and sexy, I’m suggesting that you let those people restate what you already know for sure. I’m ok if people don’t find me attractive, that’s not my thing to decide or change.  There are people who think I’m attractive and sexy and I will live alone with a herd of rescued Great Danes before I’m in a relationship with someone who doesn’t.

If you don’t claim and own your awesome, you leave your self esteem in the hands of the kind of people who try to make you feel bad to make them feel better and that doesn’t sound like a good plan to me.  If it’s not my parking slip, nobody’s validation is required.  If they can’t see that we’re beautiful and sexy. I think that’s sad for them.  If they figure it out then that’s great for everybody but all that is extraneous to us realizing it for ourselves.

I think that one of the things that can really help this along is noticing the beauty in other people.  When I started my journey it was easier to realize that other women who looked like me were beautiful and sexy and then it just started to seem dumb that I could see it in others but not myself and one day it just clicked.  Like “Oh, right …I’m beautiful and sexy.  Cool”.  It didn’t stick 100%  right away but the more I could see the beauty in others, the more I could see it in myself. I suggest trying it, if you decide you don’t enjoy feeling sexy and beautiful and appreciating the beauty and sexiness in others, you can always stop.

This blog is supported by its readers rather than corporate ads.  If you feel that you get value out of the blog, can afford it, and want to support my work and activism, please consider a paid subscription or a one-time contribution.  The regular e-mail subscription (available at the top right-hand side of this page) is still completely free.   Thanks for reading! ~Ragen

Published in: on March 16, 2012 at 5:16 am  Comments (23)  

23 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I agree that this is an important thing. I come at it from another way – diminishing the importance of beauty or sexiness. I am trying to help myself realise that looks are a very small part of who I am and they are also not something I think it is worthwhile to judge myself or others on. Someone’s appearance doesn’t tell you if they are nice or intelligent or funny or open-minded or anything important, so why place importance on it?

    • Unless we are talking about finding a mate, then appearance seems to play a large biological role.

      • Right – and what I’m saying is that I’m only willing to be with someone who has figured out that I’m sexy and beautiful. If they don’t see it, that’s their issue, there’s nothing wrong with me and I’m not going to try to make my picture match their frame. Better alone than in bad company.

        ~Ragen

        ________________________________

    • I do try to remind myself that “prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked Female”

      (source: http://www.dressaday.com/2006/10/you-dont-have-to-be-pretty.html )

      That said, I LOVE this suggestion to notice the beauty in others and ourselves. And it makes me smile every time, Ragen, when you say Hey, if that doesn’t work, you can always go back to hating yourself! (I hope not to!)

    • Word to this. “Beautiful” is not the most important thing we can be.

      If I live my life in such a way that my inner light shines and my authentic self attracts others, maybe that’s beauty. But that doesn’t sell pantyhose, you know?

  2. You just helped me realize something. I have no problem finding other women who look like me (re:size and shape of their bodies) super beautiful and sexy, but I have this nasty tendency to stop short when it comes to me. That really is dumb. I feel like maybe I should sit in a corner with a dunce cap in for a little while. Granted, I’ve gotten much better about this recently, and at least I’m not talking bad about myself on a regular basis now, but I generally stop short of “talking myself up.”

    ~The blog wife

    • ^^^^^ Me, too. I always find beauty in other people(male and female alike, until they show me their ugliness)…but always find something to be disgusted about in my own appearance. I’m a work in progress. ;) Thanks again, Ragen and friends, for continuing to inspire me.

    • Yup yup yup. Same here and I don’t know how to change that. I can look at people at all shapes and sizes and see them as attractive and yet cannot see it when I look at myself. And the mirror is bad enough, pictures…I don’t even want to be in them. I hide behind cameras except when my daughter manages to get shots of me. There are all kinds of really scary pictures of me taken by my daughter who is currently 6.

      I know I have massive amounts of self esteem issues, many of which stem from basically having it pointed out that I was anything but the pretty daughter in the family because I was heavier than my sisters.

  3. THe only problem being that no matter how amazing you feel, assholes are still going to treat you like scum. |sigh|

    It is actually something people who deny size discrimination exist have flung at me repeatedly “Oh if you jsut feel good about yourself and stop caring what other people think it will all be okay!” and I am like “No it wont…”

    I know that is not precisely about validation but this made me think of it…

    • Civil Rights and feeling good about yourself are definitely two different things. I’m absolutely not suggesting that the solution to social stigma is feeling good about yourself. I’m suggesting that feeling good about yourself can help you be in a good place to fight social stigma and oppression.

      ~Ragen

      ________________________________

  4. Love it Ragen,
    “The more you saw the beauty in others” then you believed in your own beauty. Great. Can I quote you?

    • I’m really glad that you like it Marla, quote away!

      Ragen

      ________________________________

  5. This is why I love the Adipositivity Project. Every once in awhile I go and look at the pictures.. and I am always so struck by how beautiful these women are. Then I have to really concentrate on thinking about how many of them are of similar size and shape as me.. and so if I see them as beautiful, I should see myself as beautiful as well. But sadly it still takes a LOT of effort to do that mental exercise and truly believe it.

    • Don’t be sad about still having steps in the journey – be glad that you have taken the steps you have to get you to this point! CELEBRATE that you CAN believe that and are willing to do the mental work to get yourself there. The more you practice that, the more you make it stick. You are beautiful, Telle. I don’t have to see your face to know this. <3

  6. One thing I have recently experienced is that even thin women are fat shamed. A troll recently commented on my blog calling me out for having saddle bags. I was also on a forum the other where a member posted a picture of a model she knew and a couple girls called her “skinny fat” and how even though she appeared thin at first glance, they pinpointed her pudgier areas like the little bit of her lower belly pudge (which was almost nonexistent). I’m not sure if this kind of attitude would be classified as general female cattiness or a display of exactly how extreme their standards of perfection are. I know a lot of you here who have struggled with body image in the past used to desire to be a size 8, but what you probably don’t want to hear is that there is a whole world out there who think size 8 is on the large side still, and that no matter how thin you are, there will always be women who will think you are fat, and can make a list of your body flaws and point where where you have flab, pudge or cellulite.

    My point is that it can be hard for anyone to feel beautiful when there is always someone around the corner to tell you that you aren’t as attractive as you think. But you really gotta search deep inside to realize that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. Everyone has something unique and beautiful about them and there are always people who aren’t judgmental assholes and who know you are beautiful inside and out, and those are the people who are worth being in your life.

    • I agree. There was a friend I grew up with who has self-esteem issues to make my self esteem issues look small in comparison (for example, there might be lots of horrible pictures that my daughter took but I don’t usually delete them, this friend actually stole pictures I took of her because she hated how she looked in them and then didn’t tell me that she took them until I confronted her about it) and she was considerably smaller and, I felt, much more attractive than I am. She has been in different sizes but is usually around a size 8, I think? But she hates her body, hates how she looks, has had surgery done (though she regrets it) and oftentimes, won’t leave her house to go to the grocery store without full make up on (and I have always felt she looked better–younger–without it). She dated my nephew (he’s only ten years younger than me) and my older sister got to know a little more about her self-esteem issues and she was really surprised. So, no, I don’t think it ends. I think for some, because the so-called standard of beauty is so high, self-esteem is nigh impossible to reach because they’re relying on those standards and they’re constantly holding themselves to those standards. It’s not enough to be thin, you have to have all of these perfect little features.

      What’s worse, she spent a few years in LA, trying to become an actress and I think it totally shot the little bit of self-esteem she had before she went out there.

    • Maybe body dysmorphia about other people should be considered a psychological disorder.

      • I’ve often wondered whether that’s possible, Nancy. I grew up with a mother who was obsessed with (usually, to me and other people) invisible ‘flaws’ in my appearance. I’ve read that BDD by proxy does exist, but usually in people who have BDD directed towards their own looks – and my mother appeared almost arrogantly confident of her own flawless appearance, although who’s to know what was going on in her head?

        Someone recently said to me, in a Facebook discussion on exactly this, that we shouldn’t need validation from other people – we should just learn to love ourselves. Which is a great thing to aim for, but not only does it not (like Mari says) stop other people’s body-hatred, it also can’t come out of nowhere. Much as young children who aren’t physically touched enough always have trouble relating to other humans, if you don’t get told and shown that you’re an OK person when you’re young, it’s damned hard to learn to love yourself later on. The way I was treated at home left me struggling with self-esteem, but I think the damage was limited by there being other places in my life where I was valued for being smart or funny or kind, or just for being me. I would guess that in today’s body-hating culture it’s way harder for kids in that sort of situation, especially girls, to receive that back-up. This is why presenting kids with alternative ideas of self-worth is so, so important.

        • Narcissistic personalities are like this. There’s an interesting website I stumbled on called daughters of narcissistic mothers. LOTS of very interesting information and one of the traits does tend towards arrogance of their own looks but attacks the looks of others, if I remember correctly.

      • Janeen – yes, I believe I’ve come across that site, and she did indeed tick a lot of boxes for NPD. I wish I’d come across the term a lot earlier in life – it might have made some things easier to deal with. As it is, I’ve at least some to understand that her issues were way more to do with her than with me.

        • I hear you there. I fully believe mine has it as well though it came out differently depending on who she was dealing with. I have a unique relationship with her now though because of her situation. She is pretty much dependent on me to keep and knows it so her ability to stay within the boundaries of our relationship has greatly improved. Not that there’s much she can do where she’s at. And she’s there in the first place because of how out of bounds she went in her relationship with my younger sister and her reaction to my sister’s marriage and starting a family.

      • Nancy, I LOVE THAT!!!


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