Change Your Life by Changing Your Mind About Yourself

Happy Woman

“The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others.” ~Sonya Friedman

I’d had enough.

Once again, I’d sent follow-up emails to guys who had shown interest in my dating site profile. Once again, I’d included full-length photos with those emails, unlike the headshot that went along with my online profile.

And once again, days later, my inbox was a virtual ghost town.

Didn’t these guys know how much courage it took for me to set up a profile in the first place? I was twenty-six years old and been on fewer than a dozen dates in my life—including my senior prom, to which I took a freshman.

I was morbidly obese for most of my twenties and had only recently lost fifty pounds. I was still overweight but in better shape than I’d been in years. And yet it still wasn’t good enough.

As soon as these once-interested guys got past my witty, self-deprecating profile full of catchy phrases like “loves to cook,” “enjoys watching football,” and “can quote The Godfather” and saw me head-to-toe, they remembered that it doesn’t matter if a girl likes watching sports or can cook a mean Sunday dinner—as long as she’s “fit and athletic.”

My self-esteem was lower than low. This was just as bad as being ignored to my face in bars and at parties.

I felt like I had to apologize for the way I looked. “Hey, sorry I’m fat, but I’m a really nice person! And I’ve spent a lot of time developing my sense of humor while the rest of you were out dating and stuff!”

I’m not sure what finally flipped the switch inside my head, but I remember the date the switch got flipped: March 7, 2006.

I’d had enough. I realized (somehow, for some reason) that I didn’t have to apologize for anything about myself.

That there were plenty of girls who looked just like me and managed to find love on their own terms—who managed to live life regardless of the voices in their head which tried to tell them they weren’t allowed to.

I got mad, both at the world and at myself for wasting so much time feeling apologetic. Like I had to gratefully accept any little crumbs thrown my way.

So I went on a rant. And I took that rant to the bastion of all that’s sketchy about the internet.

Yes, I went to Craigslist. Hey, why not? I had nothing to lose at this point.

I wish I’d kept that rant because it was gold. I derided the nameless men who let me know without saying a word that I wasn’t good enough once they got a look at the full package. I called it exactly as I saw it, with all the vitriol I could manage.

I then announced to all of the world that I wore a size 14/16, and that anyone who had a problem with that shouldn’t bother wasting my time.

I listed the same qualities I’d listed on my dating profile, and asked if my size really mattered in the face of all I had to offer. My humor, intelligence, hatred of reality TV, love of old timey movies, insanely huge music collection spanning six decades, mad cooking skills…did my size matter all that much, really?

I may even have referred to myself as “a catch.” I don’t know, it all became a blur after a while.

And much to my surprise, my inbox exploded with responses. Many of them were immediately deleted—you know, pictures of genitals and all that. (Craigslist will always be Craigslist.) Some were practically unintelligible, so I moved past them pretty quickly, too.

But one reply…one reply caught my eye.

The guy could spell and knew how to use punctuation. He seemed warm and friendly and smart, and appreciative of what I had to say. The fact that he liked to cook earned him points, too. (Ladies, I think we can all admit that we get a little swoony over a man who knows his way around the kitchen—men, pay attention!)

I knew immediately that if nothing else, this guy and I would be friends. What I didn’t know at the time was that I would marry him in September 2008.

See, I know now that the moment I decided to start treating myself like I was worth loving—no apologies, no holds barred—was the moment the Universe breathed a great big sigh of relief and said, “Finally.”

That’s when a man who's called me beautiful every day since we first met found me. Things started clicking within minutes of me publishing that post.

For years I had assumed that everyone else saw me the way I saw myself: fat, unattractive, worthless. I know now just how deep my self-loathing went, and I wish I could go back and hug that old version of me.

That sort of thinking is a vicious cycle—the worse you think you are, the more you cut yourself off from others, which makes you feel even worse than you did before.

All I had to do was change my mind about myself, about what I was worthy of, about what I was willing to accept from others.

Bonus: Because I was so utterly myself—snarky, sassy, smart, sarcastic—I attracted someone who likes those qualities and I never have to pretend to be any other way.

If you’re in a situation where you feel as though you have to change yourself in order to measure up, or like you have to put up with someone else’s mess because you can’t do any better (be it in a relationship or a job), change your mind.

Know that it’s just your insane, misguided ego trying to keep you small and quiet—and that’s understandable, because your ego wants to avoid going out on a limb and possibly being hurt.

But you absolutely have to ignore that fearful voice and start speaking and living your truth anyway. And as soon as you put yourself out there, your life will start to change.

This doesn’t have to be anything on an epic scale—no Lifetime movies-of-the-week here. It can just be something as small as posting a rant online, claiming your worth, and announcing that you’ve had enough of feeling “less than.”

Maybe you’ll simply start holding yourself to a higher standard when it comes to the way you talk about yourself and others.

And maybe that new way of talking about yourself will leak into the way you talk to yourself. You might actually start smiling when you see yourself in the mirror.

You might then start seeing all the ways you’re playing small in your life, and you might start making subtle shifts in how you handle things going forward.

You’ll stop putting yourself last. You’ll start speaking up when a situation doesn’t feel right to you. You’ll stand a little stronger every day.

And the Universe will breathe a great big sigh of relief and say, “Finally.”

Photo by kris krüg

About Jennifer Bardall

Jennifer Bardall believes that life is best lived on purpose. Her book, Delicious, describes her battle with emotional binge eating and encourages others to put down the fork and pick up their life.

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  • Doro

    smile. great post. now only if the header image would be less fit and athletic and long-haired and all… 😉

  • Hi Doro! I didn’t write this post, but I chose the photo. I liked the concept of it, but you’re absolutely right–it was definitely ironic. I swapped it out with one that is perhaps more fitting. Thanks for pointing this out. =)

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Thanks for the kind words! Now I wish I had seen that original photo… 😉

  • This was a beautiful read. It sounds
    like you have decided to live to your truest and most authentic self. I applaud
    you to that. I have never had a weight problem, but I can truly resonate with
    the depreciating perception of body image in general. In the end, it doesn’t
    really matter how big or how small we are—if we are insecure, the problems we
    create for ourselves in our mind are only magnified. It’s wonderful to read a
    story like this. Loved it.

  • Shannon White Caldwell

    This was exactly what I did to attract my forever hubby. Okay, not the Craigslist part, but about accepting and loving me and making no apologies for my sassy tongue and ironic wit. Love it!

  • BryJovi

    You are a beautful person inside and out! This post was a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing! Everyone who feels like they “aren’t enough” or “broken” must read this!

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Thanks so much! Yes, authenticity is the name of the game – as well as acceptance. We all think everyone cares so much about our flaws, but we forget that everyone’s really worried about THEIR flaws, not ours! 😉

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Yeeeah if *both* of us had gone to Craigslist, that would just be weird. 😉

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Jen Bemke

    This couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m having HUGE difficulty trying to find the positive within myself and have been unsuccessful as of yet. My mind tells me that I can’t be worthwhile, good enough, beautiful, etc because I’m not being told by someone who tells me these things.

    I’m stuck in that vicious circle you mention and feel like I’m drowning in trying to get out of it.

  • Emma

    Yes, I know this voice well. I have never really liked myself, but I was starting to get there and starting to feel confident at least until recently. I fell in love with a man I had initially met seven years ago, but only really got to know two years ago. Last July I was feeling upset and low and homesick, as I was 3000 miles away from home, in his country Canada and I accidentally told him I loved him. I do love him by the way and always will, but did not plan on saying it so soon. I also texted him too much, which was stupid, but I was upset by everything, he told me I was crazy….. He did not feel same way and told me to get out of his life, so I lost my only friend and all of my self esteem and confidence in one fell swoop and now feel so upset. I moved back home, but it all feels wrong and like something is missing. I am trying to get my life back together, but all I want his for him to talk with me again, which is not going to happen I know. I know I deserve better, but cannot stop thinking about him and everything that happened. How do you fall out of love with someone and move on. I want to be happy and get my confidence back, but feel all alone, lost and lonely right now.

  • I put myself through school so in college I held a lot of colorful jobs, including commercial acting. And what I notice about some of these very beautiful people is that they are not immune to self-doubt and low self-esteem. They are a mess just like the rest of us. My point is that if you look to others to affirm your worth, they will always have a limited perception of who you are. Once you know what you are about, you’ll walk into the room like a queen and people will pay attention.

    There are great points in this article about claiming who you are such as holding yourself and others to a higher standard. I applaud your sassy-ness and confidence!

  • lv2terp

    Truly inspiring post!!!!! Thank you for sharing your story, this is such an important message!!! 🙂 I’m so happy for you! I love when you said See, I know now that the moment I decided to start treating myself
    like I was worth loving—no apologies, no holds barred—was the moment the
    Universe breathed a great big sigh of relief and said, “Finally.”…SO AWESOME!!!!!!!!! 🙂 Thank you for sharing this, your story, and your heart! 🙂

  • mrchrisseattle

    I think many people struggle with this notion that we can’t be happy without another to reaffirm our existence. The feeling of worthlessness and feeling like we are not good enough is ultimately portrayed by our own minds and hearts and it’s not until you embrace yourself for all that you are that you can truly gain confidence and be happy. If we put our confidence in the reaffirmations of how others perceive us, we will forever be disappointed and unhappy. It’s amazing how just a change in your way of thinking can make the stars align and bring happiness to your life. It’s a hard road but so worth it. Wonderfully written and hit the nail on the head. thanks for sharing your personal story.

  • I like your way of thinking. It’s actually your opinion vs your opinion only. Either people want that or not, that’s their opinion. Great to have you bound to some good fella 🙂

  • Kate@andthenkate

    This post? Way better than any Lifetime movie. Love it.

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Well for one thing, I’m looking at your pic right now and I can say that you’re definitely beautiful. I think that the first person to believe you’re beautiful, though, has to be you. Do you think that you are? I’d really love to talk with you about this if you would be open to it. My social media is in my bio, feel free to reach out.

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Hey Emma, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I’ve had my heart broken, oh, like a million times. I’d love to talk more about this with you, feel free to reach out to me via my contact info in the bio below the article. The first thing I can honestly say is that there’s never anything wrong with sharing your feelings with someone. If they can’t handle it maturely and rationally, that’s their fault – not yours. Clearly he couldn’t. But that’s not a reflection on you, it has nothing to do with you – in fact nothing anyone ever does has anything to do with us! It’s all a reflection of what’s going on inside them. Maybe he has his own issues with accepting love – who knows? Either way, he has his own issues to sort out. You’re right, you do deserve better than this. You don’t need to necessarily fall out of love with him in order to move on. You need to fall in love with yourself, and your life. I know it sounds like a tall order, when you’re in this emotional place, but it IS possible!!! ((HUG))

  • Jennifer Bardall

    🙂 🙂 🙂 Thank you SO much!!!

  • Jennifer Bardall

    You’re so, so right! And here’s the kicker: Even when we find someone else to love us, if we’re stuck in feelings of worthlessness we still won’t be happy with them! If anything we’ll push them away when we find out that they’re not the magic key to happiness, or we’ll still struggle with patterns of self-abuse/addiction because there is no person on earth who can really make us happy but ourselves. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment!

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Thanks! 🙂

  • Jennifer Bardall

    😀 And you’ve totally made my day with that comment!

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Thanks, Vee! Yeah, it’s funny, I always thought that skinny, pretty people had it made in the shade. But like you said, we all have our issues. Like a couple of my current friends were anorexic in their youth, and that was their way of holding on when times got tough. I on the other hand would eat until I couldn’t feel feelings anymore. But it all comes down to the same inner pain. We can’t assume anything by just looking at people, and we can’t assume that people will love us if we look a certain way, either. Thanks for your kind words!!

  • Carlos

    Thanks Jennifer!!! The insight was just wow!

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Thank you, Carlos!

  • Sarah

    Thank you for this article, it certainly made me face up to the feelings I had towards myself which unfortunately I projected onto others by pushing them away;I couldn’t stand to be with myself so why should others. I constantly worry what others think of me, and constantly seek others approval and it is mentally exhausting. I never voice my opinions and I feel as if I have nothing of value to add to conversations in social situations. I’m probably at the lowest point I have ever been in my life, and I’m angry at myself for that as I certainly have so much to be thankful for. Your article was a great help and hopefully I will come to a place where I’ll realise that it’s okay to be who I am, even if I’m not quite sure who that is yet. So thanks!

  • Love this article! You know, I guarantee a lot of people have felt the same way as you described in this article and you know what, it doesn’t have anything to do with weight but how YOU feel about yourself. Trust me…I’m thin and as I read your article, I just nodded my head in complete understanding. I remember putting up dating profiles and being ignored and I remember looking around and thinking, “What the f*ck does that girl have over me?” when specific guys didn’t appear to know that I existed. I now know that this had more to do with how I felt about myself than anything on the outside (for you it was weight – for me it was that my boobs weren’t big enough, I didn’t have long legs etc..) And you are so right, as soon as you allow yourself to stop apologizing for not being perfect, your entire experience tends to change with it – I know it did for me too:-) Great article! I really am happy you shared it cause I know that many others will connect with your words. You are very brave!

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Thank you so much, Michelle! Sadly, body image issues are universal. Which sucks, because we’re all SO MUCH MORE than just our bodies! I’m glad you “saw the light”. 😉

  • D. Holcomb

    I love your snarkiness, and the excellent point that, because you were being yourself, you never had to pretend to be any other way. Having the courage to be yourself isn’t always easy. Bravo!

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Wow, Sarah – you SO hit the nail on the head for me, too. I nearly pushed my husband away, too – it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. It took a solid month for me to come around and realize that I deserved to be loved – it kinda freaked me out that he was so into me. I talk a lot about that stuff in my book. But yeah, I kept him at arm’s length for weeks, poor guy. You’re right, it’s mentally exhausting looking for the approval of others – it has to come from us. I really hope that you finally realize that you’re just awesome the way you are. If you ever wanna chat, just hit me up via the contact stuff in my bio. Thanks for taking the time to reach out!

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Thank you! And I have to say, it’s nice to find someone who likes snark! 😉

  • Naomi Goodlet

    Oh darling you are so beautiful! And of course as worthy as we all are of love! I’m sorry to hear about your difficult journey but and so glad that you found love for yourself in the end. An inspiring story. x

  • mrchrisseattle

    Well said! This concept took me numerous long-term relationships and a divorce to understand. If anything, it taught me how to love myself and it is probably the best lesson I have ever learned. Thanks for the reply and I look forward to future posts.

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Thank you so, so much! 🙂

  • Annika Stahlberg

    Jennifer, thanks for sharing this story. Even though I’ve never battled with weight, it really struck a chord with me – I think self-worth in anything: relationships, friendships, career and business is something a lot of us struggle with. I know I struggle to embrace the feeling of being worthy of my coaching fees. – Do you think going out and charging anyway, and “living my truth” in that sense is all it takes? Would love to know your thoughts around embracing your worth from a business perspective as well.

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Ohhhh I have a lot of feelings surrounding worth in business! For me it takes a lot of talking to myself about what I can give to others, how the results they’ll get are priceless, and how that’s really what people are paying for. Know what I mean? I’d love to talk more with you about this because I’d love to hear your thoughts/experiences. Drop me a line – my social media links are in my bio!

  • Arman

    Jennifer, your experience really touched a part of me. I struggled with my body type for years, I guess using the word struggle in past tense isn’t quite accurate, because I still have my days. There was a time in middle school where a girl told me I looked like an ogre(Shrek?) and I would never get a boyfriend, lol! Well she was wrong, but anyways I never thought I was as big as Shrek. But suddenly when I was single and alone, I would think about her calling me an Ogre, and think that was who I was. Anyways after feeling so bad about my appearance, I decided to work out and lose a few pounds. It wasn’t until a year after that, when I decided to eat healthier because i was always sick and on antibiotics. So after about a year of healthy eating, I realized that I was trying to look better for the world. But who cared about how the world sees me? So 6 months ago, something clicked in my head and I believed in myself more than ever. I didn’t care what anyone thought about what I looked like or what I wore or whether it flattered the figure I have. I can walk with my head high, with posture, and confidence and I feel so good! I think that until you don’t tell yourself how much you’re worth, no one will know. Confidence is key!
    Always love yourself <3

  • Annika Stahlberg

    Sounds, good, will send you a message shortly! 🙂

  • Brandie Kenna

    Hi Jennifer. I love this article! I recently turned 42 and have moved to a new rural community. Fitting in to the new crowd and moving away from my old stomping ground has taken it’s toll on my normally ok self confidence. Thanks for snapping me out of my doldrums and reminding me that what other people think of me is none of my business…and I’m a smart, fun, beautiful, lucky girl, just like you!! Take care and thanks again! Brandie 🙂 XXX

  • Lizzie

    Amazing, amazing post. Thank you.

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Thank you, Lizzie – I’m so glad you liked it. 🙂

  • Jennifer Bardall

    “What other people think of me is none of my business” – that’s brilliant! I love that you said that! 🙂 You get out there and shine, beautiful Brandie! xoxo

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Wow, Arman – what a beautiful story you just told. I’ve always been a big girl, too – always tall, big boned, “solid”, always the tallest in the class and usually bigger than the boys. And there’s really nothing you can do about the way you’re naturally built! I’m so happy that you came around to a more loving place for yourself. “Until you tell yourself how much you’re worth, no one will know” – what a beautiful statement. Sending much, much love to you!

  • leigh

    This spoke to me so much as I have just started a new position at work and at times I go back to my old way of thinking of having to pretend to be someone that I am not. I have always played it safe and not really shown the true me. However that’s all changing the more I speak my truth. I am not going to lie it’s been hard, I’ve had a lot of awkward moments but slowly I am getting there.

    It’s all about being conscious and making it a daily practice to be myself.

    Great post!

  • Jennifer Bardall

    It’s not easy, I know – it takes time. You are so brave and strong for being yourself and speaking your truth. And it’s so worth it. Keep it up, girl! And thanks for your kindness. 🙂

  • Shelley McNamara

    Can I say that I truly love, appreciate and respect everything that you have written here?! I wish I could bottle up your courage and share it with the world…And many days, have a sip or two myself. I’m super short! 5’1″. And I came from a family where praise, love, support were all conditional. So I Iearned at a young age to not love me completely! It’s taken me years to undo the mess my parents bestilled in me. I’ve had to scrape up confidence, shift my self talk, and daily tell myself “I’m worth it”. I can so relate to everything you wrote, and wish that no-one ever had to feel this way! Thank you again for writing so bravely, fiercely and truthfully!

  • sidney

    I really do not believe you deleted the penis pictures! Congrats anyway.

    We all have our insecurities, and people are shallow and dating sites have become so gentrified they mimic the real world…

  • mb

    Amazing post, thank you!

  • Jennifer Bardall

    You’re so welcome, I’m glad you liked it. 🙂

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Ha! Trust me, they were scary. Scaaaaary. 😉

  • Jennifer Bardall

    I wish no-one had to feel this way, too. You’re so brave, sharing yourself like you just did here. I’m so glad you’ve made so much progress for yourself – you deserve it! And thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts – I’m really glad you liked the article! 🙂

  • Arunkumar

    Wonderfully written article. At the end, I actually felt like I heard the Universe heaving a sigh of relief to say, ‘finally’!
    Thank you for the inspiration!

  • bdzc

    This really makes sense to me. I’ve recently told myself “enough”, I’m not going to settle with a type of relationship I don’t really want, with crumbs as you put it. It’s hard…I still feel a bit wobbly about it, but I think in the ling run it is for the best.

  • Jennifer Bardall

    What a strong and courageous decision that was! ((HUGS)) to you! You are worth so, so much more than just settling. xoxo

  • Jennifer Bardall

    You’re so welcome! 🙂

  • I. LOVE. THIS.

    I recently had a similar ‘epiphany’ — that I am good enough just the way I am — and it’s been incredible. I don’t know if you could call it a ‘rant’, but I was at least inspired to start a blog about it ;p
    I’m finding I have to guard this new belief carefully, though, as the old beliefs are sneaky and persistently try to regain control. Reading this today was just the rejuvenation I needed. Thank you 🙂 I look forward to keeping up with you through your website.

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Thanks so much! You put it beautifully – we have to guard this new belief because yes, the old beliefs are so persistent. Very good point! I hope we can connect soon, feel free to drop me a line. 🙂

  • Isabella Johannson


  • Jennifer Bardall

    🙂 🙂 🙂 Thank you! Really glad you think so.

  • Natasha

    That was brilliant, Lovely read and just what I needed.
    Good job 🙂

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Thanks, Natasha. I’m so glad you liked it. 🙂

  • Amy

    Thank you for this great post! I’m going through this mini crisis. I don’t like my job and don’t know what i want to do with my life. Also, like you mention in your article about being in your twenties and lacking in dates and a romantic life is really bothering me now. Always kinda knew this but it is so much more evident that all this is mainly because of the way i see myself. i’m not good enough to apply for this job or those guys won’t like me because i’ve put on a few points or i’m not fit looking. This posting is inspiring and i hope to change the way i see myself and know that i am enough and i can do it!

  • Savannah

    Often times we are afraid to engage in “positive self-talk” because it may come off as boastful and, perhaps, narcissistic. But honestly if you think about it, it’s like faking it until you make it, and like you said, the minute you change the way you “talk” to yourself, your perception changes. The minute you say, “I am awesome,” other people, be it friends or romantic interest or what have you, are attracted to your self-proclaimed awesomeness, and they too want to be included in your awesomeness. It’s like the law of attraction, and I believe it. But you have to start somewhere. I enjoyed reading about your transitional process, everybody has a diverse story, thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Gabby

    Hello Jennifer! I just wanted to say how much I can relate to your story, since I’ve been struggling with my weigh for a long time, and I’ve unfortunately had to deal with ugly comments from many people, it was hard for me to get rid of the pain such episodes caused, right now I don’t think about it so much since I decided to take charge and started a while ago to take care of myself and my figure, let’s say I’m living and enjoying the moment, but sometimes I still have those days in when I wonder if those people were right about me. Btw I purchased your book “delicious” which I found inspiring, original and its a very good addition to this article

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Wow Gabby, thank you SO much for purchasing my book! You just made my day. I know what you mean about those old thoughts sneaking in from time to time – I still get that way. But it’s really entirely up to US to decide who we are and where we belong in the world. It’s not always easy but then again neither is being miserable, right? I’m glad that you’re enjoying your life!!! xoxo And thanks again!

  • Jennifer Bardall

    You know, Savannah, it’s so funny you should say that re: feeling boastful. You’re right, at first that’s exactly how it can feel, especially if we were given the idea at some point that talking about ourselves in a positive way is a bad thing. And it’s so much more pervasive for women than it is for men, I think. What do you think?

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Hi Amy, I really really glad you read this and that you took something from it. If you ever wanna chat some more about this, hit me up via the links in the bio above. I’ve also gone through the job situation, too, so I know how that feels – and it can be good to have someone to talk to who understands. Either way, thanks for reading & for taking the time to comment. You can do it!!!! 🙂

  • Amy

    Thank you for replying! I’ll have to continue to work on myself and my negative thoughts. Reading and checking out the links from your bio above is helping quite a bit!
    PS you are awesome, funny, and inspirational. Keep doing what your doing!

  • Little Doe

    Thank you SO much for this! This has come at a moment when I’ve realized I’m not living up to who I want to be and am still living in fear of the judgement of people I’ve wronged in a winless situation. This post has given me courage and conviction to stand on. Thank you for posting and I’m so happy for you that you found your love for yourself. Just, beautiful.

  • Jennifer Bardall

    Thank you so much for your beautiful words – and I really do hope that you take this and move onward and upward. You deserve it.

  • Kay Lee

    Thank you for sharing your story ! It has helped me tremendously.

  • Jennifer Bardall

    I’m so glad it helped you, Kay! Sending you love <3

  • Jody Rivers

    Wonderful and inspiring article Jennifer! I have dealt with self-esteem issues regarding my appearance for years. As a short, 5’7″ balding guy I rarely show up on any single ladies radar. However, I do possess many valuable traits such as a kind heart, a great sense of humor, and being an awesome listener. Unfortunately, in our society a man is expected to be tall, dark and handsome, with an emphasis on the tall part. One early memory I have is going to my first high school dance. One attractive girl who danced with me said: “You know, you aren’t half bad looking in the dark.” That one comment set the tone of how I would perceive myself for many years to come. To this day I struggle with my appearance, or my perception of it. My doctor thinks I suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder, a strange condition where a person believes their appearance is hideous. Not sure if I agree with that particular diagnoses, but I do feel that my own thinking about my perceived ugliness is the real issue. As I have grown older I have become much less concerned about how others perceive my appearance. Of course I still have those days of self-loathing, but thankfully they are much rarer than they once were. Anyhow, your article touched a nerve, in a very positive manner. Your story inspired me because I could see that even a beautiful woman like you could feel less than as defined by society’s ridiculous standards. Thank-you so much for the light you turned on in my consciousness Jennifer.