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Insecure about my height

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  • #386363
    shoob
    Participant

    Hello,

    I’m a male, 26, and I’m currently dealing with a lot of negative thoughts and self-loathing about my height – recently I’ve been always wanting to be taller and feeling inferior to others. I find myself comparing myself on the internet a lot, researching other celebrities height around my height and trying to get motivation but I still find myself feeling inferior and unattractive a lot. I’ve heard of studies of shorter men having more dating struggles, work struggles and just a general sense of unattractiveness. It does not make me feel good.

    It’s weird because I never had these thoughts occur as much throughout high school/uni and it’s only started to get really bad as of late – perhaps it is because I’m spending more time on the internet comparing myself, but I find I’m really struggling to have a healthy identity of myself and all my mind can think about is this one aspect of me which I don’t like/wish I could change.

    I wish I could stop thinking about these thoughts and live my normal life without the need to compare myself to others all the time when I past them (or even inanimate objects like fences, seeing if I am taller than a fence etc. to get a better gauge of how I look from 3rd person view) – I feel so damn vain and I hate it, but I have no idea how to stop/manage these thoughts which are beginning to consume and impact my daily life. Sometimes I wish my parents were taller but I know that is a very ungrateful attitude as they are really good parents and I find myself feeling guilty when thinking this.

    Has anyone else felt this sort of negative self-loathing about their height or any other physical characteristics which are beyond our control? I hate that I care about this so much.. I really do. How can I start to love myself unconditionally and stop placing so much value on this physical characteristic which I perceive as unattractive/undesirable? It is eating me alive.

    – Shoob

    #386372
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shoob:

    I wish I could stop thinking about these thoughts”– is your current obsession with the topic of your height- your first obsession, or were you obsessed in the past with other topics, such as.. your health, someone else’s health, being rejected by people, etc.?

    anita

    #386380
    shoob
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

     

    Thank you for the response and I believe it’s my first true obsession, but previously it’s been my nature to identify lacking traits in myself and work hard at ‘fixing’/improving them (e.g. studies, sports, getting better at hobbies) – but I’m struggling to deal with this ‘lacking’ trait as it seems there is nothing I can do – I just feel less masculine/deserving of respect and love because of this trait and I don’t know how to get rid of it or stop believing it… literally looking up to people all the time is difficult for my mental as it feels like I am lesser than them in that moment.

    Shoob

    #386381
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shoob:

    You are welcome.

    I just feel less.. deserving of respect and love.. like I am lesser“- if you went back in time, as far back as you can.. to the time before you went to school (before working hard at “fixing/ improving.. studies, sports.. h0bbies”)- what was it that made you feel less-than, and undeserving of respect and love?

    anita

    #386382
    shoob
    Participant

    I’m not too sure if there is a specific moment before I went to school, but there were times when I experienced racism as a young child from other children and really started to hate being asian. I really wanted to fit in the Western society I was in and I longed to be white though I have overcome that now and am proud to be asian.

    And while this feeling of not being enough height started a bit in high school, it’s really started to consume me again now in my current adult working life. Perhaps recently I have been going on the internet too much and watching videos of all these ‘height matters’ videos and learning of too many studies essentially saying being a shorter male is an overall negative thing making me feel bad about myself.

    Have you ever experienced some similar things anita about aspects of yourself you couldn’t change that you didnt’ like?

    #386383
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shoob:

    I would like to return to your thread and answer at length when I am more focused. It could be as long as in 14 hours from now.

    anita

    #386398
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shoob:

    I’ve heard of studies of shorter men having more dating struggles, work struggles and just a general sense of unattractiveness“-

    – For such studies to be scientifically accurate and reliable, there needs to be .. let’s say 100 men of different heights (some short, others tall) who otherwise are pretty equal. For example, if of the 100 men, 20 are short and overweight, then maybe their struggles at work etc., are caused by being overweight, more than being short. Another example: if of the 100 men there are 40 tall men who suffer from significant anxiety since early age, nothing to do with their heights.. that too needs to be taken into account: what if their struggles at work etc., has more to do with their pre-existing anxiety than with their heights?

    In other words, for the studies to be accurate, there need to be 100 men  of different heights (some short, others tall), but otherwise they need to have the same BMI, the same amount of anxiety, the same physical fitness, etc.,.. not to mention that nature of their individual workplaces need to be considered in regard to their work struggles (maybe an individual’s work struggles is a result of  a terrible workplace?)

    There are many, many themes to people feeling inferior to others: race, ethnicity, color of skin within the same racial group, height, weight, any one of the hundreds of facial and body features, a person’s tendency to blush.. or sweat too much.. a person’s education or lack of, a person’s financial status, a person’s marital status, a person’s job.. living on a mountain or in the city, and on and on and on.

    Has anyone else felt this sort of negative self-loathing about their height or any other physical characteristics which are beyond our control?… It is eating me alive“- more people than not feel dissatisfaction with their physical bodies. You are in the company of many millions of people. In regard to your self-loathing, it’s a step up from dissatisfaction, isn’t it.

    Your dissatisfaction has risen to the level of an obsession that negatively affects your daily life: “I believe it’s my first true obsession.. I don’t know how to get rid of it or stop believing it“- you are now in the habit of comparing yourself to others etc., it is a mental habit, and like other habits, habits can be changed. It is not easy though.. to stop the brain from going again and again to where it habitually goes.

    there were times when I experienced racism as a young child from other children and really started to hate being Asian. I really wanted to fit in the Western society I was in and I longed to be white though I have overcome that now and am proud to be Asian“- I am proud of you for being proud being Asian!

    Have you ever experienced some similar things anita about aspects of yourself you couldn’t change that you didnt’ like?“- yes, one of them was my height. I felt that I was too tall when I was a teenager and young adult (5’5”/ 168 cm) because most boys/ men were the same height as me, some were shorter, and so, I felt unattractive for being too tall. I was in the habit of standing in such a way that I appeared shorter, and of course, I wore flat shoes.

    We can continue to communicate if you’d like.

    anita

    #386408
    shoob
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you very much for the detailed response, I also just wanted to say I really appreciate your response and this discussion as I’ve always been too embarrassed to share this height insecurity in real life – so thank you.

    And yes you make very good points about the studies – I should not take so much stock in them.

    And yes also very good point on the themes of inferiority – I just need to learn to get better at accepting that I cannot change other’s perspective of me and to just go about my day. I will also try to stop this habit of comparison.

    I’ll keep trying to work on this comparison habit and hopefully learn to not only accept my height but be proud of it as well. Hopefully one day…

    And thank you for sharing as well Anita, I hope you feel better about your height now as well, societal expectations/valuations of our physical attributes can feel very frustrating/depressing at times.

    I just wanted to finally say thank you so much for responding in such a caring and detailed fashion, you are a very kind soul and I really appreciate it 🙂

    Shoob

     

     

    #386409
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shoob:

    The height of your grace and kindness is.. impressive, and in comparison (since you are inclined to compare): what is the value of emotional kindness in comparison to the value of physical height?

    What is the value of a warm smile, in real life, a smile that says to the other person: I like you, thank you for being in my life!.. in comparison to how tall one is..?

    If you have to compare, compare values that matter a lot, not physical features we are born with, features that don’t matter much.

    You are very welcome, Shoob, and thank you for your appreciation and kindness. If you need help with breaking the comparison-habit and other mental habits, let me know. Maybe I will be able to help you.

    anita

     

    #387337
    anita
    Participant

    How are you, Snoob?

    anita

    #387481
    shoob
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I’m going okay thank you for asking and really appreciate the follow up- I can’t believe it’s been 1 month since we were talking/discussing this topic, time just flies haha. In terms of my thoughts on this, it’s gotten a little bit better, but sometimes I still get a bit obsessed (googling other celeb’s my height, measuring myself constantly throughout the day and comparing my height to others + objects). I’ve been considering seeing counselling to discuss this (I was thinking this is potentially height dysmorphia/OCD) but I made a mini breakthrough recently by questioning why I want to be taller/why I’m not satisfied with my height – it is to do with feeling that people will not respect me/love me with my current height – but I’ve been reading a bit of buddhism/stoic teachings that talk about how desire is the root of suffering.

    So I’m trying to reduce my desire of wanting respect/love from others, and just be content with what I have and realise external factors/things will not make me ‘happy’ nor is there ever a state of permanent ‘happiness’, I’m starting to realise this mindset of wanting ‘more’ is not conducive to good health  (which is a lot easier said that done) – I’m trying to catch my negative thoughts and replace it with ‘I do not need this to be happy etc. etc.)’ and ‘no one is thinking about me/cares about me as much i think they do – they are thinking about themselves, everyone sees themselves as the main character so are not worrying much about me’.

    Overall the height insecurity thoughts are still there, but it has been a little bit less frequent which makes me happy 🙂 (it’s a long never-ending journey hey).

    How are you Anita and how is your mental health at the moment? Any highlights/lowlights you would like to share or goals you are striving for? Also out of curiosity, do you meditate (and if so what is your practice/routine like)? I find meditation very difficult to keep as a regular practice haha.

    I also really appreciate the follow up too.

    Shoob

    #387486
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shoob:

    You are welcome and good to read back from you! I am glad to read that your thoughts about your height are “a little bit less frequent“. I think that it’s excellent that you read “Buddhism/ stoic teachings“, and aiming at the following: “I’m trying to reduce my desire of wanting respect/love from others“.

    Paraphrased, the First Noble Truth identifies the presence of suffering in our lives, physical and mental, and the Second  identifies Desire (which cannot be satisfied),  and Ignorance to be at the root of mental suffering. Clearly at 26, your desire to be taller cannot be satisfied, neither can the desire to be respected and loved by everyone (and often, not even the desire to be respected and loved by a single person who does not… can be satisfied).

    Ignorance means to not see people and situations as they truly are. I think that what you may not see is in this sentence from your original post: “How can I start to love myself unconditionally..?”-

    Most likely, if your parents were the major figures in your life as a child, they loved you conditionally (as most parents do), fueling your current obsession with your height. It’s your brain reasoning something like this: oh, it must be my height the reason why I wasn’t loved unconditionally… or is it? (and to answer the latter you google celebs’ heights, measure yourself and compare).

    * Although your identification of  “height dysmorphia/OCD)” being what you suffer from read true to me (a non-professional), from having experienced body dysmorphia and OCD myself, for many years,  I know that these labels, although true and useful to me, do not identify the root cause of my personal lifetime suffering. I imagine that this is true to you too, and that the root cause of your suffering is likely to be .. conditional love early on and onward (?)

    How are you Anita and how is your mental health at the moment? Any highlights/lowlights you would like to share or goals you are striving for? Also out of curiosity, do you meditate“- (1) I am fine, thank you, continuing to engage in my own mental/ emotional healing. It’s been extremely slow on tiny buddha where I’ve done much of my healing, so this takes some adjustment on my part,  (2) I am currently getting to feel more of how I felt as a child and a teenager, and this makes me less afraid. I am feeling more alive, more of a part of life itself rather than an exception, (3)  I no longer listen to guided meditations nor do meditate as part of any established practice,

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by anita.
    #387659
    shoob
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    It’s great to read back from you too! And thank you for clarifying the buddhist teachings as well, my knowledge is quite superficial at the moment only really garnering knowledge from youtube/google searches.

    And yes I believe you’re correct, my parents put a lot of value on studies/achieving/succeeding and even when I would get good marks I would be happy with me, they would sometimes be upset if it was not up to their standards (particularly my mother) – i love my parents though and I understand where they were coming from, but yes it seems like there has been some unintended consequences on my mental health later down the road…

    And yes I believe you are correct, the fact that I have only conditional love myself has very likely stemmed from my childhood and parental figures (something I never really considered) – and oh that’s also very interesting I would love to hear more about your experiences with body dysmorphia and OCD as well (or was it also related to your tall height which you mentioned previously?)

    Ah, when you say healing on tiny buddha,  is that providing help and guidance to others? (i.e. giving to others helps your own mental health). Also that is great that you’re feeling less afraid, I hope this feeling becomes more regular for you. And thank you for sharing the meditation aspect as well – (I’ve been trying to meditate more frequently but find it so hard to slow down and do nothing). Sometimes I believe these negative thoughts of ours cant be ‘out-thunk’ and just need to exercise/meditate/see people.

    Shoob

    #387661
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shoob:

    You are welcome, good to read from you again. As you pay more and more attention to the ways in which you do not love yourself unconditionally (the ways you criticize and reject yourself  in a variety of contexts during the say), as you then correct your thoughts and offer yourself unconditional acceptance, and as you engage in  positive interactions/ relationships with people who offer you the acceptance that you need-  you will learn to accept and love yourself unconditionally.. more and more so, over time.

    I would love to hear more about your experiences with body dysmorphia and OCD as well (or was it also related to your tall height which you mentioned previously?)-

    Regarding my experience with OCD: it started in  my first decade of life, I think, it was very pronounced in my teenage years, went on to my 20s and 30s (diagnosed in  my 20s, got on an SSRI medication for OCD in my late 30s, got off SSRIs 17 years later), and I no longer suffer from it since a few years ago as a result of what I refer to as my healing process. My OCD included lots of Obsessive thinking and many Compulsions: rituals that I performed to relieve the distress that accompanied obsessive thinking.

    Regarding my experience with body dysmorphia: I was bothered by being too tall to my liking, but I was also bothered by lots of other things about my looks when I was a teenager and onward. After I started to gain weight for the first time in my life, when getting close to 40, I went on diets and over-exercised so to lose weight.. and at one point on I viewed myself as overweight when I was of normal weight, and went on to lose more weight until I was underweight. This has been going on long enough for me to receive the diagnosis of anorexia. The idea of being overweight still distresses me, but I am not anorexic.

    Ah, when you say healing on tiny buddha,  is that providing help and guidance to others”? (i.e. giving to others helps your own mental health)“- no, my healing on tiny buddha is about learning about myself and about others. The more I learn about others, the more I understand myself, and .. the more I understand myself, the more I understand others.. due to the fact that as humans we have a whole lot in common. For me, learning is synonymous with mental/ emotional healing.

    anita

     

     

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