The Awkwardness of Being Called “Beautiful”

Today I am feeling negative even though I know I have no reason to be negative or angry. It is probably because I am just really tired this morning.

But as usual, I have some nagging thoughts about things that again, probably don’t matter. I realize that being pregnant does make me more sensitive to things and I over-analyze things–even more than usual. I am aware of it this time around, but it doesn’t change how it makes me feel. And regardless of my pregnancy, it is always awkward being called “beautiful.”

For starters, my definition of beauty is particular. I won’t try to describe it, but I don’t fit into that definition–no matter what my size. That being said, I do try to find things to like about myself. It is a lot easier when I am losing weight and I can see the difference.

Secondly, my weight and size were an issue for my family. Perhaps out of concern for my health or pressure from other family members, my mother pushed me to lose weight. She wasn’t alone. My grandmother criticized my weight when I was 9 years old and my aunts made comments about how much I weighed. I remember being ashamed of my body from a young age and believed being thin was preferred to fat.

Now that I am older, there is still that childish desire to be thin like everyone wanted when I was little, but I know that even if I was thin, I would be criticized. I know the truth is every body is different. Some are lean and others are curvy. Some have hips and others don’t. But there are very few bodies that are perfect and that imperfection is quite possibly the most beautiful thing of all. Ok, that may be a bit too inspirational-poster type material, but it we all looked the same, it wouldn’t be very interesting. Besides, someone is bound to appreciate a specific body type.

Ok, so back to my awkwardness and being called beautiful. Needless to say, I wasn’t called “beautiful” growing up. I didn’t need to be called “beautiful,” but at an age when I am uncertain about my appearance some assurance that I was going to get through this awkward time would have a bit more constructive than being called a “whale” and being told I was getting so fat I wouldn’t be able to fit through a door (a huge exaggeration since I was much smaller then than I am now!).

These might have been some “tough love” tactics to motivate me, and I won’t deny sometimes I need to use them myself–although, with a lot less over the top descriptions. When my husband asks if he is getting fat, I say honestly, “Well, I am noticing your belly is getting a bit bigger.” Ok, maybe once in a while I am a bit more insulting, but I really, really try not to go there.

“Tough love” has never really worked with me. It doesn’t motivate me. I am not someone who responds to that tactic, but that was the only tactic used. As I have found over the years, I respond to encouragement and support from the people that matter to me. And if I am still not where I need to be, I know my failures, I am often times well-aware of my failures, which is why encouragement is so important so I don’t give up.

For example, I was told at one point something along the lines of “You have only lost 5lbs?”

But I lost 5lb pesky pounds! That’s better than not losing anything. I would have been more motivated if I was told something like “You lost 5lbs! What do you think is working for you?”

Making me think critically about what was working might have helped me. I track just about everything I eat now and how it makes me feel. There are some gluten-free foods that taste good, but cause me more discomfort that just eating the gluten alternative. Thinking about those connections would have made a huge difference when I was an adolescent.

That isn’t to say that I wouldn’t still have issues with my weight.

I feel like I am really going off topic with this one. So now, I am adult, a mom, and as I said before, even bigger than I was in high school. But the same people who at one point gave me the “tough love” talks about my appearance and weight are calling me “beautiful” and it is really awkward for me. I don’t know how to respond, and sometimes I don’t. I don’t know why they are calling me beautiful because being fat isn’t considered beautiful. Is it because I am young and my youth is by comparison beautiful? Do they even mean it or are they just saying it to be nice?

I don’t know! It is so…annoying because I don’t know if they are even being sincere or not.

For a positive spin on this, I know I am going to have issues with what my children eat. And setting a good example may not be enough someday, I know that. Maybe “tough love” will work but maybe not. I have to be willing to try different things to get my children back on track when they decide to eat unhealthy foods. One of those things may be having them think critically about how some foods make them feel.

I hope you are having a good Tuesday.


4 responses to “The Awkwardness of Being Called “Beautiful”

    • It probably works for some people, but it wasn’t a tactic that worked well for me. Instead, I grew up to hate my body and myself. Getting out of that environment, definitely helped, but it has taken me far longer than I would have liked to accept myself the way I am and acknowledge that being a healthy weight for me may not mean being the super-thin person they wanted me to be as an adolescent.

  1. I can relate to what you said, while me and your mother were growing up on the farm, we were never much to look at! We were reminded of it often. But we did not dwell on it, most mothers raise their children the best they can. When their children reaches a certain age, that is when “We”mother’s falls short. Some children will let them know all their failures, but seldom praise. I am thankful for the way I was raised, strict as it was, but I would not change a thing. I’m sure your Mother feels the same. Food for thought.

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