You should never, EVER wear sandals. Your feet are SOOOOOOO ugly.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

I beg to differ.

I don’t remember his name, but I can’t forget his words.

Most of us are surrounded by a cacophony of voices. That was a stupid thing to say. I’m never going to get this done. I’m running late…again.

For women, the voices often go for the jugular – they attack our bodies and/or our sexuality.  Eat this. Don’t eat that. My eyes are up here. Is that another wrinkle? Are my roots showing? Do these pants make my butt look big? Did he think I was asking for it?

Have you ever wondered where these voices come from?

Unfortunately, we often carry the words of others with us long after they voiced them. Perhaps a well-intentioned friend tried to help us pick out clothes that would be flattering for our trouble spots. Our mothers complained about their legs growing up, revealing to us that we were genetically destined to have cankles. A lover may have made an off-handed comment about our breasts, or waists, or hips, or nose, or eyes, or whatever.  Even compliments can be backhanded criticisms – Have you lost weight? You look so great. Did I look so bad before?

I hate my feet. Seriously. Hate them. Actually, it’s not my feet per se. It’s my toes. I blame my parents. My dad’s toes are crooked, but long and lanky. My mom’s feet are short, but very well proportioned. I inherited the crookedness from my dad and the shortness from my mom, leaving me with short, crooked toes. Pedicures help. The right shoes (wide please) can also make them acceptable for public viewing. Often times, however, I’ll wear sneakers instead of sandals even when its 100 degrees outside.

There is something very powerful, however, about calling this voice out. What did you say? Who do you think you are?

There are a few steps to reclaiming these imposter voices.

1)   Identify the negative voice. If we aren’t conscious of the negative things we say to ourselves daily, then it is very hard to combat them. Your feet are ugly.

2)   Write the words down. Although writing it down may be scary, it gives us something tangible to work with.

3)   Identify whose voice it actually is (the most unexpected people – friends, family, strangers – have often taken up residence in our minds).  I can’t remember the name of my attacker, but I call him Foot Festish Fred (where does he get off making comments about my feet).

4)   Change the words from criticisms to affirmations. Although there is something powerful about criticisms, affirmations can be just as powerful. My feet are unique. My feet support my running. My feet have helped me walk all over the world.

This isn’t a panacea. But I’m working through it. You can too. Summer and sandals…here I come!

What words are ringing in your head? How are you combating them?

    • Tom
    • March 30th, 2011

    You’re an All-Star! Great post!

  1. Oh, I have so many words ringing in my head. I’m working to drown them out with new affirmations! xoxo

    • Tiffany Hogan
    • March 31st, 2011

    Amen sista! I LOVE this post! Thank you for your advice. I will be using it. 😉

    • Tara
    • April 6th, 2011

    You have beautiful feet! Love you.

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