I believe that (to a degree) our height has helped define and shape our personality and level of self-esteem. Obviously there are other factors at play in helping define who we are but this article will just focus on height.
From an early age we were always one of the tallest kids in school. Consequently we’d have to put up with being called names such as “giraffe” or “giant”, as well as being asked all kind of silly questions such as “how’s the weather up there?” or “how did you grow so tall?”. Funnily enough, I still get asked these questions all the time but thankfully people no longer refer to me as giraffe or giant.
Over time we had to eventually learn how to deal with being the centre of focus and ridicule (based on something completely out of our control) by developing a “thick skin” and not letting it get to us. This, however, could have gone one of two ways:
- You ended up developing a high level of self-esteem.
- You developed lower levels of self-esteem.
I think the path we ended up following had a lot to do with the way we were brought up.
If we were raised from a young age to believe that height is a blessing and advantage (i.e. that height is a beautiful thing) then we most likely would have understood that the comments about our height were being made out of jealousy and eventually we would have developed some self-confidence and belief in ourselves. For others the opposite might have been true and you grew up to believe that being tall is a disadvantage (as you are so different to everyone else) and so you do not feel that you deserve to be treated nicely for having an apparent ‘unfair advantage’ over others.
That’s not to say that if you were bullied about your height as a child you still suffer from low levels of self-esteem. Far from it; in fact I know many tall people who had rocky childhoods but grew up to be successful and confident in life. What I’m suggesting is that some of our early childhood experiences may have shaped how we see ourselves and the world now. For example, if you were bullied a lot about your height as a child and developed low self-esteem you might be overly cautious when meeting new people or automatically get defensive when someone makes a comment about your height. Conversely if you grew up with high levels of self-esteem about your height then you may enjoy all the attention your height brings you and you use the silly questions you get asked as an opportunity to joke around and break the ice.
Overall, I think height alone does not completely define who we are but it has played a role shaping our self-esteem and confidence from a young age. There are a number of things we can do to boost our self-esteem and confidence (I listed one simple hack in a previous article) but ultimately it comes down to being comfortable in your own skin, accepting that you are tall (and will stand out) and standing tall and proud. Our height is a gift, one that I would never change for anything in the world. Sure, there might be some disadvantages but at the same time there are numerous advantages.
What are your thoughts about my take on this topic? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Stand tall and be proud.
- Image credit for unknown identity (cover image): here
This is a great article! I can totally relate to everything you say! I grew up in a place where I was always the tallest. Taller than all my friends, taller than all the guys, and by the age 13 taller than most adults. I hunched pretty much all my life and wished I could be tiny and petite just like my friends. I would wear high heels only absolutely exceptionally and then always feel awkward and embarrassed about how I was towering over everyone and how I had to look down in order to look into peoples’ faces when I was talking to them.
Until I met my boyfriend a few years ago. He’s 6’7″ and comes from a family of basketball players where being tall is regarded as a gift to be proud of. When I told him about my concerns, he couldn’t understand why I would be self-conscious about something that gives you so many benefits in life. He encouraged me to wear high heels and to stand tall and be proud of who I am. Since then, I accepted my height and I do enjoy being tall and all the advantages that come with it.
I love your article because it portrays exactly those two types of people: You either have a very high self-esteem or low self-esteem depending on how you grew up.
But even having bad experiences can be a good inspiration. They encouraged me to start my own business together with my boyfriend to support other tall people who are struggling with typical tall problems such as finding longer clothes and bigger shoes. If you want, you can check it out under: http://www.prettylong.com
Love your blog, you’re a great writer!
Have a great day!
All the best,
Art of Tall says
Thanks so much for your comment and for opening up and sharing your experiences about growing up in the context of being tall! I’m sure other women reading this may be able to relate or have experienced similarities in their youth. What I love about your story is that you took your bad experiences and turned them into something positive to help others like yourself. I think that is fantastic and I applaud you for what you have achieved; I’ve had a look and your website and think it’s a brilliant idea (I also like the design). Clothing for tall people is a huge challenge at the moment and it’s great to see websites like yours popping up and showing tall people that they too can dress well and stylishly.
Keep up the good work.
All the best,