100 lb. Club - Self Esteem Issue: Do you compare yourself with others?




Michelle98272
03-14-2010, 04:39 PM
The first thing I do when enterring a roomfull of people I don't know, be it a business meeting or a social situation...I check my size against others. If I am the biggest in the room, I feel bad about myself. If I am NOT the biggest, I find myself gloating a little. "Wow, look at her! At least my butt isn't THAT big".

It's a little like watching Jerry Springer...I feel better about myself by looking down on others. 3FC has been a very good place for me. It has allowed me to get to know people of all sizes and see them as people. I can't judge others as easily now as I know people of all sizes on a more personal level.

I know feeling good about myself at the expense of others...even if they don't know what I'm thinking...is a false boost to myself esteem as it is a negative practice and very conditional. Does everyone/anyone else find themselves doing this? I don't think this just has to do with my size...before I was overweight, I did the same thing with my looks or length of hair or clothing styles...It's not a very nice thing I do and I'm working to change it.


Summerblue
03-14-2010, 05:11 PM
Ahhhhh Michelle......I actually don't compare myself, I used to several years ago, but not any longer.

I guess with age I have really learned that EVERYONE has issues, even the most fit person in the room could have major issues that just are not visible, you know? Everyone deals with different things/issues/insecurities.

YOu are on the right tack and doing something about how you feel about yourself - that speaks VOLUMES, trust me.

PeanutsMom704
03-14-2010, 05:30 PM
one thing to keep in mind esp. about weight is that you don't know these people and their whole stories. So maybe that thin woman you are comparing yourself to just lost 200 lbs to get there. And maybe even that woman who is heavier than you started off at 400 lbs and has made a major life change to get to 300 lbs.

I mean, I know it's hard to not compare, but I think the bigger issue it to not JUDGE - yourself, as well as anyone else.


Shmead
03-14-2010, 05:45 PM
I catch myself doing the same thing, and really, really work to stop it. The biggest reason is that if you are thinking bad things about people who are heavier than you, you'll tend to assume that people who are thinner than you are thinking bad things about you--and that you deserve it. Think nice things about everyone, you assume they are thinking nice things about you. Whether or not it's true, you can't control their thoughts anyway, so you might as well shift to the assumption that will make you happy.

That said, I was really, really tempted to offer my old clothes to a lady at work that I think is sorta self-righteous about food/health issues. But I squashed the impulse.

CLCSC145
03-14-2010, 05:52 PM
I do the comparing thing, but somehow I always come out on the losing end in my head! I end up picking the people out of the crowd who are prettier than me, thinner than me, smaller overall than me, etc. and obsess over the idea that I am not as good as them. It's still a self-esteem problem, just a different way to express it.

When I see heavier people, my first thought is always one of empathy. Being fat is not an easy road to walk and compassion is in short supply these days.

Rainbow
03-14-2010, 06:09 PM
I used to all the time. I sitll do sometimes. I started to stop doing it last September. I felt comfortable enough whereever I went to not worry about if I was the fattest person where ever I went. I noticed I wasn't always the fattest person anymore as I had been in the past :D and if I was the fattest I didn't really care as I'd lost so much weight :)

mkendrick
03-14-2010, 06:15 PM
I do this constantly.

Some of it is making sure I'm not the biggest person in the room, and I do feel like a jerk for that. I feel like a whale if I am the biggest, but sometimes I find myself thinking "wow, her tummy is way bigger than mine" and "I'm glad my thighs don't look like that." And I definitely feel crude for thinking these things because she most likely has body issues also. I want people to accept me for who I am and how I look, and I absolutely feel that others deserve the same respect.

However, more often I am comparing myself to others simply because I have no sense of what I look like. I look at a girl who has what I consider a nice body and I think "I wonder what size I am compared to her."

I drive my boyfriend nuts with pointing out girls and asking if I'm bigger or smaller than they are, lol.

kaplods
03-14-2010, 06:21 PM
I'd be lying if I said never, but truly not very often. I enjoy being me (even fat me). I'm intelligent, creative, funny, and usually am comfortable and confident in most situations.

I've always been a very outgoing person though. I guess I'm a risk-taker and nonconformist at heart. I love variety in people. Even when I was a child, I was fascinated by all the ways people could be different. I thought the differences were awesome.

To some degree, I always felt far too much compassion for anyone who was "different" to feel superior. Not that it never happened, but usually it was in the more practical sense of the "heat being off me." I never liked seeing other people picked on or bullied, but it was sometimes a relief when I wasn't the most likely target (although I also had the habit of coming to the defense of anyone being bullied - where that confidence came from I don't know, but I do remember threatening bullies - they'd say "what are you going to do, sit on me," and I'd say "If I have to."

Don't get me wrong. I have had my share of "my life sucks," moments, and less than charitable thoughts about others. I wasn't always as confident as I am now - but I think the threads of self esteem and confidence were always there. For my age and situation I always had above average self esteem and confidence.

Even though my appearance should have put me on the bottom rungs of childhood to high school popularity, my quick wit and outgoing friendliness put me smack dab in the upper middle. I think really it was one part empathy and five parts my love of talking. I didn't hold grudges because I couldn't resist the need to communicate, and you can't communicate without an audience - and I didn't care who my audience was. I was just as comfortable talking with the most "popular" kids as with the "burnouts."

I think it's why I chose the field of psychology. I love learning about people's differences, and I don't tend to automatically attach value to those differences. Even when I was a probation officer, I found myself empathising more often than not with my probation clients. I could definitely imagine being in the same situation, if I'd had the same life.

LuckyJules
03-14-2010, 06:44 PM
I do, but it's because I'm an extremely jealous person. I'm going through some self-help books on the issue right now, but I'm actually a very unconfident person. I compare myself to all of the girls that are smaller than me and that are in clothing catalogs. It's a serious problem that I've been getting help on. I have no problems with other people and their sizes, but I just want to be smaller and be beautiful, even though there's no possible way for me to look like some of those women. For example, I'd love to be able to say I'm an XS, but in reality, my body can never be that because of the way I'm built. I'm in the process of learning that stuff.

Beverlyjoy
03-14-2010, 06:56 PM
I do notice if there are big people in the room. There is never any judgement, really. But, I do often feel sad for them because I truely understand how it is to live in a big body. However....those folks would never know what I am thinking

beaka
03-14-2010, 08:09 PM
I think I do this more with people who appear to be a similar body height/type/size as me. It's not me trying to be a mean girl, but I'm super aware of my own body now and I think that makes me more aware of other people's bodies. I think I kinda use me other people as a reference point, like when we have "weight twins" on this site. I want to run up to people and ask them what size they wear and how much they weigh when they look to be about my size- wierd, I know. I like looking at the mybodygallery website.

choirgirlhotel
03-14-2010, 08:17 PM
I do the comparing thing, but somehow I always come out on the losing end in my head! I end up picking the people out of the crowd who are prettier than me, thinner than me, smaller overall than me, etc. and obsess over the idea that I am not as good as them. It's still a self-esteem problem, just a different way to express it.



Me too!

~CGH~

MomtoThree
03-14-2010, 08:23 PM
Oh, I catch myself doing this and really try to stop it but it does not always work.

Lifeguard
03-14-2010, 10:02 PM
I definitely find myself doing this. I don't feel superior when I'm not the fattest, just more comfortable, less judged somehow. I look forward to the day when I don't worry every time I walk in the room that I will be the fattest by a long shot.

TraceyElaine
03-15-2010, 08:34 AM
I don't think I judge anyone for being bigger or smaller than myself. I think I might be less selfe conscious around ppl of similar or bigger size. But I find I compare myself to others because I am so unsure of what i look like to other ppl. I try to guess weights and think "is that what i looked like at that weight?, Is that what I look like now? Will I look like that?" But I don't think I look down on anyone for weight.

Trazey34
03-15-2010, 09:44 AM
I'm afraid comparing yourself to others, whether it's looks, money, car, hubby, job, smarts, etc., is a fool's game - there's ALWAYS someone younger prettier thinner richer etc. LOL it's never ending!!!

diesirae
03-15-2010, 09:59 AM
I have to admit I do compare myself to others as well. Only for me its more like I am taking comfort in the fact that I am not alone in being overweight. It's always been a nice self esteem boost for me when I see someone that is heavier then me, just because it makes me feel more comfortable. Its definitely nice to know I'm not the only one who feels and thinks this way. Although it is sometimes a double edged sword because it always makes me say to myself "I wonder what people think about me"

marigrace
03-15-2010, 10:29 AM
I think most people size themselves up that way. I don't know why... it may be unrealistic, or maybe it bothers me too much to think that others may be judging me by some social yardstick...that's why I don't allow those thoughts to linger.

Nada
03-15-2010, 10:34 AM
Um, yeah and I would have said "we all do" but I guess I'm wrong about that.

I just assumed it was part of being human--I'll work on it.

Summerblue
03-15-2010, 10:36 AM
Also - for me, I usually AM the biggest, because where I live, people are EXTREMELY active/health concious, but as I said earlier and as someone else said here .....everyone has issues, just not all visible like mine is!

saef
03-15-2010, 10:40 AM
Yes, I do this, and yes, I know, it's a character flaw & a sign of low self-esteem & bordering on the dysfunctional.

What I dread the most can be expressed in an old "Sesame Street Song": "One of these things is not like the others/One of these things just doesn't belong ..."

I compare myself constantly to see if I "fit in." I do not want to be the fattest or sweatiest or worst-dressed or weirdest space cadet. This probably goes back to the schoolyard & a fear of being singled out & picked on.

Paradoxically, I also feel that to fit in, I need to be my very best self, to excel, and in fact to be "better" somehow than at least 95% of those around me.

Yeah, I do see this is contradictory.

But in my mind, I'm starting from a much lower place than any of them, with many more disadvantages, so I have to be a super-achiever to compensate for it. In my mind, I have a weirder body than any of them so I have to pare it down & exercise it more & dress it more carefully to make it look acceptable.

ETA: Also let's not under-estimate Schadenfreude.

Michelle98272
03-15-2010, 11:37 AM
The biggest reason is that if you are thinking bad things about people who are heavier than you, you'll tend to assume that people who are thinner than you are thinking bad things about you--and that you deserve it. Think nice things about everyone, you assume they are thinking nice things about you.


Wow! You hit the nail on the head.

I pride myself in my professional life (I manage about 25 people) in being able to "assume innocence" in personnel matters. I start off doing an HR investigation assuming everyone is telling the truth/not intentionally being dishonest...and work from there. It was a skill I had to learn. I tend to be a pessimistic person by nature but at work, really found myself struggling to find the truth when I approached a situation with pre-conceived notions. I had to very hard to overcome that natural tendency.

I will double my efforts to think good things about everyone and in turn, think everyone is thinking good thoughts about me!

Thanks!

kaplods
03-15-2010, 02:50 PM
I've always been extremely extroverted, much more so than anyone else in my family. I wonder if it's largely hereditary (as I was adopted and am not biologically related to any of my family members).

I just naturally assume that everyone wants to be my friend, until proven otherwise (and even then I'm likely to believe that it's their loss, and that they'd love me if they really knew me - and some times I do find myself trying to "convert" people to Colleen-likers).

I've tried to "teach" my mom and one of my younger sisters (because they're often complaining about how hard it is to make friends, and I find it so easy), but it doesn't work - they just look at me like I'm completely insane (and they may be right).

As an example, my husband and I are both extremely outgoing. One of my sisters (who is on the shy side) says we can be overbearing - that we don't give people a chance to get a word in edgewise. I try to be sensitive to that, but I think we assume that other people are as willing as we are to "jump into" a conversation. We both talk loud and FAST.

We became really good friends with a couple who own a very small restaurant (just because we're very outgoing, and it turns out they are too). They're Hmong, and it's a small thai restaurant, where the wife is the only cook in the restaurant. We became unofficial embassadors for the restaurant, and when anyone new came in (especially if they seemed intimidated by the menu) we'd strike up a conversation and tell them what we'd tried (which is now, practically everything on the menu).

The restaurant owners have invited us to go to Thailand with them in a couple years (and if we can scrape together the air fare and a bit of spending money, we're going to do it).

I don't know why we're so outgoing, except that it comes naturally. It's just hard for me to believe that people wouldn't like me. Not because I'm such a fantastic person, but because I find it hard to dislike people, myself. I really do like everybody. You've got to do something pretty horrible for me to NOT assume you're a great and interesting person.


My mom tends to believe that most people suck, and it shows. She finds it very difficult to make friends, and tends to be suspicious of friendly gestures. She's become friends (almost against her will) with the next door neighbor, but initially was suspicious that the woman "wanted something from her." She finally concluded that the neighbor's intentions were sincere (but she still is rather stumped by it).

I think my mom thinks "why would anyone want to be my friend?"

Whereas I tend to think "why wouldn't anyone want to be my friend?"

PaulaM
03-15-2010, 08:09 PM
Interesting thread. My answer is that I hadn't compared myself to anybody else since I was single (37 years ago!) but recently at the Y I started taking Zumba classes in addition to my regular workouts. It was the first time I could see myself in that wall mirror in comparison to the other ladies, and I was literally shocked that I was twice their size. I honestly think I have the body dysmorphia thing, where I don't realize I'm so much bigger than normal now. I tried not to watch the mirror when I was dancing. I do intend to keep dancing though!

ChrissyBean
03-15-2010, 08:43 PM
I started taking Zumba classes in addition to my regular workouts. It was the first time I could see myself in that wall mirror in comparison to the other ladies, and I was literally shocked that I was twice their size. I honestly think I have the body dysmorphia thing, where I don't realize I'm so much bigger than normal now. I tried not to watch the mirror when I was dancing.

This is me. I can be the first one in the room, all happy with myself and stuff and then the lithe little college students and their hot moms ;) come in and there goes my self-esteem. I'm always somewhat relieved when a heavier person comes in, but it's more of a safety in numbers thing than a, "...at least I'm not as fat as she is" dealie. I just don't look at myself in the mirror, I focus on the instructor's feet and enjoy the class!