Selling Yourself Short..STOP IT!

I have struggled my whole life with selling myself short…have you?

When I was growing up, if I didn’t get an A+ I was bummed.
When I was a teenager, I needed everyone to like me.
I don’t like have enemies.
I care too much about what people think of me.
I lost weight for someone else, because they didn’t think I was enough.

When I was heavy in high school I didn’t think that I could find anyone that would date me. So I fell into the ‘social butterfly’, ‘friend’ role for much of my time.

When I started losing weight in college I knew that there was a confident person inside of me and boys/life started to open up for me. I started to find my beauty and BELIEVE that I was a pretty person.

The sad truth, is that even when I was my lowest weight, I was probably more insecure about who I was physically then at any other point in my life. It’s true that weight can give you confidence. However, if you’re not doing it for you–weight loss is the most isolating and morally draining thing you can put yourself through. I didn’t believe that I deserved to be at that weight. I honestly thought that the only way I was going to make people in my life happy was to be as thin as I could. I was selling my soul short.

Flash forward to this weekend when it happened again..and I didn’t even know what I was doing!

Kim asks me ‘so what type of guy would you like to date Michelle?’
I sat and thought about it. I go ‘someone who is quirky, healthy, family focused, honest, open, intelligent, strong and TALL’

See looks at me and goes ‘You should date a triathlete.’
I sit there and the first thing out of my mouth was ‘I am NOT the type of woman that a triathlete would be attracted to’ as I highlighted my body.


Today I went to my training appointment at my new gym with MJ. We did this fitness assessment on the bike and MJ goes ‘I have never placed a woman at the level that you’re at.’ I was floored, me. ME. I was a 4 out of 5 on the fitness level?

As I am standing there with my shirt off I go ‘Sorry you have to look at my white, flabby stomach.’
She says back ‘You know you’re a lot fitter than you think. You need to give yourself credit for what you’ve accomplished.’

Not to hash old wounds, but 2009 was the year when I sold my soul to others. When I was telling MJ about why I wanted to come to the gym and my journey I started crying on her. (yes one of those who cry on their trainer at the gym.)

Crying because I still have the deep-seated wounds of not being what I think I should be for someone else.
Crying because I want to be released from the critical nature that has engulfed parts of my subconscious.
Crying because I am seeing a glimmer of hope and beauty in me.

How have you sold yourself short?

41 thoughts on “Selling Yourself Short..STOP IT!

  1. Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete says:

    Girl, you are hot! I have no idea what you are even talking about either! As a person who hangs out with a lot of triathletes (and who also considers herself one), triathletes would so date you! Guys don’t like it when they have to constantly remind you how beautiful you are (although I never get sick of hearing it ;)). When I was still in a very insecure phase my then boyfriend, now husband, would get to frustrated with me! I would say, ‘I’m so fat!” He would would say, “You are the most beautiful woman that I have ever seen? Why don’t you see that?” So, why don’t you see that? 🙂

    • Mish says:

      Man, I remember being that way with my ex…or anyone for that matter. I can imagine that it would be VERY taxing on men to constantly have to validate me. It’s something that I want to get through before going into another relationship, because I just don’t want to be in that place again.

  2. Hannah says:

    All the freakin time. It’s a habit, and a really bad one too. Many of your examples are familiar: I didn’t think guys would like me in hs because I was the chubby girl; I care way too much about what people think of me; taking off my shirt in a trainer’s office would scare me. My personal example is that I generally think I’m cool, beautiful and interesting, but I never expect anyone to notice. How silly is that? Thanks for posting this, it’s something I know I need to remember a lot.

  3. MizFit says:

    Man I adore this.

    I get up every morning and ask for the wisdom to impart to my daughter that simply by being who she is she is ENOUGH.

    I get up every morning and pray for the wisdom to help her see how amazing she is & that the only way she could fall short in life is by wasting the gifts she has been given.

    Im so thankful you are starting to see what WE all see already.

    • Mish says:

      First of all I hope to be 1/2 as good of a mom that you are. I think it’s so insanely important to instill that value system in kids…and I hope to impart that into them. Second, thank you..I am slowly starting to see it. For some reason it’s scary…changing one’s schema of reference.

  4. abbynormally says:

    It’s so easy to fall into that trap! But you are a wonderfully thoughtful and loving person and you deserve a guy who sees that in you!!!

  5. Katy says:

    I have to point out that no matter what, you smiled through all these pictures — sometimes you gotta fake it til you make it!

  6. love2eatinpa says:

    first of all, you are warm, funny, talented, attractive, i could go on and on. i do not see you as someone having a problem with having a guy like and be attracted to you.
    to answer your question, i always sell myself short. i have zero confidence in my self. i wish i could have a little crowd of people on my shoulder who tell me how great i did this, or how wonderful i am at that. sadly, i do know that it needs to come from within but it is a hard place for me to get to.
    thanks for the great post and reminding us all to stop selling ourselves short.

    • Mish says:

      I know what you mean. I hope that you know that what you write, your openness and honest about your life inspires me everyday. So you have to have 1 point of confidence in yourself…even if it comes from me 🙂

  7. Pure2Raw twins says:

    Great post! And yes I think many of us have sold ourselves short, I know both Lori and I have. Trying to be perfect all the time is hard and we do always realize all the positive things we have accomplished. Embracing who we all our, as great, smart, funny, and beautiful people, just like you, needs to be done more often!

  8. Jessica says:

    You are beautiful and inspiring and your posts are so REAL! I appreciate them : )

    I used to sell myself short all of the time, and unfortunately sometimes still do. I am finally just now getting better about it. Believe it or not I think I am just now starting to love myself – seriously what a “holy crap” moment!!! It is a fabulously enlightening and terrifying journey that’s for sure!

    • Mish says:

      It is terrifying and I am not too sure why. Perhaps it’s because we are overwhelmed with what we can do. I think embracing our potential and kicking ass 🙂

  9. karen@fitnessjourney says:

    It seems to me that women who are confident are often viewed as conceited. I can only speak for myself, but I was always afraid to appear too confident.

    BTW, my trainer told me that part of his job is listening to his clients stories. I’m sure your trainer is very accustomed to hearing stories like yours.

    I hope you continue to see that glimmer of beauty.

    • Mish says:

      I agree with you Karen about confident women. It’s not easy treading that line of being a women who is confident and conceited. I feel like I have to apologise sometimes for being confident, intelligent, etc. But I am learning how to get what I believe is valid and not feeling like I am being pushy.

  10. Tay says:

    Amazingly inspiring post 🙂 I was the same as you through high school and then finally losing weight in college. But still selling myself short. You have to appreciate your own true beauty and it shines out!! And congrats on your fitness test!!

    • Mish says:

      Congrats on your weight loss. It’s also not only about losing the weight, but also losing the ‘fat self’…isn’t it?

  11. gemfit says:

    Never make someone else’s decision FOR them and NEVER sell yourself short.

    I used to be the same in so many ways and I do it all the time with my work, but now I remember the times I’ve exceeded my own expectations and I hold onto that feeling instead.

    We all focus on our own flaws but realise that NOBODY else sees them. They see the good stuff first.

    And way to go on the gym assessment!

    • Mish says:

      Love this ‘We all focus on our own flaws but realise that NOBODY else sees them. They see the good stuff first.’ Thank you for writing that. Cause it’s so true.

  12. Lara (Thinspired) says:

    Isn’t it crazy how weight loss can change us so much on the outside, but if we don’t change internally with that experience, our old demons stay with us? That was maybe one of the most surprising side-effects I experienced with weight loss…I just didn’t feel as great as everyone said I looked. I still felt like the fat girl on the inside.
    I completely relate to this post and love the way you write about your experiences, because it makes me think the whole time, “ME TOO!”

  13. Hilda says:

    Reading this made me want to cry too! How can you not see that you’re beautiful inside and out?!?!?

    I think we all sell ourselves short from time to time. That’s just human. The key, I think, is to not get too sucked into it, to become aware of what we’re doing so we can consciously turn it around. I think you’re doing that 🙂

  14. missyrayn says:

    For years I sold myself short that I would never get married or be a pastor because I wasn’t good enough. But I did both and they scared the crap out of me but are wonderful additions to my life.

    And in fitness I always thought I couldn’t be a runner because I was still to heavy. But now I’m training for races I could only dream of.

    I still have those instances of not being good enough to do things I “know” I can. I just tell myself STOP IT and change it to “YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU BUT YOUR MIND TO WITH GOD IN CONTROL”. Helps everytime.

  15. Diane Fit to the Finish says:

    So much of our inner belief seems to be just “there” and I applaud you for not giving in to those inner voices that are wrong.

    You are beautiful – you are strong – I think this is your year Michelle!!

  16. Jenelle says:

    You are beautiful, strong, intelligent and I think any guy would be so very lucky to have you in his life.

    I can definitely understand where you’re coming from on this, though. Growing up overweight forced me to overcompensate in other areas of my life so that people would ignore the fact that I was obese. People think that losing weight is this magic key that helps you become who you always wanted to be, but we’re still human (albeit lighter). I still have to stop myself from displaying my physical insecurity to my boyfriend who is so very generous and sincere with compliments. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve though and communicated that I feel unworthy of having such a wonderful person in my life. Reading this, however, helps me realize that he’s just the type of person I’ve always deserved.

    My past is plagued with relationships that I was unhappy in but felt I could not leave just in case it was the best I could find. A lot of this had to do with my weight, but not all of it. There has to come a point where you realize that you deserve nothing but the best.

    • Mish says:

      Jenelle, spoken like a true woman. I think it’s interesting about the whole relationship thing. I think that I was brought my ex into my life, because I was SO critical of myself that I actually attract people who have similar ways of going about life. I am shedding that, because it’s a false protective measure for me and frankly I don’t want to surround myself intimately with people who have that same critical approach to life.

  17. seattlerunnergirl says:

    This post clearly speaks to a lot of women. I think we all, at one time or another in life, sell ourselves short. The truth is, our worth as PEOPLE has nothing to do with our weight or the size of our pants. As human beings, we have intrinsic worth apart from anything material. I hope you’re able to not only learn and believe and see your beauty; I also hope you’re able to know it has nothing to do with how you look.

  18. Brenda says:

    I still do this all the time…something I really need to work on! It’s real bad if I go to the track to work on my endurance in running. If there is already someone walking it, I won’t start jogging till they leave for fear they will think “look at that flabby chubby chic trying to run!” Crazy I know but I am a work in progress 🙂
    I love the fact that you are honest on here about selling yourself short. I would never have thought it if you didn’t blog it. Good to know that I might be 1/2 way normal lol

    • Mish says:

      The next time you run, I want you to youtube Beyonce “I don’t think you’re ready for this Jelly’ and then sing it to yourself while running your ass off on the track. 🙂 Let me know how it goes.

  19. Sarah says:

    I concur with everyone who says you’re beautiful! I was struck by if when I met you because I think, though you look pretty in pictures, you (and lots of us) “have the kind of beauty that moves” to quote Ani DiFranco.

    To answer your question, yes there have been lots of times I sold myself short. Most notably, whenever some guy who was really hot or really intelligent I often thought I was in one of those high school movies where the hot guy makes a bet with his friends and he has to date the nerdy, unattractive girl! For real….it’s absolutely insane! I was with someone for 4 years, and lived with him for 3. It took me at least 2 of those years to realise that it wasn’t a mean trick he was playing on me!

    The other one is when I graduated from high school and I wanted to go to music school. I was 1st in my class, but I didn’t think that I had what it took to “run with the big boys” so to speak at University. I auditioned for 7 schools and got into all 7!! I only wish I had auditioned for ones that I had thought were “out of my league”.

    I think that’s the biggest tragedy of this sort of mindset – sometimes it can prevent you from excelling because you don’t reach high enough. Tri-athlete man, here you come! 🙂

    • Mish says:

      Sarah, Thank you. I loved meeting you and am excited to continue meeting up 🙂 I think what you said about being scared to push yourself because you can’t be number one is SO true. Many times I didn’t do what I wanted to do because I couldn’t be the best. WOW…you’ve got me thinking. Thanks so much!

  20. Sarah Mitchell says:

    Hi Michelle,

    We talked about this post but I’ve only just read it. I’ve been thinking a lot about our conversation because a) Like most readers of your blog, I too have had self-limiting thoughts. I’m sure it goes hand-in-hand with weight issues but that’s another discussion. b) What I can’t get out of my mind is that your self-image is entirely different than the real you – the person you are RIGHT NOW.

    I’ve only known you since your massive weight loss. My view of you is someone who would absolutely be great dating material for triatheletes or any guy who had his head screwed on. I think you need to consider that maybe the reason you haven’t had as many romances as you would like is because there just aren’t that many guys worthy of you.

    Take it from me. Finding the right guy is worth the wait. My husband put the whole need for validation out of my head when, in response to a query about how my weight influenced his affections toward me he said, “Sarah, I’ll love you if you’re twice as fat as you are now.” (Okay, we had a brief exchange about his choice of words, he is an engineer after all.) That pretty much cleared things up for me and let me get on with my life.

    I encourage you not to waste another minute viewing yourself in the past tense. Look in the mirror, girlfriend, and I mean really look. That’s pure, unadulterated awesomeness staring back at you.

  21. All Women Stalker says:

    I always sell myself short. Even to this day. And this post makes me feel sad that I do. =c However, things can be better. I’ve been reading about owning our accomplishments.

    Mish, you seem to have no idea about what you have accomplished. You’ve started a wonderful movement (Exposed), you are working at controlling candida, you exercise and move your body. YOU ARE A WONDERFUL AND INSPIRING PERSON. I hope you will try your hardest to never sell yourself short again. Because I will be doing the same thing.

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