Who are your self esteem heroes?

Recently I linked to Already Pretty, a fantastic blog by Sally McGraw about personal style and body image. Last Monday she wrote yet another brilliant post about her self esteem heroes.

It's easy to focus on and amplify the memories of those who have given your self-esteem and/or body image a kicking. Family members remarking on sturdy thighs, teachers pointing out chubbiness (so professional), or girls who called you a "red-headed slut" in high school. Despite having red hair themselves.

(Actually that last one made me chortle at the time and still does two decades later!)

Sally wrote:

But let’s talk instead about the quiet heroes of your self-esteem. Who in your life makes you feel gorgeous, powerful, perfect? Which friends and family members are quick with a compliment, or eager to re-route the conversation when you start tearing yourself down?

Such a cool idea. Here's my list – incomplete for sure, but it's been awhile since posts. No time for dilly-dallying!

  • Colin the Kickboxing Coach – I wrote previously that he deserves a knighthood for services to self esteem. He makes everyone in the team feel welcome, from prize fighter to prize wussbag. Whenever I'm about to punch myself in the noggin with frustration he'll pop up and say, "nice kick" or "good work, keep going!" and that you suck! voice is sent back in its box.
  • Kellie the Zumba Lass – I'm an anonymous number in an insanely crowded classes – she wouldn't know me if she tripped over my beet-faced sweat-basted semi-conscious body. But her classes make me feel so freakin' alive – I'm always there, fully present with shaking booty. Afterward I'm giddy and can't shut up about it all day.
  • Sister Rhi – We dissect our lives in a weekly phone debrief, lifting each other up and laughing at ourselves and our misadventures.
  • Carla – Our podcast calls leave me buzzing and determined to make the most out of my days. Carla makes me see how important it is to be passionate about what you do and not let other's opinions stop you.
  • Dr G – He is very economical with his words – a man of action to my slug with verbal diarrhea.

    "Your eyes look especially blue today" I'll say.

    "Yeah," comes the reply, "Blue EYE BAGS!".

    Or: "You're looking very tan lately, Doc!"

    "It's just dirt!"

    But he makes me feel loved and happy to be alive by making me laugh – half the time he doesn't even realise he's said something funny, which makes it even better. He also knows when to give a hug and can tell the difference between carefree joke and joke-to-disguise-inner turmoil.

    He also always remembers when it's Haircut Day so he can say, "I like your 'do!" when I arrive home even though he can't really see a difference.

How about you?

30 thoughts on “Who are your self esteem heroes?

  1. Carla is definitely on my list too. She’s just so encouraging and kind. My sister (she’s actually my sister in law, but I stole her, she’s mine, I call her my sister he he). She is such a role model for me with her self esteem. Last would be my husband. He thinks I’m hot, and has thought that all along the way.

  2. Actually..you are my self esteem hero. You’ve changed my life..since reading your book..I just totally relaxed and let it go..and I’ve lost 40 lbs in the last three months, am walking every day…and my whole attitude has changed. So, thank you more than I can say~~

  3. @Kendall – Holy molyl! Go you good thing! And thank you for the kind words!

    @Kat – your sis and husband sound like gold… cool πŸ™‚

  4. What a good thing, to acknowledge the heroes in our lives! Mine are my best friend, Barbara – I’ve known her since 1977 and she has always been such a positive role model for me (and many others who know her) and now, for her beautiful daughter. Of course Carla – she has really helped me appreciate all that my body does for me and has helped me to focus less and less on what the scale says (despite my post today to the contrary, lol!). And my trainers, Brad and Linda – they taken this formerly sedentary person and turned her into someone who actually believes she can run a half marathon!

  5. My friend Frank is definitely one of my self-esteem heroes. He’s always telling me how fabulous I am, and how much everyone else sucks if they don’t realize how fabulous I am. He’s great at being supportive when I need him to be, and a gentle motivator when I need him to be. He makes suggestions and encourages me without being annoying or arsey. Everyone needs a Frank in his or her life. πŸ™‚

    I agree with Kendall, Shauna – your wonderful blog and book are re-energizing my self-esteem by reminding me that success can be mine, if I’m willing to work at it!

  6. Fun post. I would echo that you are one of my SE heroes. I read your book and your story has made me believe I, too, can accomplish this. And my mother. She always made me feel beautiful, intelligent, and capable. She’s been gone for 17 years now, but those positives, remain. And my DH. He’s love me and made me feel lovable and beautiful through thick and thin for 37 years.

  7. I loved your book too, and am going to take my picture reading it, when I get closer to my goal, and send it to you for your gallery. I’m just too fat now, even though I’ve lost 75 lbs. I need to lose at least 75 more! People who help me with self esteem includes everyone who has consistently kept their mouth shut about my body. My husband doesn’t compliment me very often. But he also doesn’t complain about how heavy I am, or ever make me feel fat. To be fair, he has told me my butt is getting smaller. And he takes care of me and I know he loves me, even when I can’t even love myself. Sometimes I wonder why he continues to love me when the fat makes me so ugly. But after 40 years, he is still here, and that says a lot! I’m gonna get smaller for myself, but also for him.

  8. Ahhh, thank you so much for another sweet shout-out, Shauna! It sounds like you’ve got an amazing group of supportive people in your life.

  9. My sweet man tops the list. Others are my best friend Marty, Jen Lemen (who also wouldn’t know me if she encountered me dreaming big dreams on her street corner), Mary and Stewart – two of the most endearing, sweet, wise couple ever, and my cats – they love me even when I’m freaking out.

  10. My Mummy is definately my self-esteem hero. She’s always geeing me up and making me feel loved and lovey when I hit rock bottom. I don’t know what I’d do without her!

  11. Wow, I have so many I can’t even name names. Friends, work collegues, people at my gym… I’m blessed with self esteem heroes πŸ™‚

  12. Thanks everyone… I like hearing about your heroes!

    And thanks Dana, Tish, Pam & LBTEPA for including me, w00t!

    Pam – you have clearly kicked arse, congrats on your success. pat yourself on the back there!

  13. My self esteem hero is my late grandmother. She wasn’t a woman with soft attitude and I think she thauged that compliments ruin children. But she always believed that I can do what ever I want and that I can handle all situations.

    Reading your book was very uplifting too. When I think that whole dieting thing does never going to work I read parts of it again.

    My friends are my heroes too.They can always make me feel better.

  14. Amazingly, my self esteem hero is someone I never see. Mrs Greentree, the head teacher of my first school saw a gutsy, determined 5 year old and said to my parents “Philippa can do anything she puts her mind to.” Nearly 25 years later I still keep that in mind when I’m giving myself a hard time….
    Wherever you are Mrs Greentree, thank you.

  15. honored and speechless.


    Right now my selfesteem hero is my daughter.
    She thinks she’s pretty damn amazing and hesitates NOT to tell you so.

    She approaches all new situations with confidence and an attitude of “well I ROCK at all other things so theres pretty much NO CHANCE I WONT ROCK AT THIS TOO.”

    If only we could smoooosh all her ‘tude into a cream or lotion and sell it πŸ™‚

  16. My hubby.
    My step class teacher, Jessica.
    My dog. She is always happy to see me.
    Me, as a 17 year old. I didn’t know how strong I was then- didn’t know my own power. Whenever I worry that I can’t do something, I look at what I achieved when I was 17, and if she can do it, so can 31 year old me.

  17. Plus my late nanna. I get a bit teary when I see a facewasher, some mega-undies or a hedgehog slice, because it reminds me of her.

  18. Oooh, I like this. Can I say I’m my own self esteem hero? I mean, it sounds horribly egotistical, but I’ve gone through so much mental shite over the last few years (decades) to finally be pretty darn happy with who I am and how I look and what I can do.

    Also receiving the award – my hubby Zliten for always making me feel fabulous and happy whenever we’re together, my boss for making me feel like I’m doing a rockstar job when really, it’s due to his support and encouragement, and you and Miz are definitely in there too! πŸ™‚

  19. Hi Shauna!
    I just wanted to tell you how I enjoyed your book (I read the Finnish version of your book). Your story was very touching.
    Glad you liked Finnish chocolate (Fazer’s geisha):)
    Now you’ve got a fan in Finland!

  20. Shauna, are you going to add Julia Gillard to your list now that she is Australia’s first ginger Prime Minister?

  21. CHEERS groovers!

    @Kellie – I feel like I should, I mean a woman AND a ginger! I need to catch up on Australian politics and find out more about her; after 7 years away I confess I know feck all!

    @Nuppu – Kiitos! Thank you for reading. Say hi to the Geisha bars for me πŸ™‚

    @Quix – I think it’s cool to say you’re your own superhero, not egotistical at all! I think so many of us don’t stop to give ourselves credit for coming through the hard times.

  22. Oh, Shauna, I love it when you write posts like this one! It makes me feel good and is why I follow your blog. We are getting Zumba at my gym in September and I can’t wait to go to classes!

  23. My self-esteem hero is myself. No one can make me feel good except for me (and likewise – no one can make me feel BAD except for me). Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but it seems to me that if you only look for validation outside of yourself, you’re going to be doing nothing but looking for validation. And I’ve got other stuff to do!

  24. This post wasn’t about external validation – it was about celebrating/acknowledging those who boost your self esteem, as opposed to those whose words can bring you down, which is all too common. Totally agree that you gotta be your own superhero first and foremost πŸ™‚

Comments are now closed on all Dietgirl posts. For fresh conversation please visit me at shaunareid.com.