The phrase “stand tall” can be interpreted in many different ways but I take this saying quite literally… I’m 6’5″, a female, and confident. Quite the combination don’t you think? Let me try to answer some of the questions that might have just popped into your head. Yes, my parents are tall (I’m still taller than both of them though.) I did play basketball… lots of basketball. The air up here is delightful. I will help you change a lightbulb. No, it won’t offend me if you ask me about my height. I’m guessing I didn’t answer all of the questions so feel free to comment any question you might have. Now let’s get to what this blog is all about. You can probably imagine that it wasn’t always easy to be a head taller than everyone else, especially being a female. In the first sentence I did say that I’m confident and you might be wondering how that is even possible. I don’t fit into any crowd, finding clothes that fit can be a nightmare, I’m a large target for criticisms (pun intended), airplanes and I do not get along, and of course feeling like a giant when it comes to dating. There are a lot more challenges I could list but ain’t nobody got time for that!

What I want to share with you is my journey to self-acceptance and confidence in the face of adversity. I am 28 years old and have been through my share of life’s challenges. I also have a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling so I have done an excess amount of research on sociology and psychology. Currently, I work at Black Hills State University as a counselor. (Yes, I am reading your mind.) Throughout my work as a counselor, I have discovered common patterns of negative thinking, lack of self-esteem, and the lack of knowledge of what to do about it. The goal of these blogs is to relay these lessons to you with personal examples sprinkled with comedy. (because who wants to take life too seriously?) If there is something you would like my thoughts on, please feel free to ask.

We are all unique in some way, my height happens to be blatantly obvious. In what ways are you unique? Are they aspects of yourself that you’re proud of or are you letting them chip away at your self-confidence? Some differences aren’t as obvious as my height. What we define as different comes mostly from society. Maybe you’re struggling with your sexual orientation, choosing a career path, or your weight. Maybe you’re 28 and never been married with no kids (me). Maybe you aren’t as social as you “should” be or your intense interest in Star Wars is less than socially acceptable. Maybe your selfie game isn’t on point or your secret obsession with Leonardo DiCaprio is getting out of hand. #oscarwinfinally

So what is the first step in completely accepting yourself for exactly who you are? Stop shoulding all over yourself. You heard me. Enough comparing yourself to others. “I should be skinner.” “I should be married by now.” “My lips should be as big as Kylie Jenner’s.” Stop. We all have something special about us and by special I don’t mean being able to fit in to societal norms. Eliminate the shoulds from your self-talk and feel your self-esteem rise. Stop shoulding all over yourself. Don’t forget it. ūüėČ

Second step is your attitude. You are 100% in control of your attitude. Some people might disagree so let me give you an example. My self-esteem was the lowest when I was in middle school. I used to be called a behemoth (what the heck is that?) and my peers would tell me that girls aren’t supposed to be taller than boys! This was horrifying to hear so naturally I wished, hoped, and prayed I would get shorter. Guess what happened…I got even TALLER. I slowly realized that I was not going to wake up a normal height after wishing on a shooting star. So what was I going to do? Let other people decide my worth? Keep trying this wish thing? Be mad my whole life because I’m different? I accepted it. Once that happened, I stopped putting energy towards all the things I couldn’t control like my height and the hurtful words of peers.

The third step is know what is out of your control. Being a counselor at a college, I work with many people that have dealt with or are dealing with bullies. A common phrase I tell them is, “How people treat you is a reflection of who they are, not who you are.” Since you already know I haven’t gotten shorter, you might be wondering how I deal with mean people today. I have learned the skill of teaching people how to treat me. (This will be a topic of a future blog so stay tuned!) Since I have learned this skill, rude comments about my height are rare but of course they still happen. I recall one specific incident where a man about 5’5″ came up to me and said, “Don’t stand next to me! You make me feel like less of a man!!” I looked straight down on him and said, “I’m sorry you don’t have enough confidence to stand next to a woman taller than you.” His response…

‚ÄčThat’s right… move along insecure human.

I want to challenge all of you to think of something that makes you¬†unique and brainstorm how¬†you can¬†view it as a¬†positive. (If you don’t already)¬†We tend to beat ourselves up on a daily basis about our insecurities. “Why would I eat that piece of cake??? I’m so fat.” “I don’t have social skills so no one wants to talk to me.” “No boys want to talk to me because I am so tall and scary.” Having these types of thoughts are common¬†and dangerous to our mental health. Our thoughts are connected to our feelings and our feelings are connected¬†to our actions. See how¬†important our thoughts are???¬†Negative thinking is essentially a habit that needs tweaking. Look at these negative thoughts as opportunities to change your bad habit. Also, be your own best friend! Would you tell your best friend that she is fat for eating that piece of cake? I hope not! So why do it to yourself?

Key points to remember:

  • In what ways are you unique?
  • Stop¬†“shoulding”¬†all over yourself.
  • If you change your attitude, you change your world.
  • Focus on what you can control.
  • Is someone bringing you down? That is their problem, not yours.
  • Be your own best friend!

I hope you all enjoyed my first blog post!¬†I will¬†post a¬†new blog every Monday morning so get inspired while¬†you sip your cup of joe!¬†My blogs¬†are aimed at battling¬†those Monday blues and get you pumped up for the week!¬† Again, if there is anything you would like me to write about, please feel free to ask. Thank you for taking the time to read. My hope for you is that you will begin to feel “A Head Above the Rest” no matter how tall you are. ūüėČ

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