Kenya Foy
August 29, 2017 9:58 am

No matter how self-assured a person may appear on the outside, chances are they’ve struggled internally with a confidence issue at some point. Specifically, when it comes to women and our self-esteem, we all have at least one weird little thing that has a disproportionately big impact on how we feel about ourselves and our overall ability to be the most kickass human beings we all strive to be on a daily basis.

With constant attacks on our self-esteem levels coming from all directions — both external and internal — it’s important for us to remember that it’s totally okay if we don’t always feel like the shiniest, most wonderful version of ourselves.

On the other hand, if you have a genius way of building your self-esteem and maintaining a positive attitude about simply being your authentic self, then that means we’re in the presence of a #boss from whom we can all learn a thing or two.

At the end of the day, the way we feel about ourselves manifests itself in every area of our lives. And contrary to popular belief, self-esteem issues don’t necessarily dissipate with age.

We asked 18 women to share the one weird little thing that has a *huge* impact on their self-esteem — whether that impact is positive or negative — and their responses are unique, vulnerable, and heartwarming.

1Priyanka, 32

“I begin to say thank you in my mind to all the things I have. Even so-called insignificant ones. That alone shows me how I’m worthwhile, that I am being noticed by a ‘higher power,’ and that yes, my existence matters.”

2Rebecca, 41

3Emily, 28

4Melody, 38

“Random comment in 9th grade from a white boy whose name I don’t remember: “You’re actually pretty for, well, what are you anyway?” I’ve never forgotten that, and I feel weird and annoyed at myself for even bothering to remember it. Somehow, his words lodged themselves in the back of my psyche and won’t fall out. For the record, I’m a badass Iranian-American Muslimah who wishes I had the sense of self at 14 to say so to that imbecile who made me feel like a fucking alien via this backhanded ‘compliment.'”


“Going to therapy for the past year and a half has been the best thing I could do for my own self-esteem and self-image. Being able to talk through my anxieties and worries with someone has helped me to be more self-assured and confident when dealing with everyone in my life, from random jerks on the street to complicated family relationships, and I was not expecting that to come from seeing a therapist at all since that’s not why I initially sought help.”

6Anne, 40

“When I was 10 years old, my best friend Cathy said I didn’t sound like Cher when I sang ‘Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,’ and that I probably shouldn’t sing at all. A shy kid, I lost my self-esteem utterly and only fully recovered at age 40.”

7Laura, 60

8Katie, 37

“A nine-year-old girl told me I was pretty in the waiting room at the orthopedist’s office two weeks ago. I’m nine months pregnant, swollen, red-faced, and can’t wear normal shoes. I was there to get a cortisone shot in my wrist because my pregnancy swelling was so bad I have carpal tunnel syndrome. I almost cried when she told me that, and then proceeded to strike up a conversation just to keep my attention. I’m 37 years old, and this is my first pregnancy. It made me feel like I wasn’t ‘doing it wrong’ because my ‘glow’ is more like an inferno/acne dumpster fire.”

9Mary, 56

“One time, I was at a friend’s funeral and I walked up to her husband to say I was so sorry for his loss. I then asked how he was holding up, and he responded, ‘How do you think I am holding up? My wife is dead.’

Now, whenever I attend a funeral, I can’t help but think about how insensitive the question came across even though I did not mean it that way. I am so afraid of hurting the surviving relatives’ feelings the way I did that one time.”

10Tammy, 46

11Jessica, 30

12Jane, 31

“The way I’ve lost so much hair after giving birth 10 years ago. It just gets thinner and thinner. Positive impact: short shorts.”

13Jennifer, 29

14Lisa, 48

“Seeing a random hair on my chin. Especially if it has a bit of curl to it… (ps this is a bad thing).”

15Ayla, 30

16Lauryn, 29

“Filling in my eyebrows! I feel naked without them.”

17Linda, 30

18Lynn, 64

“Knowing that people get you. That they say your pure motives. They see that you don’t have any ill will towards them. When they validate you and let you know that you’re important to them.”