I’m 5 feet tall—will I ever be taken seriously?
Hey! I’ve reached that point where I am no longer growing, I am 5’0 and pretty insecure about it. I don’t like having to look so high up when talking to others, it makes me feel as if they are my superior. When I try on certain clothes I always seem to find myself thinking “I would probably look good in this if I was taller.” How do I become more confident with my height? I know that I need to learn to accept and love my shortness, but I don’t know how.
I feel you. My height also hovers just above that five-foot mark. I reached my adult height—and also my adult weight and bra size—by age twelve (!) and spent the next 10 years plagued with shame about my petite and “pudgy” body.
In high school, I emerged as a natural leader and high-achiever, but I worried constantly that because of my height and gender, I would never truly be taken seriously. The women I saw portrayed in media who were admired, adored, respected—they were almost all universally tall and thin (of course, they were also mostly young, white, and wealthy, too). I allowed my ambition to be diminished by what I considered the most disqualifying attribute about myself—my lumpy, little frame.
For me, there was never an “aha” moment of self-love or self-acceptance, but a growing compassion, warmth, and appreciation, cultivated over years and decades. Some of the things that improved my feelings of bodily self-worth were spiritual and psychological (embodiment, confidence, humor) and some were physical and practical (posture, high heels, an excellent tailor, ha!). I’ve listed these below with my tips as you navigate the world in a way that works for you as a petite person!
Embodiment. Find things you love to do in your body. Sports, dancing, yoga, hiking—all of these activities offer a chance to develop a deep appreciation and joy in our very strong, very capable, very beautiful bodies. Embodiment reframes our whole perspective into one of gratitude towards our bodies, whatever their shape or size.
Confidence. Explore your strengths, the things that are uniquely and totally your own. Remind yourself of your wonderful qualities—physical, spiritual, mental, otherwise—that you can offer to the world, and to yourself! These positive beliefs allow us to move about the world with a sense of pride and self-assurance.
Humor. So much can be soothed with a little bit of levity. A sense of humor can also help you navigate challenges like reaching the top shelf in your kitchen. Each time you solve a problem creatively, you’re exercising your resourcefulness; it’s okay to embrace it and to celebrate it.
Posture. For a petite person, posture is everything! Not only does proper posture make us appear taller and more self-assured, but it also makes us feel taller and more self-assured. As a plus, good posture is also a wonderful gift we can give to our overall health and nervous system.
Heels. This obviously comes down to personal preference, but I wear comfortable, supportive heels to work every single day. (I even wear platform slippers around my house—I just really like a bit of extra height.) If you find well-made, comfortable, and supportive heels, pull ‘em out and enjoy the view from a few inches higher. This is absolutely not necessary to feel comfortable or confident, but a fun tool to consider if you like.
An excellent tailor. Short, tall, curvy, thin—whatever size or shape you are, investing in tailored clothing will make you feel 1000 times more comfortable in your clothes. As with most things in life, you are allowed to make them your own.
Explore these tips if you want, but also rest assured that eventually, the nagging feelings of insecurity in our youth often make way for an acceptance of ourselves that is well deserved, and feels so much like home.
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AmyAnn Cadwell is CEO & Co-Founder of The Good Trade and an angel investor in mission-driven companies.