DEAR HARRIETTE: My girlfriend accidentally made a rude comment about my height. I don’t think that she meant to be offensive, but my height is something I’m very insecure about.
I am feeling different about her now that I know how she really feels. Before she made that comment, she made me feel like my height was something she didn’t pay attention to at all. Now I know that all along she has noticed my insecurity as much as I have.
She immediately apologized, but the damage has been done. How am I supposed to move past this? I feel like the world looks at me as a short man.
DEAR HEIGHT INSECURITY: People typically walk around wearing their insecurities on their chests, whether or not they realize it.
Physical appearance tops the list of personal and societal insecurities. Like it or not, people do judge each other by all kinds of measures of appearance.
That said, you already know that you are hypersensitive to your height. Yes, you can say something else to your girlfriend about her blunder. But you may want to focus the conversation on what you struggle with internally. Admit that your height has always been a source of discomfort for you, and you had previously thought it wasn’t an issue for her.
Now you worry about that, too.
Do know that your girlfriend clearly cares about you for who you are. She did not walk away from you based upon your height. Fully accept that.
Next, you might look around and notice other short men. You are not alone. Many of the most successful men in the world are “height challenged.” How you accept yourself is what’s at issue. I worked with Prince for a while. He was 5 feet, 2 inches tall, and sometimes he wore shoes with light-up heels, having fun with his size.
I say own who you are in whatever body you inhabit and love yourself for who you are. It makes it easier for others to fully embrace you!
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am uncomfortable with my parents disclosing my salary to other people, yet they keep doing it.
My parents are proud of me and my accomplishments, and I love that about them. However, it’s come to my attention that when they’re dishing to their friends about my career, they are also telling them exactly how much money I make. I know that they’re just proud and excited, but this is not everyone’s business.
When I first found out that they were doing this, I asked them to stop. I thought they were respecting my wishes, but a relative told me that they’ve still been telling people.
I am wondering if I should even be trying to police what they decide to tell their friends. Should I give up on trying to tell them what to do?
DEAR PROUD PARENTS: You will lose the battle of telling your parents what to do. Your next step is to manage what you share with them.
Since they are unable to keep information confidential, share with them only what you want them to broadcast to their world. Do not report on specifics anymore, especially about salary. You can tell them about exciting projects — once they can be public knowledge — and promotions with a title change, but not about a salary bump or bonus. Reserve those details to share with someone who can keep your confidence.
Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.