On Listening to (and Laughing at) Yourself

ImageI am a rare mix of stubborn and insecure, leading me to willfully refuse to believe in myself, even in the most obvious situations.

Case in point: for the recent past none of my bras have fit well. I’m always tugging at them, readjusting them, cursing them. Because last summer I had gone to a well-known lingerie shop and been measured, I assumed that I must be doing something wrong. Although I thought it was strange that the (very) young lady who helped me thought my chest had gotten smaller (which has never happened in my adult life, even after having my daughter. People warned me that they would get huge during pregnancy and then shrivel up thereafter, but my twins refused to budge either way), I still figure that I must be wearing the bra she suggested incorrectly. So, I went about my days, cursing my unruly chest rather than assuming that anyone else could be wrong.

Today I decided to buck the tradition of trusting others over what I instinctively/logically knew to be true, and bought a 36D rather than 36C bra. And voila! No need to tug, rearrange, or grunt in frustration; the damn thing actually fits.

I share this story because A) I can still laugh at myself and my foibles, and B) I think that it reflects a particularly female tendency to avoid arguing with anyone who we think knows better than we do about something, even our own bodies.

Often I find it difficult to argue with anyone who is a “professional” in a field where I feel inadequate/incompetent/uncertain, so I tend to always default to the mechanic, store clerk, etc., even though I cringe when other women openly do so. I wonder if this is a feeling that other women have when they are faced with decisions/suggestions/diagnoses that don’t seem quite right but they can’t articulate why or formulate what may seem like a reasonable objection? Are we still surrounded by societal expectations to defer, act demure, and trust someone else? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, including but not limited to your own humorous and/or serious anecdotes about accepting or challenging “experts.”


Thanks to theemptynestmom.com for the image!

5 Replies to “On Listening to (and Laughing at) Yourself”

    1. I agree, Deb. This training is linked with the command to always be liked, so that challenging anyone (especially those who “know better”) becomes deeply uncomfortable.


  1. I’ve only had this issue in the medical world. Last fall a nurse practitioner was very conservative in her treatment plan and refused to prescribe me medicine I thought would work. Her plan resulted in a very hefty bill. This month I went to my actual doctor for an infection and told him exactly what medicine he would be prescribing me and I got what I wanted. I’m thankful he listened.


    1. In my case I trusted a woman and paid a pretty penny. I tend to be more forceful when I talk to men in terms of one women’s health.


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