The Height Of Happiness!
During Tall Awareness Week I shed some light on how your height can hinder or help you in your life
First Impressions And Height
Everyone knows that first impressions count and it’s not just your personality that shines through in those first moments. One of the most critical things a person observes about you the first time they meet you is your height - tall, short or any point in between.
We’re literally programmed to pick up a few critical pieces of information about someone's physicality the first time that we meet. This goes right back to our ancient ancestors who had to quickly calculate whether the person they’d encountered was a threat or not. And if so, what kind of threat.
Not only could height give them some information. A taller person might be expected to be strong. A shorter person might be perceived to be quick. And then of course someone’s build - muscular, lean, overweight, too thin, etc. - was factored into such perceptions.
In this way people made quick calculations and judgements. Just because we don't walk around like our ancient ancestors trying to determine whether someone is a threat or not, we still have that primal part in our thinking and perception.
Does How Tall I Am Lead People To Stereotype Me?
The answer to this question is a resounding Yes. People do observe how tall you are and make some sort of observations about what you might be like because of it. This forms the basis of the way we stereotype people. It makes us think we can judge someone very quickly on some small (or tall!) pieces of information.
But there's a second stage to this and that is because we recognise that people stereotype each other we often start reacting to the stereotypes. Because someone expects something from us, we often give it to them - behaving in a way that confirms their expectations!
Tall Man Syndrome -
Research suggests that tall men are more likely to have success at work, getting promotions more quickly, and in their personal life. This is because we make many positive assumptions about big guys. Research shows we think tall men are smarter and more capable.
When we start making assumptions like that about a person then we tend to give them the benefit of the doubt. When a tall man goes through life finding that people always expect the best from him - and will give him the benefit of the doubt if he doesn't give his best - then he often rises to that occasion.
It may sound like tall men lead a charmed life but the drawback for them, though, is the fact they may go through school facing constant jokes about things like "is it cold up there?" Some tall men also feel the pressure when people assume they lead a charmed life. Many feel unworthy about such assumptions and are quite insecure.
Small Man Syndrome -
Short man syndrome - or the Napoleon complex - is all about the way some short men feel they have to try doubly hard to get noticed. This can then come across as rude, self-centred or arrogant. In actual fact they don't want to come across that way - they simply want to be "seen" rather then quite literally overlooked.
This determination to be seen means there are many short men who make it to the top of the tree in business, politics and other careers. Half of the successful men in Hollywood are on the short side!
The Long And Short Of It For Women -
Many tall women end up with terrible posture literally trying to shrink themselves. Not only does our society see the ideal couple as the woman being shorter then the man but also tall women complain they don't feel very feminine when they tower above everyone else.
Women on the taller side feel that the early occupation they are suited to his modelling and many simply wouldn't be interested in that career.
When it comes to being a smaller woman, many complain that they aren’t taken seriously and are treated like children rather than adults. They find that colleagues condescend to them and men want to treat them like a precious little object rather than a woman with her own feelings.
How Can I Turn My Height To My Advantage?
Whatever your height you can turn it to your advantage. The best way forward is always to be confident about it. And that confidence starts within yourself and by viewing yourself as a whole person - and not just in terms of your height. The less you pigeonhole yourself in terms of your height the less likely those around you will. So it’s up to you NOT to make height an issue!
That said, some people make their height a focal point of their personality and the way they appear. So if it suits you then make a big deal out of being, say, the tallest person at work or the shortest person in your gym! To help you do this you can draw attention to your height through the way use clothes and shoes.
Those who are tall or short that I've spoken to, confide in me that it’s the joking and teasing that upsets them the most. So whether you’re one extreme or another - tall or short - learn to brush-off tactless jokes. On the whole people don't mean to be rude when they joke about your height. Simply ignoring such things is the best tack. However if someone persists at work - or in a relationship - to tease you about your height than spell it out clearly that you’re not amused.
Just as we can enhance the way we look through things like hair colour, make-up, and the styles we choose, you can also learn to make the most of your height one way or another. For example, there are incredibly discreet stack-heels for a shorter man. And there are a wonderful array of flat heels for women to choose from who feel they don't want to be any taller. And if you're on the shorter side as a woman, it means you can wear fabulous killer heels that many taller women will avoid. However never get hung up thinking you can’t wear a particular style or certain shoes because of your height. The more confidence you have - and the more confidently stand - means you can get away with any style that you fancy.
Never let yourself get down about your height. You are far more than your height! When you're too focused on it then refocus on your best qualities as a person. Also there are so many famous couples that you can bring to mind where height wasn't an issue even though there was a difference between their heights. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes look very loved up despite her being taller. Mick Jagger and Rod Stewart have never shied away from taller women. And Madonna who only stands at about 5’2” has had boyfriends/husbands of varying heights.
Published on MSN.co.UK