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You Are Not a Number

NYC in Oct 2012

In an earlier post I talked about the different small ways we can embrace ourselves. In one tip I suggested tossing out the scale. Because you’re not a number.

But sometimes, it feels like we are. Doesn’t it?

Sometimes, we become convinced that the number on the scale means everything, dictates everything — from our happiness to our relationship status to our worth as a human being.

I spent years shackled to the scale. I yearned for the number to be lower. And lower. Because the lower, the better, I thought. The lower, the prettier I was. The lower, the more confident I could finally feel. The lower, the more I deserved to take care of myself. The lower, the more I deserved to appreciate and love my body. The more love I deserved from others. The more I was worthy. The more I could become an adventurous, exciting, popular person. The more I could do and say as I pleased.

We create a number in our heads that would finally grant us these things. The number that would give us everything.

We let this number overshadow us. We bury it deep into our bones.

But here’s the truth: Neither of us is a number. Not a number on the scale. Not a number on a clothing tag.

Instead we are whole beings.

We are big hearts and big dreams.

We are many different quirks and qualities.

We are complex. Gloriously so.

We are unique combinations of passions, pain, lessons, losses, triumphs, questions, needs, wants, stories and steel.

We are rivers of feelings, clouds of thoughts.

We are magnificent machines.

We are minds that create solutions. Imaginations that invent ideas, hands that fertilize these seeds.

We are someone special to someone special.

We are wonder and wisdom.

We are explorers. We are nurturers. We are mothers and fathers: to others, to words, to wishes, to things we never thought possible.

We are a soul.

We are life.

And we are worthy. As Geneen Roth wrote in Women, Food and God, “It’s never been true, not anywhere at any time, that the value of a soul, of a human spirit, is dependent on a number on a scale.”

If it’s helpful to you, make a list of everything you are. Of everything beyond the numbers. Get specific. Copy Roth’s quote on the same page. And turn to your list, and turn to her words, when you forget your wholeness.

You Are Not a Number

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Margarita is an associate editor at She writes about everything from taking compassionate care of yourself at any weight, shape, and size, to coping healthfully with difficult emotions. Her goal is to give readers practical, empowering tips to better their lives, and to remind you that whatever you're struggling with, you're never, ever alone.

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2015). You Are Not a Number. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 12, 2020, from


Last updated: 15 May 2015
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