Valerie Bertinelli on Her Self-Esteem as a Young Actor: ‘What Was Wrong With Me?’

In her memoir Losing It: And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at a Time, former One Day at a Time star Valerie Bertinelli opened up about her experiences as a teenage actor, comparing herself to other people her age and selling herself short each time.

Bertinelli shared what many can relate to: as she looked back at her younger self, decades later, she could no longer see what had bothered her so much at the time: “What was wrong with me?”

Former 'One Day at a Time' star Valerie Bertinelli
Former ‘One Day at a Time’ star Valerie Bertinelli | CBS via Getty Images

Bertinelli opened up in a memoir about her struggle with self-esteem as a young actor

The actor wrote in her memoir of an elementary school teacher’s passing comment and the power it held over her for decades. As a very young Bertinelli spoke with friends, the teacher patted her stomach, “not theirs or all of our tummies, just mine—and said, ‘You’d better watch this.'”

Recalling the instructor’s innocent yet insensitive remark, the actor wrote, “I think most women will agree, you can get a thousand compliments, but it’s the one criticism that will stick with you. That’s the way it was for me after my teacher’s comment. From then on, I tended to see only the negative about myself. I focused on the worst.”

The actor’s look back at photos of her younger self

And when she entered adolescence, Bertinelli wrote, “I focused on my hips—or my big Italian child-bearing hips, as I referred to them. In reality, they weren’t big. They were perfect for a 13-year-old. I look back at pictures and wonder what the hell I was looking at. But back then all I saw were curves.

“I recently looked at pictures of myself from that time and just about screamed, ‘What was wrong with me?’ The truth was, I had an adorable figure for a 14-year-old girl. Neither fat nor curvy, I was perfectly fine. Why couldn’t I see it?”

Valerie Bertinelli’s latest memoir addresses an issue people of all ages can relate to

Along the way, the actor concluded in her latest memoir Enough Already, she was someone who “always felt broken.” She finally determined to find the good in herself and celebrate those attributes instead of the “flaws and imperfections” she continually focused on.

“I was always trying to fix something about myself,” she added. “I was always telling myself ‘No’ or ‘Don’t’ or ‘You were bad today’ or ‘You cheated.’ Why couldn’t I see the best of me instead? Why couldn’t I see all the good things about myself? Why couldn’t I bring myself to say, ‘Yes!'”

Enough Already chronicles Bertinelli’s examination of “certain behavior that no longer serves me, recognizing that perhaps it never did, and trying to find new ways of channeling my thoughts and emotions,” the former Hot in Cleveland star wrote.

“It’s about my efforts to, at 61 years old, set aside the landmines of denial, negativity, and self-hate and instead identify values like joy, gratitude, compassion, and forgiveness, and try to align with them every day.”

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