I’m so in love with my body. Call me vain but it is what it is. I love my body in all the way it has transitioned because I didn’t have to do anything to get here, especially because I know how this body used to be and the amount of body shaming that came with it then.
Body shaming is the action or practice of humiliating someone by making mocking or critical comments about their body shape or size.
My personal experience
When I was in the university, I was constantly body shamed especially by ladies like me. I heard words like “don’t you eat”, “when will you get fat” “You are too thin” “eat more” constantly. It’s funny how it has now changed to “You are now adding flesh”, “someone is adding weight”😊 .
Thank God for self confidence. Things don’t get to me easily and this was no exception- You can’t shame the shameless, even though in this case there is nothing to be ashamed about as I didn’t create myself. I love me way too much you can’t even bring me down but that is just me, not everyone is wired this way. The truth is, everyone has their breaking points and we should be careful the words we say to people about their bodies.
There is a thin line between motivating people to be healthier and shaming them for the type of body they have. More than you can imagine these things have serious negative effects viz;
Low Self Esteem
Like I mentioned earlier, everyone has their breaking points and if body shaming is too frequent, it affects one’s self esteem. The person being shamed starts to take in the negative talks about their body, they begin to believe them and this can have terrible effects on their confidence. It’s even worse with people that already have low self esteem, body-negative talks shatter their confidence completely. They find it hard to relate with people, they begin to isolate themselves because they feel “they don’t have the perfect body”.
Mental health issues
Body shaming may lead to anxiety, depression, and social isolation. People with anxiety generally tend to overthink everything, and body shaming is not an exception. Constant negative remarks generally increases anxiety to the extent that it can cause panic attacks, depression phases and suicidal thoughts. Yes, it is that serious.
Body shaming leads to eating disorders like anorexia and Bulimia. People can become anorexic when they starve themselves obsessively to lose weight after being frequently told that they are “too fat”.
Bulimia on the other hand occurs when a person eats obsessively to gain weight after being frequently told that they are “too skinny’.
These disorders lead to life threatening health issues.
“Staying fit and healthy is one thing, but trying to fit into standards of other people that are defined by unreal parameters can lead to an even unhealthier life and body – physically, mentally, and socially”- Times now
How to overcome body shaming
With all the pressure on people, women especially to look a certain type of way, to have a “figure 8” or “bikini body”, it is really hard to genuinely love one’s body and remain confident in one’s self but you know what? it is possible.
Here are some ways to overcome body shaming;
Speak words of affirmation
As negative words were created and repeated so much so you began to believe them and made them your reality, you will have to create a new language for yourself and repeat it, so they can replace the negative talks and thoughts and become your reality. Stand in front of the mirror and speak out loud what you want to believe about yourself. It might feel strange at first but the more you tell yourself these things, the more you will believe them.
According to research, 63% of girls think the body image represented by the fashion industry is unrealistic, yet 60% say they compare their bodies to fashion models.
Choose the messages you feed your mind
Intentionally surround yourself with messages that promote body acceptance and self love. Stop spending your time following social media accounts of people whose job it is to look a certain way, you’ll start to believe you need to look the same way too. Unfollow accounts that make you feel inferior for your beautiful body. Doing this gives you power over the kind of words you take in and believe.
Love your body, be grateful for it, accept it
It’s quite hard to be grateful to your body when you’re ashamed of it, and you wish it were a certain kind of way. However, there are so many things about your body that you should be thankful for. Your body keeps you alive, it carries everything that makes you human. It’s your temple and it deserves to be worshipped. Take time to thank your body.
Own that body, girl
It’s so empowering to see women who ‘own’ their bodies. By ‘owning’ your body, you become more confident in it. It is okay to be who you are, own it and be unapologetic about it.
Surround yourself with friends who love themselves
Confidence and positivity is contagious. Surround yourself with people that breath the positive life, those that love their bodies and own it confidently. Over time, it will rub off on you.
All these may take time, overcoming body shaming with genuine self love is far easier said than done. It can be an overwhelming task, but it is achievable so, start with yourself.