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Sunday, 21 March 2021

Combat Body Shaming to Protect Your Mental Health

 


All of us have faced body shaming at least at some point in our lives. Body shaming is not just restricted to fat-shaming and thin shaming; it can be any derogatory comment about your body. If someone comments how frizzy your hair looks or the number of grey hair that you have, it is body shaming. If someone comments about your skin colour, teeth, eyes, nose, lips, or any other part of your body in a derogatory way, it is body shaming.

When confronted with body shaming, most of us feel tongue-tied while an avalanche of emotions somersault within us- anger, hurt, resentment, bitterness, sadness. The reason we often fail to reply to our body shamers is that we start doubting ourselves. 

When someone makes us feel miserable about our body, we are often paralyzed by self-doubt. As a result, we fail to stand up for ourselves at that moment. Later, we sulk thinking why we failed to give an apt reply.

There are two major problems of failing to stand up for ourselves when we are subjected to body shaming:

(i)                Our mental health gets compromised.

(ii)             We give the body shamers another chance to hurt us.

If we all speak up, if we stand up for ourselves every time someone passes a derogatory comment about our body and we promise ourselves not to indulge in body shaming, the venomous culture of body shaming would die a natural death.

Here are some tips to combat body-shaming:

1.     Understand that people who body shame others are victims of body shaming

 

First of all, it is important to understand who these body shamers are. They are chronic victims of body shaming and are always uncomfortable with their bodies. As they have such a hateful relationship with their body, they pull others down by body shaming.

 

Realizing this truth can help us forgive those people easily and not take their words to heart.

 

2.     Speak up

 

When someone passes a comment about your body weight or skin colour or hair, speak up. Let the person know it is not alright to comment about your body. Let the person know that you will not tolerate and give space for such a conversation.

 

If it is a friend, give a generous smile and tell him/her that you are happy and you love yourself just the way you are. If your friend wants to drag the discussion, ask whether they are happy with their body. If they are, they should not bother about how you look.

 

If it is an elder who is commenting about your body weight due to concern for you, smile and tell them it is your body type and that you are perfectly healthy. So he/she does not have to worry about you.

 

If it is a stranger who is commenting about your body, tell them to mind their own business.

 

I agree it is not easy to give a reply to the body shamer especially when it is a person who is close to you. But keeping quiet will worsen your mental health and allow that person to criticize you once again. 


3.     Develop a healthy and harmonious relationship with your body

 

If you want to combat body shaming, you have to develop a healthy relationship with your body. The foundation of the relationship needs to be so strong that a derogatory comment about your body cannot shake it.

 

Practice loving affirmations towards your body every day. Stand in front of the mirror and say these affirmations aloud:

 

“I love my body. I send love to each organ, bone, muscle, and part of my body.”

 

“My body is a miracle. I take care of my body by feeding it nutritious food. I enjoy caring for myself.”

 

“My body is perfect for me. I am beautiful and attractive just the way I am.”

 

“I am comfortable in my skin. I accept all of me.”

 

Invest your time and energy in taking good care of yourself. Make your relationship with your body so strong and harmonious that no one’s comment can make you doubt yourself. 




These are three tips to combat body shaming on a regular basis. Our mental health gets badly affected when we quietly tolerate body shaming and drown ourselves in self-doubts. We try a wide range of things to look perfect so that our body shamers speak well about us. But guess what? No matter how we look, our body shamers will always have something wrong to tell if we give them that space.

So, let’s pledge today to

-Stand up for ourselves when someone makes a derogatory statement about our body

-Develop a healthy, loving, and harmonious relationship with our body

-Never indulge in body shaming

We are all in this together!

 


2 comments:

  1. You have raised very pertinent issues of our times and also provided practical remedies.

    ReplyDelete

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