Body shaming is rampant nowadays. Both men and women can experience body-shaming. Both skinny and chubby individuals can experience this form of bullying.

Even just having stretch marks or a scar can be used to body shame a person. It can be because of a person’s height, skin color, the way they dress, and sadly, even a disability.

It happens online and offline. It is very toxic and can negatively affect a person’s mental health. Body-shaming is a form of bullying where someone is judged based on the way they look. Typically, a person is body-shamed for being overweight or underweight or not fitting in with society’s expectations of being thin and beautiful.

Hearing these cruel comments can be devastating and humiliating, which can affect a person’s self-esteem. It can lead to depression and eating disorders.

Negative comments from others can also lead you to body shame yourself. No one deserves to be judged based on their appearance. So what should you do? How can you deal with body shaming?

How to Recognize Body-Shaming

The first step in dealing with body-shaming is to recognize if it’s happening to you so it can be easier for you to overcome, recognize, avoid and deal with body-shaming. Obviously, someone saying, “You’vegained too much weight” or “You’re so skinny, and you need to eat some more” are upfront and hurtful forms of body-shaming.

But there are subtle forms of body-shaming that are wrapped in sarcasm you should recognize. These are tricky but can make you uncomfortable. Here are some examples:

  • Subtle comments like“You’re too tall for a girl,” “Should you be eating that cake?” “You’re never going to find a boyfriend looking like that,” “That outfit doesn’t fit you well,” “You need to join the gym soon,” and “Honey, you need to eat some more.”
  • Cyberbullying or negative comments or personal messages from social media

How to Handle Body Shaming

Whether it’s called body shaming or fat-shaming, one thing is clear: nobody should be judged or feel ashamed by the way they look. You only have one body, which you should love and accept. Other people will always have something to say, and you definitely can’t please everyone.

You can’t live by what society expects of you, live by your own terms, and love yourself. You should learn how to feel good about yourself because you are worthy. Here are valuable tips on how to deal with body-shaming:

1. Recognize the Importance of Body Positivity

Your first step in dealing with body-shaming is body positivity. Body positivity is about accepting and understanding that feeling good about your appearance is important for your mental health.

No matter what shape or skin you have, you should love it. Be thankful for your good health. Be grateful for what you have, not what you’re missing.

No amount of therapy can help you if you don’t feel confident about yourself. Be free of worries about what your friends or the world think of what you look like.

Appreciate your body despite its flaws. No one is perfect, so try to be more accepting and confident about your body.

If you want to improve your appearance, don’t do it because of what you hear from other people. Do it because you want to become healthy or feel good about yourself. The moment that you embrace body positivity is the moment you can overcome body-shaming.

confident black woman posing in a bikini

2. Accept Yourself and Stop Hiding

It’s sad to know that people who experience body-shaming hide from the world. It can be in the form of isolating themselves from others, covering up their bodies, or preferring to be ‘invisible.’

It doesn’t have to be this way. Life is too short to live in the shadows. How can you enjoy life if you keep worrying about what other people might say about your appearance?

Don’t let this get to your head. Start loving and accepting your body. Stop hiding!

There’s no real reason to limit yourself and what you can do in life because of body-shaming. If there are situations that make you uncomfortable, take little steps and observe how you feel in the situation you’re in to overcome the discomfort. Over time, you’ll overcome your fear and stop hiding.

3. Take Responsibility and Be Accountable

Yes, you have to accept your body and be proud no matter what. But you also have to be open to the possibility that there’s something wrong with your body. It’s about finding balance. Some people may share comments coming from a good heart, with no ill intentions, but may come off as mean comments.

You also have to ask yourself if those commenting on your body are coming from a place of concern and want only the best for you. These would be people like your parents and trusted friends.

For example, gaining weight is a really sensitive topic. It’s offensive to be called fat, which is body-shaming.

But what if it’s a genuine concern? Because as we all know, this can lead to obesity, which increases a person’s risk of developing diseases like diabetes or heart ailments.

This is why you should consider taking responsibility and accountability. After all, it’s your health that is being talked about, not the way you look per se. So if you take action, do it for yourself and your health. After all, looking good causes you to feel good about yourself.

You don’t need to be skinny. You just have to be healthy. 

4. Practice Self-Love By Being Kind to Yourself

There are many bullies in the world, and the last bully you want to deal with is yourself. So it’s important to be kind to yourself. You need to treat yourself with respect, self-love, and kindness. Practice self-love, have positive self-talk, and love your body.

Stand in front of the mirror naked, look at yourself and learn to love your body. Do not be self-deprecating because your inner bully is the most worrying thing that can bring you down.

Take care of yourself, remind yourself of your good qualities, and stop aiming for perfection. Aim to be a good person, not the perfect person.

5. Take Control of Your Social Media Platforms

Social media can be a lot of things. You can learn new things from it, keep in touch with your friends with it, and sometimes witness or experience cyberbullying through it. If body-shaming comments on social media give you stress, take control by cutting out toxic persons in your life or unfollowing those who make you feel bad about yourself.

It’s your social media account, so you can take control of it. Instead, have a body-positive feed. Follow pages of influencers who promote messages of body positivity.

If your goal is to improve yourself physically, you can follow pages that promote health or inspire you to be fit. But if your goal is to be positive, follow pages that encourage self-acceptance.

6. Be Grateful for Your Body

Lastly, to deal with body shaming, you need to be grateful for your body. Instead of wishing for what’s missing, be thankful for what you have.

Be grateful for good health and the body that keeps you alive every day. Be grateful for what you have right now. Wish to have good health always and not a flawless body.

Remember that even celebrities have flaws; they’re just too good not to show it or too secretive that they are able to conceal them. Photos posted on social media can be deceiving, filtered, or edited, so don’t believe everything you see on social media. Just be thankful for what you have and the chance to be alive. 

What to Say to Someone Who Is Body-Shaming

Instead of getting into an argument with someone who body-shamed you, react with kindness. For example, you can say, “Thank you for your concern. For now, I’m trying to focus on loving myself and being positive about my body. I’d appreciate it if you don’t say things like this in the future.” Don’t argue further and walk away from the conversation so it won’t get worse. 

What to Do When Someone Is Body-Shaming You

The best thing to do is to call out that person in a polite manner. Never spark an argument or fight back by body-shaming them, too, as this could cause you stress.

Find your voice and speak with peace. Try to promote positive support instead of making mean comments to the person who was nasty to you. If you call the person out, you can feel better about yourself and take control of the situation. 

How Can Body-Shaming Affect a Person?

Body-shaming can negatively affect a person in many ways. It may lead to:

Why Do We Need to Stop Body-Shaming?

You might not be aware of your actions or choose the right words, but you may be body-shaming other people, too. Make sure to choose the right words and be extra sensitive to others. We all need to stop body-shaming because this can cause trauma and low self-esteem in those we unknowingly body-shame.

Seek Professional Help

If you find it hard to deal with body shaming, it’s probably time to seek professional help before it can affect your mental health. You can book an appointment for online mental health counseling at Kentucky Counseling Center (KCC). Let our counselors help you with these negative emotions and help you healthily deal with body-shaming.

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