Body shaming is rampant nowadays; both men and women experience body shaming. No matter the body size, looks, skin color, and body shape 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’s too 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 by being overweight or underweight or by 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. And you know what? Negative comments of others can lead you to body shame yourself too. No one deserves to be judged based on their appearance. What should you do? How do you deal with body shaming?
How to Recognize Body Shaming
To deal with body shaming, the first step is to recognize if it’s happening to you. So it can be easier for your to overcome, recognize, avoid and deal with body shaming. Obviously, someone saying “You’ve gained too much weight” or “You’re so skinny, you need to eat some more” are upfront and hurtful forms of body shaming.
But there are subtle forms of body shaming that are covered with sarcasm you should recognize. This is a tricky spot that 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”, “Honey, you need to eat some more.”
- Cyberbullying: Comments or personal messages from social media that degrade your looks.
How to Deal With 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, and you should love yourself. Other people will always have something to say, and you can’t definitely 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.
Body Positivity is Important
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 of the world think of what you look like. Appreciate your body despite your flaws. You are human, no one is perfect, and you should feel 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 want to feel good about yourself. The moment that you embrace body positivity is the moment you can overcome body shaming.
Acceptance: Stop Hiding
It’s sad to know that people who experience body shaming hide. It can be isolating themselves from the world, covering up their bodies, or prefers to be ‘invisible’. This shouldn’t 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?
Don’t let this get to your head; start loving and accepting your body. Stop hiding! If there are situations that make you uncomfortable, take little steps to overcome this. For example, you get anxious going to the mall because you’re afraid you might bump into someone you know, and you’re afraid of the comments you might hear; you should overcome this.
Should you really limit yourself and what you can do in life because of body shaming? NO! Take little steps, and observe how you feel in that situation. Over time, you’ll overcome your fear, and you will stop hiding.
Take Responsibility and Accountability
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 the balance. Some, not all, may drop comments that are coming from a good heart, with no ill intentions, but may come off as mean comments.
But you have to ask yourself too, maybe they’re coming from a place of concern and would want the best for you, especially your parents. For example, gaining weight is a really sensitive topic. It’s offensive to be called fat, and yes, that’s body shaming. But what if it’s a genuine concern? Because as we all know, this can lead to obesity. And obesity increases a person’s risk of developing diseases like diabetes or heart ailments.
For this, you should consider taking responsibility and accountability. After all, it’s your health we’re talking about. So if you take action, do it for yourself and your health. After all, looking good equates to feeling good too. You don’t need to be skinny; you just need to be healthy.
Self-Love: Be 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.
Take Control Of Your Social Media Platforms
Social media is filled with a lot of things. Informational stuff, keeping in touch with friends and sometimes cyberbullying. If body-shaming comments on social media cause you stress, take control of it. Try to cut out toxic persons in your life, or unfollow those who make you feel bad about yourself.
It’s your social media, and you can take control of it. Instead, have a body-positive feed. Follow pages of influencers that promote messages of body positivity. If your goal is to improve yourself physically, you can follow pages of fitness inspirations or promotes health. But if your goal is to be positive, follow pages that encourage self-acceptance.
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 and 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 about concealing it. 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 for the chance of being 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 with body-shaming them too, as this could cause you stress. You should promote positive support, not comment mean things. If you call the person out, you can feel better about yourself and take control of the situation. Find your voice and speak with peace.
How Can Body-Shaming Affect a Person?
Body shaming can negatively affect a person in many ways. Body shaming 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 body shame 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 have low self-esteem.
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.
After all, you have to take care of your mental health above anything else. What’s the use of a flawless or sexy body if you’re experiencing a mental health decline? What’s more important? What’s important is you’re in good health, not having an illness, and you are mentally healthy. Repeat these words: “I am strong. I am beautiful.”