In an ideal world; everyone around us would be sensitive, motivating and understanding. However, we don’t live in an ideal world, do we?
A lot of people enjoy belittling those who seem different from them or from what the society deems acceptable. Whether you are shorter than average or taller, obese or skinny, pale or freckled, lanky or stout, it doesn’t matter. Anyone remotely askew from the “standard” or “average” look that has been popularized by the society as the ideal form of physical beauty makes them instantly vulnerable to bullying, teasing and poking.
As sad, unfair and stupid as this may seem, there is no denying that this is a fact. Not everyone everywhere indulges in picking on people for their physical attributes but there is a considerable amount of those who do. Some do it intentionally, some unintentionally. And even though body-shaming has been a hot topic for many years now with people openly discussing about their own experiences and reasons why it needs to stop, we are still far from that time when it wouldn’t exist. Until then, what can one do to avoid being hurt and discouraged? Well, there are some things that people experiencing such emotional-cruelty can keep in mind to help them overpower it for good:
Body-Shamers Are Really Insecure. Period.
Don’t, for even a second, think that there is something horribly wrong with you when you are being body-shamed! Such emotional abusers channel their own feelings of lack to bully others. Most of them are certain to have some form of an insecurity regarding their own appearance. They might be conscious about their hair, cellulite, body or facial hair, height or something similar and find bullying others as an easy way to help them distract themselves from their own insecurities. Putting someone down makes them feel better and superior. So, remember that the problem is with them, not you.
Most Of Them Secretly Want To Look/Be Like You
Maybe they’ve heard many people say good things about you? Maybe they feel that you are better-looking on the basis of their own preferences? Maybe they feel that you are funnier? Regardless, some people do not understand how to act or approach someone when they consider them to be even slightly better than themselves at anything. And if their insecurities and ego get the better of them, they end up faking a “superior-than-thou” persona to feel better. Hence, they communicate with said person by shaming and humiliating them rather than talking to them normally.
They Might Have Had The Same Experience
Often, people who are demeaning towards others might’ve been or might still be going through similar experiences behind the curtains. They might be facing body-shaming at home by parents, siblings, cousins and/or relatives or they might’ve been teased by other kids when they were young? Such trauma dramatically shapes one’s thinking making them believe that someone like them is “weak” or deserves to be made fun of. So, when they find someone like themselves, they put them through the same torment. No, this doesn’t mean that you need to pity them and let them continue humiliating you. But it does make it easy to understand that you aren’t the reason behind their hurtful words, their own unfortunate experiences are.
There Is So Much More To You Than Your Body
Every human being is a beautiful brew of unique experiences, thoughts, preferences, goals, dreams, habits, tendencies and so much more. Some people are witty and artistic, some are eloquent and funny, some are smart and adorably awkward, some are quick-thinking and great at dancing. All these qualities easily overshadow the physical aspects of any person. Think about it! Would you be friends with a person because they look like a super-model or the fact that you enjoy their company? The latter, isn’t it? People who body shame usually prioritize the short-living “outer-shell” of a person rather than the long-living “core”. When they enjoy being shallow, what’s the point of taking what they say to heart?
Are They Really Worth Taking Seriously?
Take a good look at them. Who are they to you? Are they important to you? Do you look up to them? If your answer to all these questions is no, then stop worrying about these people NOW! But what if these people are those you love and care about like friends or family? Well, this one would be tricky, I’ll give you that much. After all, no one wants to be demoralized by the very people they seek motivation from. The good news, however, is that you can talk to these people. Tell them that their words hurt you, they’ll understand. If that isn’t possible or they don’t understand, remember that we may not always agree with the people we love. Also, most of the things we’ve discussed in this blog apply to these people as well.
It Doesn’t Define You
Now that we understand that body-shamers have some of their own body-image issues they are running away from, it’s time to free yourself from unnecessary guilt. It isn’t your fault that you are being body shamed. I repeat – IT ISN’T YOUR FAULT! Naysayers would never stop talking and life wouldn’t stop throwing them your way. But you can weaken their power by not putting them on a pedestal. We all get to choose how we react to what people say about us. One can take shamers seriously, undervalue their own worth, let their life be lead by their bullies or they can progressively learn how to ignore derogatory comments about their appearance, continue to improve, learn to love themselves regardless of their looks and live a life that they create on their own.
No matter how amazing we look at any given time, someone somewhere will certainly dislike our appearance for no good reason. They would find us funny looking, weird, unattractive and what not. Sometimes they’d even manage to get inside our heads and affect us in ways we don’t like. But that doesn’t mean we need to believe them and let their words diminish our self-esteem. Body shaming has power over us only until we begin appreciating, loving and respecting ourselves.
Have you been on the receiving end of body shaming? Feel free to tell us about your experience and how you overcame it in the comment section.