Body Shame: Body Image Can Affect a Person’s Health
Loving your body is easier said than done, body shame and body image can affect a person’s health. When there is body shame around us, our body image is more and more affected. Body shame can come from traditional media, social media, society, and often – those around us. We are constantly being told how we should look and what to strive for.
If you step outside, how many different body types can you count in 30 minutes? Probably dozens, yet we are being told one body image is the one to strive to and then, body image concerns can start to affect a person’s health.
People have used their appearance to get someone’s approval since the dawn of time. Was it to find the spouse who will fall in love with us or to be chosen for a physical job because of our strong body? Humans have been judged based on appearance for years. Fast-forwarding to today and we’ll notice that these reasons are still stuck with most of us. Even if you try to forget about your body image, society will remind you of it.
Why are we body shaming? How can someone who hates their body image get over it? Is it possible?
To find the answers to these questions, we’ve decided to dig deeper and seek the real reasons why there is so much body shaming around us that does affect a person’s health.
The Beginning of Body Shame
The first examples of body shaming can be seen already in the first years of education. Children need approval from their parents and other authorities they admire to feel good about themselves. More importantly, they learn by observing society. This means that even if a child was raised in a household where nobody made them feel unworthy, whether because of their appearance or something else, they might learn it from a relative or the way their parent treats itself.
Children that were teased and bullied due to the way they look will feel their sense of safety is affected. They might wrongly assume that changing something about them to get approval from others will make them feel more loved and safe. Feeling you are not worthy of love is a feeling that will hardly go away on its own, and it often involves years of therapy until the person accepts themselves completely, including the way they look.
Change Comes from Within
Having body-shaming experiences in early childhood can have serious consequences for a child that later might affect how they feel about themselves. Being conscious about your body often leads to low self-esteem, which prevents individuals from having quality relationships with other people in their lives. Thinking that shame around their body is not allowing them to connect with others, a victim of body shaming will think their body needs to change to have that connection.
The shame around your body will indeed go away once something changes, yet it’s not external changes we are talking about. Learning to love yourself and your body is incredibly important for one’s well being. Then, you will be able to make decisions beneficial for yourself instead of changing your appearance in seek of approval.
How To Get Over Body-Shaming
If you ever had shameful feelings about your body, you know how deeply it can affect how you feel about everything in your life. Luckily, there are many steps you can take to start the healing and acceptance process.
Filter Social Media Content
There is so much content on social media platforms, and not all of it is good for you. Surround yourself with positive messages, body acceptance, and self-love on each of the social media platforms you use. Find influential body-positive people who also share their struggles openly with their audience. This will make you feel like you’re not alone and you will also be able to connect with other people who are on their journey of learning to love themselves.
Believing in Loving Your Body
It might be too optimistic for those starting to overcome body shaming to expect to unconditionally accept your body right away. Getting over feelings of shame is a process that takes time, and you will need to be patient and dedicated to your goal. Instead of expecting too much, start with smaller actions. You might notice you feel better if you walk an hour in the evening, start meditating, dance in your underwear, or do something else. These activities will make you feel better and remind you why it’s so important to accept yourself and just be happy.
Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone
Have you always been adding an extra layer of clothes that nobody notices your body? Have you maybe been afraid to speak in front of a group of people because you didn’t want their attention? All these things affect how you feel about yourself. Changing them is not easy, yet you can start small. Try to speak more when you’re with your friends even if you don’t feel like it at first. When dressing for any occasion, try not to completely cover your body with layers of clothes or consider adding a few accessories that will give you a boost of confidence.
Getting To Know Your Inner-Bully
To heal from body shaming, you will need to focus on your inner-bully and hear them out. Instead of ignoring that little voice telling you you’re not pretty/skinny/tall/sexy enough, try to give it space and time. For instance, when you’re dressing for work next time that thought appears, give it a moment. Let it express itself. Then, you will slowly become aware that this voice is just one tiny part of you, not your entire self. These thoughts are just one part of you and they are not more powerful than you trying to heal and become a fulfilled person.
It is not a bad thing to seek approval, yet it shouldn’t be your main motivator in life. We all like compliments and seeing our loved ones admiring us. However, this is just one factor among many of them, and it should not be more important than how you feel about your body.
Your body will always belong to you. This means you are responsible for treating it right, give yourself compliments, and move it in ways that feel positive. Instead of chasing that “perfect” body image from social media, try to feel perfect in the body you already have. Body image can affect a person’s health, and these are some ways that you can resolve it. Learn more about it from our video as well!
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