Dealing with Body Shaming and a Negative Body Image

My weight never really bothered me. When I was 13, I was more concerned with following my dreams, doing what I loved and enjoying my childhood. I always knew that I didn’t fit the beauty standards but I didn’t mind at that time - I was too young to care about what other people thought of me. But as time passed and I gained more weight, the way that people treated me also changed. Suddenly, I was flooded with nasty comments about my body, telling me that I was hideous to look at and that I would never get a boyfriend if I didn’t lose weight. I started to see myself from everybody else’s perspective and was convinced that I was unattractive, unworthy and deserving of hate.

I was taught to feel ashamed of my body.

For several years to come, the way I looked defined me. I hid my body as much as I could by wearing dull colors and oversized clothes that wouldn’t draw attention to me. I also stopped doing the things I loved because I became increasingly insecure and unable to express myself. I lost a part of me that I wasn’t able to find until very recently. Six years later, I wish I could go back and tell myself a few things that I learned along the way -

Know your worth

No matter if you fit a certain standard or not, you do not deserve to be treated badly. Don’t let anybody convince you that you shouldn’t feel good about yourself. If you are having difficulties accepting your body, try to find beauty in your imperfections by relabeling them as quirks that are unique to you. If you treat yourself the way you want to be treated, you’ll become strong enough to create boundaries with those who hurt you and will surround yourself with those who want to see you empowered in your own skin.

Don’t be afraid to educate

Tell them how it is - your body, your rules. It’s nobody’s place to comment on your body or the way you look. But, It’s also important to understand that just like us, it’s likely that these people have been brainwashed into thinking that a certain body type is more desirable than the rest. So, don’t be afraid to explain to them how they are contributing towards this viscous cycle that will never let us accept ourselves for who we are. Tell them to learn to appreciate our differences because it’s impossible for everybody to look the same.

Wear it with confidence

Once you realize that there’s nothing wrong with you but a whole lot wrong with societal standards, it’s your time to shine! Forget about that oversized black hoodie and go get yourself a red bodycon dress. Buy that bikini that you said you would wear only once you lost weight. Or, wear whatever makes you feel beautiful and confident. And then, take pictures, post it all over your socials and inspire other girls to do the same. Nothing can come between you and the relationship that you have with your body when you realize that your opinion about yourself matters more than anyone else’s.

Always remember that healing is not a linear process and that there are going to be times when you start to doubt yourself again. But, be assured that you are going to come out of this much more stronger, powerful and confident than before. And once you stop caring about the outside world, you’ll realize what a hidden gem you truly are!