There is a significant difference between not being entirely happy with your body, or appearance, and bullying yourself and allowing severe self-deprecation. As the master of the collar-bone and above selfie, I’m here to talk about my experience in the recent past battling my inner bully.
I don’t need to spend time writing about eating disorders, and why we are so self conscious, because those articles are everywhere. I just want to break down this huge (in my opinion) difference in our response to not being pleased with our bodies. Let’s start with a brief quiz! When you look in the mirror after a shower and you’re displeased, how do you respond?
A. “Huh, that’s probably the cakes I’ve been eating. I need to get to a gym.”
B. “Wow, fat pig. You’re disgusting. You ugly, ugly girl.”
C. Can’t even look in a mirror.
For majority of my upbringing, I really struggled with my body. Answers B and C were all I knew. I was the chubby one in the bunch of skinny little girls. I was called fat at a very young age, and I let that bullying dictate a lot of my own feelings towards myself. It wasn’t healthy, and it wasn’t helpful in maintaining a remotely positive outlook on myself. I have never been happy with my body. That doesn’t mean that I have to absolutely hate myself, and punish my body for not being my ideal vision.
In the past few months, I’ve been starting to understand that my body is not going to be the way my seventeen year old body was. It’s going to grow, and sag, and age like all bodies do. Instead of getting frustrated with myself, I have to figure out a way to allow myself to still love buying new clothes, and going out in public. I cannot be afraid of my body. I’m 23. I’m very aware that my body now is going to be the least of my frustrations. I can’t imagine my body in my thirties, or my body when it’s pregnant. As an extremely body conscious woman, it honestly terrifies me to the point where I consider if I even want a child in me to ruin my vessel. How selfish, I know.
I have been trying to look at my body realistically. This might sound silly to some, but for me, when I got to my ideal size, which was a 4, I then just moved my ideal size down to a 0. If I made it there, would have I tried for smaller? I don’t know. I have never been realistic about my body. I have a history of starving myself, and diet pills, and eight hour days in the gym. I’m not rational in this area. I’m trying to teach myself that when I look in the mirror and my thighs are too big, to ask myself why. Have I been eating the healthiest that I can? Have I been exercising? As opposed to yelling at myself for having a little bit of a tummy, I review why it may be that way. I’m trying to be logical instead of hopeful. I can want a size 4 body until I’m in a hospital. Instead of beating myself up for gaining a mere five pounds or so, I should at least be able to process why my body is the way it is. Is it due to exercise, diet, medication, age, etc.? That alone helps me not to immediately start insulting myself.
I’m not alone when it comes to self-esteem, self-deprecation, not knowing how to handle compliments I don’t agree with, or avoiding certain situations that I won’t be able to guarantee how my body is perceived by others. I hope you can learn to be more patient with your bodies. If you’ve altered your diet plans or exercise, don’t expect immediate results. Don’t be harsh on your bodies when the results aren’t exactly as expected. Don’t let your disapproval for your body grow into emotional bullying. Try your hardest to be rational. As we age, we change, and we change and change again. That’s okay, and that’s what makes us human.
I don’t expect this to heal my self-esteem issues. I don’t expect to fully love my body anytime soon. I just know, that in these past few weeks where I haven’t been screaming at myself for what I don’t like, I’ve been less anxious about wearing what I want to wear, and doing what I want to do. Don’t shrug off other people’s compliments, but don’t rely on them. I’m a sincere believer in loving yourself first.
Let me know if this was remotely coherent. I’ve been thinking about this for a few weeks, but writing it out has been a challenge. Articles like these always comforted me. Good luck on your journeys out there.