It doesn’t seem to matter whether a person is 25 or 55, especially for women, there’s a lot of self-loathing and body shaming happening in our society. It’s terribly unfortunate that certain issues that should reflect beauty, wonder and joy in life with regard to our bodies are often used against us, instead.
For instance, someone who has laughed often in life may have wrinkles around the eyes as he or she ages. Instead of body shaming and feeling the need to sink tens of thousands of dollars into plastic surgery, why can’t we celebrate those lines and see them as a reflection of a beautiful life lived well?
Your body is only part of who you are
As a Christian, I believe that every person is comprised of a body and soul. The problem is that, we spend far too much time criticizing the body parts and not enough time celebrating the spirit. Your spirit and your body are an inseparable team. Focus on the deeper issues that make you “you,” and less on the physical (so-called) imperfections that tempt you to be down on yourself.
Start a journal. Every day, write a few lines about something you love about yourself, including your body. What are your greatest strengths? What gifts has God given you that enable you to bring joy to or help others? Writing out positive thoughts each day can help you to stop body shaming.
Don’t be body shaming the genes you’ve inherited
I have a droopy eye. It has always bothered me, until my dad died and I spent lots of time gazing at photographs of him. I realized that I inherited my droopy eye feature from my dad. Now, when I look in the mirror, I avoid body shaming and instead, smile to think of my dad and give thanks that a tiny bit of him lives on in me.
What body features have you inherited from your parents or grand-parents? Is it a little pouch under your chin or a spray of freckles across your cheeks? Think of the awesomeness of genetics and be glad for who you are. Don’t shun the features that are not your favorites. Remember that they are more than noticeable physical features. They are a sign that you are connected to and borne from a line of ancestry. You are one person in a long sequence of generations. The features you have in common with your ancestors make you special and are part of your family legacy.
Choose friends and acquaintances who are not into body shaming
Pay close attention to what your friends say and do with regard to body image. If they are constantly body shaming themselves or others, it might be time to choose new friends. It’s best to surround yourself with people who are not self-absorbed or consumed by thoughts of physical appearance.
Also pay close attention to how you treat others. Strive to be someone who uplifts, encourages and supports others, not puts them down or teases them about body image.
Stop body shaming to get in better shape — work at it, instead
You don’t have to be a perfect weight (There’s no such thing, anyway.) or size to have joy in life. However, if you believe you are stuck in a habit of body shaming because you are out of shape and unhealthy, it’s okay to acknowledge that and set some constructive goals to better yourself.
It’s difficult to love your body if it’s a source of pain and ill-health. Don’t despair! First, avoid thinking of your body in terms of how it looks versus how you think it should look or wish it would look. Instead, focus on how you feel and how healthy (or unhealthy) you are at this time. It’s a Catch 22 because poor body image can definitely trigger overeating or other bad habits that only make the problem worse. If your goal is to improve the way you feel and to strengthen your mind, body and soul, set attainable goals and work toward accomplishing them, one at a time.
The results might surprise you
Pray and give thanks for your body. Body shaming will only drag you down and might even create some serious mental health problems in your life as well. Make up your mind to start loving your body. As you build a healthier, stronger body, you might find yourself feeling better about things. In fact, you might start being kinder to yourself and appreciating the fact that beauty is comprised of so much more than body type.
Let go of the negative body image. Start loving your body today!