How to deal with body shame

How to deal with body shame

Dealing with body shame is a very difficult task but one has to be determined to overcome that feeling of body shame. This article explains how one can effectively overcome body shame and begin to feel proud, confident and happy about his/her body image.

Before I proceed into explaining the different ways to deal with body shame, I will like to explain the meaning of “body image”.

Body image is a perception that a person has of their physical self, the thoughts and the feeling that result from that perception. These feeling can be positive or negative or even both and are influenced by an individual and environmental factor. When the feeling is positive it includes a feeling of security, love and value but when it is negative it includes that of shame and desire to alter oneself.

Body image is determined by the following factors:

  • How you see your body is your perceptual body image; this is not always a correct representation of how you actually look for example a person may perceive herself to be too skinny.
  • The way you feel about your body is your affective body image. This relates to the amount of satisfaction or dissatisfaction you feel about your shape, weight and individual body parts.
  • The way you think about your body image is your cognitive body image. This can lead to preoccupation with body shape and weight.

These negative feeling one has about his/her body physique is what is referred to as “body shame”.

How to deal with body shame
 body shame

Ways to handle body shame

  • Believe In Yourself And Love You Body As It Is: Believing in yourself is one of the most important factors to consider when dealing with body shame. If you listen to voices that say you can’t do things, then not only is it the end goal out of reach but progress as well. With confidence, you start to feel better and generate more progress but when you deny that you can feel better about yourself as you are and insist that no tips or therapy can work for you then it won’t help. When you believe that there is help for you, you can begin to discover what is getting in the way of your being helped. Perhaps, you can begin to have a choice, give yourself permission to see if you can feel better and begin the journey of figuring out how to make it happen. Hence, believing in yourself is one way- perhaps the biggest way is to get out of your own way.
  • Come Out From Hiding: If you feel shame about your body, you may find ways to hide. Some people cover up with extra clothing, or sit in the back of a room full of people or even stay silent when they have things to say. If there is a way you are keeping yourself hidden, try pushing your comfort one a little at a time. See what happens if you go outside with less coverage, even just for a short time, see what happens if you sit a little closer to the front of the room, where more people can see you. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking up in front of a group, see how it is to say hello, goodbye or make a comment to people on your way into or out of meetings, classes or social gatherings. Take small steps, pay attention to how you feel and see if you want to continue to move further out of your comfort zone.
  • Curate Your Social Media: If there is anyone who doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, unfollow them, even if they are your close friends. Instead, follow positive accounts and people who are putting out diverse uplifting messages about body acceptance. Seek out the people who contradict your body-shaming culture and support them.
  • Get To Know Your Inner-Bully: Sometimes you are not aware of what you are doing to yourself when you think negatively about yourself, this feeling can be called the inner-bully and it can make you become depressed. Find positive thinking to counteract every negative thought that popped into your mind. Being more positive about yourself helps you feel more relaxed, whenever you hear that negative voice whispering in your ear, look in the mirror and tell yourself out loud that you are worthy, valued and beautiful just the way you are.

How to Respond To People Who Body Shame You

How to deal with body shame
How to deal with body shame
  • Practice Ahead of Time: If people commonly comment on certain parts of your body, it can help you practice a response to those comments. For example, if people often comment negatively about your weight, you think up a response you can use later. That way, you won’t be caught off guard.
  • Don’t let it get to you: It is never okay for someone to comment on your body, however, you can decide if you want the negativity to get to you. Remember, it is usually more about the other person than it is about you. Try to detach yourself from their comment and negativity. Don’t give them the satisfaction of knowing that they got under your skin.
  • Ignore them: one of the best options is just to ignore people who try to body shame you. You don’t have to respond to them because responding only gives the person the attention they want. When you don’t respond, you give the person a chance to think about what they said.
  • Call the Person Out On It: One way you can deal with body shaming from friends or strangers is to simply call the person out on it. You don’t need to make rude comments, even if they are from strangers and calling a person out may make you feel better about the situation. For example, if someone says, “should you be taking that? Do you really need those calories?” you can reply, “ I don’t appreciate you commenting on what I eat, you can do yourself a favour by minding your own business, thank you” if the person becomes aggressive then go ahead to ignore them.

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