Body shaming has been related to a number of mental health issues and bad behavioral habits, both of which have the potential to be harmful to our physical health. It is crucial to understand how to combat body shaming and get past any effects it may have had on us in the past.
Educate yourself about body shaming and body positivity
We frequently observe or experience body shaming without even recognizing it. These events subsequently shape our body image subliminally, and we may question why we feel the way we do. Therefore, it is crucial to educate oneself about body shaming, the various ways it can manifest, and the ways in which we can combat it by embracing our bodies. Body positivity is a movement that promotes self-love and respecting all bodies in their unaltered states. It is a powerful weapon against body shaming.
Body shaming is very subtle, and by bearing witness to it and allowing it, we may become participants in it without even realizing it. There are numerous common jokes about someone’s appearance that we may hear or utilize in our interactions. Accepting body shaming around us perpetuates the issue rather than putting a stop to it. We must all make an effort to combat body shaming, whether it be by educating those who body shame or by supporting those who are body humiliated around us. We might as well be supporting it if we do nothing but watch it happen.
Reframe negative thoughts about your body
A good place to start overcoming body shaming is to reflect on what you truly think and feel about your body, identify the negative thoughts surrounding your body image and reframe them into more positive and healthy thoughts. For instance, when you experience thoughts like “Oh my arms look fat, no one needs to look at that, I must cover them”, take a moment to pause, reflect and reframe. One alternative thought could be “My arms are part of my body, they help me keep healthy and enable me to do things. I’m proud of them” or you could try focusing on what you like about yourself. In addition, remember to be kind and compassionate towards yourself and surround yourself with supportive people.
Take control of your social media
Social media can have a significant impact on the promotion of carefully altered photos of ‘idealized’ body types, which can lead to negative body image, irrational expectations, and unfair comparisons. You can combat this by unfollowing social media accounts that make you feel self-conscious and switching them out for those that emphasize body positivity and acceptance.
Many instances of body shaming on social networking sites may also be the result of cyberbullying by unrelated individuals who have unhealthy and uninformed beauty standards. We must keep in mind that we have the power to decide how much access we want to grant to such people while sharing private information, and we do not have to submit to their unwholesome worldview.
Remember you’re not fighting body shaming alone if you find yourself struggling with unfavorable thoughts and sentiments about your body. Support and assistance are offered. You can fight body shaming by talking to a therapist about these experiences.
Source: Ghana/MaxTV/MaxFM/max.com.gh/Belinda Quansah