Combating the Implications of Body Shaming on Mental Well-Being
- January 9, 2024
- Community and Support
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Do you ever catch yourself dealing with body-shaming thoughts? Let’s see what exactly body shaming is – an opposing force that can seriously affect our lives and mental well-being. This harmful mindset can cast a dark cloud over our daily experiences, impacting our self-esteem and self-love.
But worry not! Mental Map Guide will guide you through the most fantastic solutions to tackle body shaming and build a positive relationship with your body. Curious to reclaim your narrative? Keep reading for actionable steps and insights that lead to a more body-positive you.
Table of Contents
What is body shaming? It is a beauty standard of each era and individual’s perspective. More precisely, It’s when you or someone else brings an adverse judgment or criticism of the person’s physical appearance.
That happens everywhere, in people’s everyday communication!
But the thing is, if you have a strong mindset, healthy self-esteem, and positive thinking, body-shaming is not a big deal. On the contrary, if you’re a self-abandonment and don’t even have boundaries, body-shaming might harm your mental well-being and destroy your life.
And even more, body-shaming is a reason that often makes you feel like you need to change the way you look by trying to be slimmer, smaller, or tanner. If you don’t do that, there’s a fear of becoming the target of body-shaming comments from others.
Criticising your own appearance, like judging or comparing yourself to others (ex, “I’m too fat to wear a dress; I’m too ugly because of the freckles on my face”).
Criticising others’ appearance (e.g., “Your makeup is so bad”).
Criticising others’ appearance without their knowledge (like commenting on their fashion style or comparing them to someone else).
No matter which way it happens,body-shaming is a lousy action to only look at other people’s appearance to evaluate them. Today, you can easily see it in your parents, siblings, friends, or even people you’re not close to face-to-face or through social media.
Simply put, body shaming is when people say mean words about how someone looks, whether it’s about their size, weight, or shape. Nobody is immune to societal pressures about appearance, and comments about your body are unnecessary in any context.
Even if these mean things come from yourself or others, many great ways exist to overcome the problem, promote body positivity, and see yourself more compassionately and realistically.
Ever wonder why body shaming happens? Well, our “selfie” culture plays a significant role. Whenever you read magazines and ads or watch TV shows, you tend to envy the appearance of glamorous celebrities. Social media also have a spotlight on looks, giving people a chance to post hurtful comments about others.
The message is clear: aim for that perfect body and hide your flaws. This constant exposure can really mess with your body image. Scrolling through TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram, you might feel envious or hyper-focused on your appearance and any so-called imperfections. Trying to meet these standards can lead to negative thoughts and judgments about yourself, which isn’t cool.
Online body shaming ties into cyberbullying, but you don’t have to let it ruin your vibe. Getting fixated on how you look can set up downright impossible expectations. Even if you know those perfect images are digitally altered, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself – or others – unfavourably. It’s time to break free from that cycle.
Body shaming can be really tough. It makes you doubt your self-worth and can lead to serious mental health problems like:
- Low self-esteem
- Self-harm behaviours
- Body dysmorphia
- Higher risk of suicide
- Increased rates of depression and anxiety
- Overwhelming shame that affects your everyday activities
- Eating disorders
Body shaming is one of the reasons why your mental well-being goes down. If body-shaming comes from thoughts, then it turns into words, and you know, “words are a double-edged sword.” A sentence can save someone’s life but can also take their life. So, when evaluating or criticising goes beyond just words – it can profoundly impact your mental health. Here’s why body-shaming hurts your mental well-being:
You can doubt your worth if you’re in a space where everyone constantly scrutinises your body. After receiving negative comments or comparisons, you will feel low self-esteem and think you don’t measure up to specific standards.
If you do not love your body in the right way, it can make you go for unhealthy eating habits or even disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating.
For example, if you want a sexy body, you allow yourself to use a harmful diet like skipping meals, fasting, vomiting after eating, or you use unhealthy medicine and exercise too much.
All these things are the reason you deprive your body and brain of the crucial nutrients they need for good health.
Body shaming can make you feel self-conscious and interfere with your self-image. You look at your body and think about your shape, pick at your skin, and ask others if you look okay. It’s like you are always ashamed of your body, and that can be a limitation to you in communication and social activities.
This problem often appears in young people, who tend to prioritise beauty from many angles. For example, if you feel self-conscious about your best friend’s appearance, you will often stay alone and avoid gathering or appearing in public places, social networks, or anywhere you feel the presence of your body.
In the long run, it will cause anxiety or depression, depending on the level and even destroy your self-esteem.
When you hear too many comments from others, you gradually feel guilty and become shy. Instead of eating what you like and wearing what you want, you will change yourself to meet other people’s standards. You want to receive their compliments recognition, and please them. Think again: when you see them happy, are you really happy too? Or are you gradually losing yourself?
Dealing with body shaming starts with recognising when it’s happening. Have you ever scrutinised yourself in the mirror, felt insecure about your clothes, heard someone express a preference for specific physical traits, or made jokes about someone’s appearance? These are all instances of body shaming, often so ingrained that we don’t even notice them.
Here are four key points to consider when addressing body shaming:
Yes, there’s no perfect body. Don’t care if others comment on unrealistic expectations. Love yourself and your body entirely. You just need to respect your body and know that your appearance does not determine your value.
Use social media wisely, and fill yourself with body-positive content on social media. Following people on social media who give you energy to boost your self-confidence. Participate in spreading body-positive messages and share positive thoughts to support other people.
Everyone’s body works differently, so how do you know which eating tips work well for you? Instead of relying on their diet, you should consult a nutritionist and choose the most suitable diet for yourself. You can both eat deliciously and balance your dream body.
If you have sadness or anxiety, don’t try to hide it; share it with someone you trust. It could be a close friend or family member who understands you, listens to you, and keeps your secret deep down. A comfortable conversation will soothe your soul, and relax your mind, and you can even receive helpful advice to help you solve your current problem.
There’s nothing wrong with you. Everyone is a shining star, and your beauty is unique. Someone’s value isn’t just about their looks but also dignity, knowledge, and vision.
So, I hope you have a strong heart, love yourself, and always continuously absorb knowledge to develop yourself. If you are having difficulty with your mental or emotional health, remember to visit Mental Map Guide’s blog to find the right solution for yourself.