What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see how beautiful you are or are those love handles too outrageous for you to focus on anything else? Ever daydreamed to switch your body with someone else’s? Why?
Body shaming has been part of our culture for decades now, yet over the time we have forgotten that beauty was never meant to be standardized. We stare at the mirror for hours with disdainful looks, angry and disappointed at the tiniest of moles, wistful that they’d go away; imagining ourselves in a false light of misguided hope. What would happen if we stopped? If just for once when we assess ourselves in the looking glass, we do so with optimism. Here’s why we should get rid of this unhealthy habit now for good:
- False Perceptions: The biggest mistake that we have become accustomed to making is comparing ourselves to the models in magazines or our celebrity crushes. Not only is this unhealthy but totally unnecessary. The magazines we look towards for inspiration slowly become a growing pit of unrealistic goals, and failure to reach those goals only brews more self-hatred. Every person has days where they are not their best-kept selves but that does not make us ugly or unlikeable, and the sooner we let go of these false perceptions the sooner we can stop underestimating our own potential.
- Lower Self-Confidence: When you hate yourself or the way your body looks, it does nothing good to your self-confidence. Self-confidence is like an accessory to our personalities and it is the only ornament we really, truly need, but doubting yourself over and over again, looking out at only the flaws in your body is a sure way to injure your self-esteem brutally. The question we must answer is whether this is truly required. Was it not better to be at peace with your own self in a world of chaos? We have so many obstacles to face in the outside world, but to be able to do that with confidence requires not just a level head but also the ability to be sure of our own image in the society, and we can only do that when we stop doubting ourselves.
- Uniqueness: Every person is different. Some have blue eyes; some have stretch marks; some are tall; some are short; some people are on the heavier side of the scale; some are lean; but everyone, every single last one of us is beautiful. It is this belief that we are different from the person sitting next to us is what makes us unique. So instead of shaming yourself or doubting yourself, what would happen if you were to repeat the mantra, “I’m unique” to yourself every single day? Would the mirror still hide the rosiness of a happy face? It’s time for us to own to our quirks and wear them out proudly because these quirks are the very essence of who we are, and when we start loving these quirks, we start to emerge as a unique person with a standing of our own in this world.
- Unhealthy Eating Habits: Body shaming by others is enough to push a healthy person off the wagon. Imagine the damage it does when a person does it to themselves. It is nothing but a breeding ground for eating disorders. So what if you’re a little overweight? Does it warrant starving yourself for days at end? Or if you’re a little lean, does it mean you must only eat proteins to gain muscle? Food is a necessity for human body, and true, “we are what we eat”, but that does not mean that we must not enjoy the meal before us and dissect its nutrients all the time. It is okay to binge once in a while and we must stop throwing ourselves under the bus every time we fail to keep up with a diet.
- Stress and Panic Situations: Looking down upon oneself does nothing but creates unnecessary stress in a person, and stress benefits no one. We are so busy looking for faults with our own bodies that we do not realize the stressful environment we unintentionally create for ourselves. How can anyone reach their full potential in such an environment? What we don’t understand is how this impacts all the other sectors of our lives as well. Good body image is a necessity not only for good mental health but to have a functional social life as well. So we should endeavor to get out of this self-created panic so that we can lead a happier, peaceful lifestyle.
- Self-Love: How can we expect someone else to love us when we can’t love ourselves? Fishing for compliments from other people might boost our self-esteem for a little while but it helps us get nowhere in the long run. We must first try to accept our own body the way it is, before trying to satisfy the expectations of someone else. Therefore, self-love is the most important key to having a healthy body image. It is only when we can start loving ourselves that we can truly be confident in who we are.
Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, so maybe it’s time to change our perspective of how our bodies should be and start loving our bodies the way they already are.