“We are our own worst critic.” Is a common phrase. We often use it in cases whereby we are being too harsh on ourselves. Although it is quite natural to strive towards being better, stronger and healthier, it is detrimental for us to be judgemental. Many of us may identify with the habit of judging others or comparing ourselves to others.
Questions such as: “Why is that person wearing that outfit? or “I am so ugly compared to him”, “I gained so much weight that I can’t even see my toe.”, “I’m too skinny or too short”, “I wish I had a different skin colour” and unfortunately the self-defeating list is endless. These commonly used phrases, which we may have used personally, are sad examples of body shaming. But this leads us to question the origin of such judgemental negative conditioning about our bodies.
On contemplation we may well realise that it’s all around us, portrayed by the media, friends, family, workplaces, schools, college and nowadays social media too, never fails to remind us of bigger and better ways to exist. Body shaming is known as the action or practice of expressing humiliation about an individual’s body shape or size. It’s a form of bullying which can result in severe emotional and psychological trauma, especially as from a young age.
You may be wondering what body shaming actually constitutes of
1. Self-doubt about one’s weight, fitness and body shape.
2. Comparison and negative judgment about the appearance of others
3. Critical about someone else’s physical appearance.
4. Bullying and making fun of someone, especially about their body.
5. Criticism about someone else’s diet or nutrition.
There may be many more examples but these alone are enough to make us think about it and realising how it can affect us and those around us. Some of us may even check our weight daily and not hesitate to make statements such as “Oh… I am so fat!” or “I am so unhealthy”. Often knowingly or unknowingly we compare ourselves to the perfect shape of celebrities portrayed by the media. They are often referred to as the PERFECT body and in no time, we find ourselves trapped in the misery off guilt, further leading to depressing thoughts and emotional trauma. Without realising the consequences, we have made it our second nature to make fun of our close friends and family members, pointing out flaws with regards to their looks and physical appearance. But the impact can be profound, and not in a positive way.
Research states that children who play with Barbie idolised her and thrived to look like their favourite doll. The reason being that agencies created the Barbie as a symbol of feminine beauty and cuteness. Recently, Japan researchers found that unrealistic expectations related to body perfection are the cause of depression, which further leads to unwanted circumstances. Roughly around 90% of the world population have some form of body shaming tendency, which naturally lead to anger, hatred, jealousy and guilt.
Self-doubt commonly arised through the use of social media whereby we experience a roller-coaster of emotions in the span of a few minutes. This gigantic industry has given us an untrue and unrealistic image of the perfect body. These platforms have redefined beautiful to equate it to slim, well-endowed or well-built with biceps. But truly, beauty has little to do with physical appearance. Beautiful means being different, happy, confident and with a pure heart and contented soul.
It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t thrive to be healthy. Or that we should just eat drink and be merry (well, that may be philosophy of Charvaka)
We can improve and help others improve too without body shaming them, as follows:
✓We can still give suggestions, if asked.
✓If we want to advise someone, Swamiji already shared beautiful insight on positive Criticism.
✓It may help to distance ourselves, if we feel that some conversations are detrimental to our wellbeing.
✓Recognising when to speak up.
✓ Exercising regularly and eating mindfully.
✓Setting small goals and not giving up.
✓ Knowing our body, our limits and being the best version of ourselves
You are not mistake. you are not problem to be solved. But you won’t discover this untill you are willing to stop banging your head against the wall of shaming and fearing yourself. says, -Ganeeth Roth
Our body is our temple and we ought to love our body with a sense of detachment whilst appreciating it. We can go beyond self-doubt by trying our best and taming our minds with gratitude, positivity and contemplation. Swamiji always says that the same Divine dwells in all, so we are already beautiful. Let’s make our beautiful shrine, shine and enjoy the lovely sight in the mirror every morning.
“And I said to my body softly, I wanted to be your friend. it took a long breath and replied, I have been waiting my whole life for this”
All Glories to our Beloved Swamiji and Mother Divine.
Thank you for your love and encouragement on my previous post. Thank you to Swamiji’s Little Minion for Editing.
I would love to know your thoughts.
picture credit Huffpost.