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This is a topic that has been difficult for me to write for the mere fact that I do it to myself. I don't know many women or men out there who don't shame their bodies from time to time. Dealing with that could be an article all on its own. With us being so hard on ourselves, what happens when someone else criticizes our appearance? This is going to be a hard truth for some people to digest, but we have all judged someone based off of their appearance. Whether it be clothes, facial features, weight, height, etc., no one is innocent. You might not say it to their face, but you have had those ugly thoughts pop up. Is that wrong?
While it might be better not speaking these truths out loud, it is still wrong. Body shaming has been around since the existence of humans (well, I'm assuming) and wreaks havoc on our mental health. If I were to walk out of my house feeling ugly and see someone staring at me, I'd definitely feel insecurity bubble up. Just because they didn't say anything does not mean I can't read a facial sign. I can't force you to change your mind. That is something that takes practice. However, we can stop this madness. Tell me something, has anyone's face, weight, or height ever affected you personally? Probably not.
Body shaming needs to end now. We were all created differently for a reason. If we all ran around looking the same and having the same thoughts, life would be not only dull, but there would never be much growth or evolution. Our differences make this world the fantastic place that it is and, instead of judging, we should embrace that quality of life. Notice how I didn't just say fat shaming? Looking down on someone doesn't begin and end with an overweight body. People are judged for how skinny they are, how big their nose is, the length of their hair, and so much more.
I have a few theories on why people judge. Mostly, it is because society taught us what beautiful looks like. Through magazines, TV shows, and celebrities, we have been force fed this ridiculous standard that is unattainable (even for the models we see). Did you know that the average weight and height for an American woman is 168.5 pounds and 5 foot 3 inches? Or did you know that over 68 percent of American women are a size 14 and above? Apparently, the average and the standard are so entirely polar opposite that it is no surprise we have a weight complex.
Instead of caring if we are happy and healthy, we worry about if we are beautiful and slim. I have a newsflash for everyone reading this: you are gorgeous just the way you are. There is no such thing as a standard for beauty because this scale was created by other humans. We let a group of people who created this ruling to tell us if we are pretty or not. We need to stop this madness. Whatever religion you do or don't believe in, why would we have a standard of beauty if we were all created differently? That doesn't even make sense.
Most of my life, I felt ugly. I thought I was overweight, too tall, and had a crooked nose that took up 90 percent of my face. Recently, I had a discussion with my mom about the mean things girls used to say to me in school. I had one girl announce to the entire elementary school that I was shaving because I had red bumps all over my skin. These bumps were from a condition I could not control. I've also had people criticize the gap in my front teeth, comment on the fat I held on my love handles, and ask me if I was ever going to get a nose job. Not only did I hate myself for all of these things, but people were bringing my insecurities out into the harsh light.
Call it jealousy or just hating themselves so much that they had to bring others down, but this isn't something that uniquely happened to me. I would go home crying to my mother, and I could see it hurt her to know that I was feeling ugly. All of the compliments I had gotten in my life seemed irrelevant when one negative comment was spoken. The sad part, I was being shamed for things that I had absolutely no control over. What was the point of making fun of me for traits I was born with? Honestly, if you feel the need to bring someone down on their looks, I feel pity for you.
It took me years to love my body and features. I see now that they make me unique, and that on its own is a beautiful thing. I also realized that those girls (or guys) who brought me down had severe issues that went beyond my insecurities. When someone makes fun of me now, I know that the hatred they have for themselves outweighs whatever they are saying to me. I know this because I have never met someone who is confident in their own skin bringing others down. It doesn't happen because they have no need to. When you love yourself, you find it pointless to comment on someone else's appearance.
What does all of this mean? In my opinion, body shaming comes from self-hatred. With the amount of bullying that does happen in this world, it is clear to me that a lot of people have severe issues that they are not dealing with. When you find love for yourself, you stop caring about tearing others down. Instead, you can hand out compliments and help push people to see the beauty they hold. Without that jealousy or insecurity holding you back, you have room to spread a positive message.
Next time you feel yourself thinking poorly of another person because of what they look like, take a good look at why you are about to judge them. Ask yourself, why does their appearance affect me? We all know the saying, “Treat others the way you would want to be treated.” I believe that we should also treat ourselves the way we would want to be treated. When you learn to love yourself, all that negativity you hold will disappear. You might not even realize how horrible you were treating others until you start to see yourself in a different light.
At the end of the day, body shaming is a pointless waste of time. We were all made differently, have different ailments, and have our own thoughts and opinions. The amount of time it takes to judge the millions of differences we all have could be used to build yourself up, conquer your dreams, or anything you set your heart on. Don't let your self-loathing bring others down. Just because misery loves company doesn't mean we have to spread that message. Want to change the world and how we view others? It merely takes changing yourself.
Remember, you are all beautifully made. I don't care how much the scale says, what symmetry you have, or the length of your hair. You are amazing just the way you are.