Breaking the Body Shaming cycle

At a certain juncture in everyone's life, the harmful comparison monster surfaces as individuals assess their surroundings.

Questions like, "Am I too heavy for this?" or "Do they notice my muffin top?" begin to haunt the mind, creating an unending cycle of self-doubt. Worries about body proportions, from the size of one's feet to the height of a potential partner, contribute to this persistent sense of insecurity. The media plays a crucial role in persuading us that unless we adhere to specific standards of shape, size, color, or weight, we fall short compared to others.

From childhood to the present day, attending a family function without my mother commenting on weight—mine, the kids', or hers—feels nearly impossible.

It prompts me to question whether such concerns truly matter at her age, nearing 70. Personally, I strive to prioritize health over skinniness as I age, challenging the deep-rooted impact of media norms.

The awareness that beauty standards can shape our self-perception becomes even more poignant when instilled by influential women, often our mothers. The struggle to conform to these ideals becomes a recurring narrative passed down through generations. Reflecting on the substantial time and emotional energy wasted on disliking my own body is disheartening. The thought of my child potentially enduring the same struggle evokes an ache, emphasizing the profound impact of societal expectations.

To prevent passing down body shaming to my children, I've implemented daily practices to enhance my self-esteem. It begins with the way I talk about myself. I avoid using definitive language and refrain from judgment, punishment, or guilt about myself. I exercise for health, not solely for weight loss, and when my clothes don't fit, I adapt, understanding that each day changes my body and perspective. Its not easy but I keep trying.

Body shaming often starts internally but must be consciously countered externally, especially for our children. It's crucial not to talk about and judge others, as these habits can be passed down to the next generation. When I notice something positive about a person, I express it genuinely. I recognize that I have no insight into another person's experiences, and passing judgment based on appearance is a disservice to them and to me—an act fueled by my own ego.

Admittedly, breaking away from the ingrained acceptance of body shaming, prevalent in past generations, is no easy task. Managing the comments of others requires digging deeper and asking questions to encourage empathy and understanding. Discouraging mean comments while emphasizing the uniqueness of every individual challenges the societal norms perpetuated by the media. Honoring aging, appreciating wrinkles as symbols of wisdom, and embracing personal comfort at the beach are essential practices. Contrary to media portrayals, one doesn't need to conform to unrealistic standards to be attractive.

Putting these principles into practice is challenging, especially when confronted with feelings of inadequacy. However, the key is to keep trying and challenging those negative thoughts. Recognize that judgment is a reflection of how one sees oneself.

Starting with kindness towards oneself initiates positive changes, dissipating body shaming and breaking the cycle for generations to come.