Why do you hate yourself?
A lesson in self reconnaissance
I’m lazing in bed on a Saturday afternoon, as I do a mental walkover of a to-do list of articles I wanted to write. My mind is my treasury. I feel something, device an article headline, and then table it for later. You know, for “when I have the time and luxury to write long form” versus creating a repository of Twitter statuses. The irony? I can never adhere to a word limit. But I digress, as the average distracted mind does.
One of the things I’ve long wanted to expound upon is the clichéd ‘body image issues’ debate. Let’s take a step back from the “you vs. me” debate and reflect. Let’s turn an inward eye, and have a conversation with ourselves first. See the thing is, we’re so caught up trying to align ourselves with the public narrative that seems closest to our own points of view, that our opinions are often reduced to countering the anti. But do we stop to think and really understand how we see the world, what we feel about it, and most importantly, where we place our own selves on that spectrum of superficiality? What I reckon, is that we tend to met out the most extreme forms of brutality unto ourselves. And so, if you really want to gauge where you stand on this debate of assessing people for their bodies, or attacking them for their chosen states of existence, I’d say how you view yourself is a pretty good place to start, towards forming a comprehensive point of view.
I, with my own colossal body mass, have found myself on several occasions, speaking about my existing state with a feeling of disgust. Saying things like “I don’t recognize myself” or “I feel disgusting about my rolls of fat” or “I can’t bear to look in the mirror anymore.” No, I do not endorse living in an unhealthy state that significantly reduces my lifespan. But in the process of trying to be the best possible versions of ourselves, we forget that the first thing we need to get there, is a healthy state of mind. Yes the opinions of others and the portrayal of perfect human beings in mainstream media affect the way we feel about ourselves. But the question to ask is - Do you then subscribe to the same standards for those around you?Or is there a differential involved — between rules for the world, versus the rules for you?
I realized these things when I heard people say things like “you’re absolutely lovely, but when I first met you, I couldn’t imagine that anybody would see you in a sexual way” or “Being a fat person, would you choose to date a fat person?”
I realized that, just like every other person who has not lived with or in a fat or “abnormal” body, I too am influenced by the same media, the same portrayals. Being a bigger person makes me privy to the struggles of having a fat body, but from an external point of view, I too, like my several well wishing friends and family, did not see myself in the social hierarchy of date-worthy, fuckable women. Simply because I have no examples to go on. So when a boy first expressed the desire to kiss me, or hold me, or touch me… I was as surprised as the snide girls in college who wondered what a guy like him saw in a girl like me.
Departing from this point of self worth or lack thereof, I reached the next level of body image perception. That of my partner’s. Of course, I don’t filter my choices in partners by the amount of fat on their bodies. But how did I really see them? Someone pointed out how, despite being a fat girl, I had never actually dated a fat boy. Given that I so violently rejected my own state of being, wouldn’t the same rule apply to the man I date? Would it disgust me as much as I disgusted myself?
I can write a thesis, if left to my own devices. But the question my conscience begs is only this: Do you really understand your own stance on physicality, and the importance of physical attributes when it comes to another person?
And if you’re so keen to defy public perspective on the importance of supposed ideal beauty, then why do you hate yourself so much?
Bottom line: It’s good to make changes. But positive change requires a healthy mind. And negative, critical self image does not a healthy lifestyle beget.
Start with you. Know your flaws, but don’t hate on them. Otherwise you’re just an empty crusader, fighting the world on its frivolity, when really the little person inside you looks at your outsides in the exact same way.
Don’t gross yourself into adopting fitness as a way of life. Use motivation instead. Chances are you’re more beautiful than you think. ☺