When I was in primary school there was a poster in my class- “With a happy mind comes a happy life” and today it makes so much sense to me. When I was younger, I would stand in the front of the mirror, staring at how amazing I thought I looked. Unbothered by what anyone said. All of us were like that, weren’t we? So why did it suddenly become not okay to love ourselves the way we look?
According to a survey, 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape.
I always had an interest in co-curricular activities but never took part in any. Always concerned about how I looked, whether or not I was socially acceptable. We are in a generation where “how to get thin” videos get more hits than “how to stay healthy”. The problem was never our body but the negative ‘body image’ and the way women’s bodies are objectified in the media. Teens usually define their self-worth by their appearance. People today aren’t only suffering because of the unattainable ways by which beauty is defined but because THEY are being defined by beauty. So rather than working to make sure more women’s bodies are viewed as valuable, we are focused on making sure women are valued as more than bodies to view. According to Calogero, self-objectification explains the psychological process by which women internalize people’s objectification of their bodies, resulting in them constantly criticizing their own bodies.
In school, I was addressed as ugly. Being surrounded by a bunch of judgmental people, I started looking at myself how they told me to. In this image-obsessed culture, I was convinced that I wasn’t ‘good enough’ and by good enough I mean “thin enough”.
In college, I took part in a cultural fest where I met a girl in my department and as we walked she told me “I’ll be late for my dance class today”. Not that I had anything to do with her dancing but the fact that she was so excited to dance even though she was a lot chubbier than I left me thinking. She continued telling me that she was looking forward to all her performances. Performing in front of a live audience has always topped my bucket list for as long as I remember but never took any initiative because of my negative body image.
But did I overcome it? Yes, I did. I write this because I understand how it feels to be insecure about the way you look and how it feels. So back to when I met that girl, I spent the rest of the day thinking “why can’t I do it if she can”. It was then when I realized that she was so much happier than I was because she didn’t care about how she ‘looked’ while performing, the only thing that mattered to her was her PERFORMANCE. That’s when I thought about how my body image had robbed all the opportunities I had during school. Initially, when we started with the fest preparations I knew I had to stand out and showcase my talent. However it wasn’t as smooth and easy as it looked, there were times when I had to speak in front of 300 people with my voice hardly being audible to people which drained my self-confidence at times but there were also highs. I had promised to work hard. All my heads always praised my work and it made my heart so full that there was no room for “how I looked”.
I used to practice these little things like, I kept appreciating myself every time I got to. Even if it was as small as “I feel cute today”. You shouldn’t have to ‘believe’ that you are beautiful but you should ‘KNOW’ that you are. My goal is to be my younger self again, being able to admire my body regardless of its shape or size. That’s the kind of love our body deserves.
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