What Fuels Body Dsymorphia
What makes someone look in the mirror differently
In third grade, much like my mother, or other women in my family, I grew a butt. At eight years old I had curves and had to jump into my pants while skirts were out of the question. One of my more vivid memories from my awfully white elementary school was being in a line, and being picked out by a girl with the "normal," kid body type. According to this girl my butt was too big, and I needed to do more squats. Without any knowledge of the effect that squats have on your glutes, I sat out doing squats for as long as my young body could manage. The wooden floors in my room creaked as I went up and down, not seeing any change in my curves that kept on increasing. This memory that is sempiternal in my brain wasn't the start of a successful fitness journey, but the beginning of my mild battle with Body Dysmorphia.
Body Dysmorphia; a mental disorder in which you don't stop thinking about one or more flaws in your appearance. Symptoms of this disorder are frequently looking in the mirror, comparing one's self to others, and avoiding socializing. While body dysmorphia may be not be as prevalent as other mental disorders, it still is consuming, and while my experience with the disorder was mild I still want to shed a light on it. Body Dysmorphia may be an extreme bold label that emphasizes being insecure, so it may be hard to see behind someone's plastered smile and know their feelings. Without knowing what a person is going through, we may say things and not even know we're contributing to a person's mental health. When I was going through my mild period of hating my body, there were many things that fueled my hatred. These things were statements from other people, and regular things that are pretty minimal, but in the end could be avoided.
So what statements can make someone look at themselves differently? Well let's start with the obvious insults about one's appearance that are for real or just jokes. Even with a fake smile on their face, those jokes could hurt. Even the jokes that are meant to be helpful, like the casual oh I love you are you gaining weight. Luckily for me I didn't get these types of remarks, and what made me more insecure was others' self deprecation. The self deprecation us girls are used to doing. Aww I'm so ugly/ No you're not Sally. Hearing these things from girls I wanted to look like made me feel worse, and I ended up taking those same comments and applying them to myself. Repeating the comments to myself while also looking up ways to lose weight.
The most prominent things that I noticed kept myself from loving myself were the things on social media. The youtube videos of girls and their workout routines, and what I eat in a days all made me feel a little heavier after. Till this day I can't watch these videos without feeling bad about my diet or workout routines. In general, seeing others being healthy, skinny, and happy made me feel terrible, and fueled what a therapist would call body dysmorphia.
In the end through social media or in person we should all be conscious about what we say to people. Everyone has more fragile layers to them, some more visible than others, and some thing we want to say should remain just simple thoughts. Nobody is really ok, no matter how thin their thighs are, or how big their smile is.