Shame on You for Shaming Me.
I woke up way too early one morning, and instead of rolling over and hoping to go back to sleep, I made the smart decision to pick up my smartphone (that must be what it’s named for) for… you know… one brief peek. Well, two minutes and three cats on the bed later, I found myself wide awake at 3:30 am.
Scrolling through the whose activities last night were more exciting than mine Facebook posts, I came across a friend’s post about how she was body-shamed on LinkedIn. My friend is a seasoned bodybuilder, and having her work anniversary pop up on LinkedIn, several people chose to congratulate her, but some others decided to shame her.
The people who shamed her went on to say how disgusting her physique was, how she looked unfeminine, drugged, etc., using any adjective they could find to completely discredit her hard work and knock her down.
I am no stranger to body-shaming. I have spent 39 years of my life being overweight, and the last 2 being fit, so I have had the pleasure of being both fit- and fat- shamed. First, let me make something very clear: there is no such thing as fit-, fat-, short-, tall-, etc. when it comes to shaming — it’s all body-shaming!
Why do I say this with such intensity? Because we live in a society where people are proud of the imperfections and flaws that they have (which they should be), but then use those same imperfections and flaws to negatively knock others down. For example: “Thigh gaps are out, thick thighs are in!”
I’m sorry, but was there a National Thigh Convention I was unaware of? Did the powers that be decide that everyone whose thighs don’t touch are somehow lesser people? Is this committee the same committee that told us Thigh gaps are in back in the 80’s and 90’s when poor Suzanne Somers had to show us religiously day after day on public TV how to correctly use the Thighmaster? Seriously, people, let’s stop the insanity!
Learning to love and accept who we are is a very tough, but unbelievably rewarding, process.
Magazines, movies, social media posts, pictures, films, etc. inundate us daily with messages telling us how we should look, act, feel, and pretty much be! Now, I’m not going to lie, when I was a young, very heavy girl, I’d play with my Barbie and pretend that someday I would look like her. I would pretend that she was the girl who was once heavy, and went through such a transformation that every boy in school fell in love with her, and every girl who bullied her envied her.
Well, fast forward to 30 years later! I have no desire to look like Barbie. I am flat-chested, broad-shouldered, and have bigger arms than most men around me. And I love it! Every bit of it! So see, even Mattel has it out for us! We need to look like Barbie in order to be pretty? No, thank you, sir! Not saying that Barbie isn’t pretty, but no one needs to look like someone else in order to feel validated. Yet we do that, don’t we?
We compare and compare until we pick ourselves apart, till the only things left are the shallow pieces of us that wonder where our hopes and dreams went.
See, it’s easy for people to be mean these days, especially with social media. We become keyboard warriors, hiding behind a computer, saying things we wouldn’t dare say in person. When we insult others because of size, race, color, heritage, education, religion, gender preference, etc., we are only showing our own intolerance towards this beautifully diverse world we are a part of. We need to be better than that.
When we don’t react and don’t add to the hate, we begin to shift the paradigm. You can’t have a one-sided argument! Not only that, but what we say, whether it’s online or in person, shows our true character.
“When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.” ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer
Here’s another fun fact for you: people who shame others are usually insecure, and are hurt themselves. That’s right! Nice people do not go out of their way to be mean to other people. This doesn’t mean nice people are kind 24/7, we are all human, but truly kind people do not make it a habit of hurting others. Unfortunately, there will always be someone with an opinion, you will never get away from that.
You have to make your opinion of yourself and your self-worth stronger than anyone else’s opinion of you.
If I can give you any one great piece of advice in this world, it’s this: opinions are like assholes — everyone has one! You will realize, however, that the only one that is of any importance to you, and your well-being, is your own!
Remember: the more loving you are to yourself, the more love you will give to others. Self-love is the most important love we can ever give. No one has the right to tell you how to look based on his or her own perceptions. We come into this world with one heart, mind, body and soul. Nurture yourself, love yourself, and quite frankly, screw what others think! There will always be someone, somewhere, with something to say.
At the end of the day, we need to be the change, the light, the positivity that shines in this world.
It all begins with you!
Jennifer L. Mezzio is a certified Yoga instructor, energy healer and life coach. In addition, she is a certified nutritionist and bodybuilder. Jennifer believes in the mind-body-spirit connection, and makes it her life’s passion to motivate and inspire others. She is currently in the process of starting a 501(c)(3), which will help raise self-esteem and self-confidence in victims of bullying. Jennifer lives by the mantra “There is no greater gift in life than giving back.” You could contact her via Balanced Wellness and Nutrition.