CW: This article discusses topics of body image, weight and eating disorders which could be distressing to some readers.
From an early age, I viewed beauty and others' validation through the way my body looked and was perceived. I cannot pinpoint where it stemmed from or why I started to lose control of my own body. I believe it is a universal pain that each individual experiences in their lifetime. We have been programmed to view self-worth through diet culture, supermodels, and the ‘perfect body type’, all of which are impossible to achieve.
Not being comfortable with your own body is a different type of suffering, it stops you from enjoying life and loving others. From experience, the feelings is like you are in a dark room surrounded by all of your insecurities while everyone else is across the hall living a carefree life. Isolation and discomfort; a place I wouldn’t want any human being to enter.
Your Place In The World
While the opinion I have of myself has massively improved, it is still difficult to ignore the voices in my head questioning whether I am doing enough, or if I am simply enough. The meaning of life; the question that no one has the answer to. I believe our meaning on this planet is to live and just by being born you have multitudes of reasons to live. There is already a place for yourself in this world. You do not have to earn a spot, just be present.
Productivity plays a part in how we view ourselves; it does not come solely from how we view our physical appearance. On days when I am just in my pyjamas, working from my laptop, and eating everything in the fridge due to boredom; I do not feel good about myself. Our body and brain are connected, they fuel each other. Both need to be looked after for them to work in harmony. I am guilty of prioritising daily tasks above my own well-being. Life gets on top of you, and we end up pushing ourselves to the back without a second thought yet when it is a close family member or friend we immediately want to help. You are your own place in this world, and you need to be here for yourself. Being selfish for the greater good of you and your health is the good kind of selfish.
“Body dysmorphia is a mental disorder characterised by the obsession over one’s own body. The person feels that their appearance is greatly flawed.” (Men’s variety, 2019)
It is an out-of-body experience, not the good kind. In a lot of cases, someone who struggles with body dysmorphia also is diagnosed with one, if not multiple, eating disorders. There is a link that connects the two through people who are overly concerned with their size, weight, and appearance. Without treatment, it often starts with body dysmorphia and increases to eating disorders such as anorexia, binge eating, or bulimia.
Topics regarding any mental disorders are hard for people to understand and process if they have not personally experienced them. Almost like a roller-coaster ride; when you look at it, it looks scary, but you don’t know to what extent it is scary until you have experienced the ride. Only after will you truly understand as before you could only relate from a bystander's perspective. You can listen and be there as a shoulder to vent to, just by doing that you are making an individual feel heard. If you or anyone you may know is going through anything discussed in this article, help can be found at Rehabs.uk or call 08455 240228.
A Body by Phoebe Stephenson
One second all is care, the next all is havoc,
Days bleed into one, same thoughts of disgust,
Why me? we ask,
Why a body like this? we cry,
An empty figure with no life inside,
No one home yet still bright outside,
Why a body at all?
Why a body that doesn't appear a body to me?
Unrealistic Beauty Standards
Social media has damaged younger generations' outlook on life but also of themselves. Instagram and Snapchat are well-known social media apps that allow consumers to show their ‘unfiltered lives’ to friends, family, and strangers. What was once a platform for children/teens is now a space filled with hate, negativity, and no real protective guidelines. The 2020 Netflix film ‘The social dilemma’ explores the dangers of social networking through its own creators. It includes interviews with people who invented Facebook, sharing their concerns about the rapid pace social media has taken over our lives and the way we now live.
Social media has stopped the art of growing old gracefully, we now view life through filters and Instagram posts. Social media only gives a glimpse into the best bits of someone’s life, it is not real and should not determine the way you view yourself. It is easy to empower others and view all bodies as beautiful while I do not treat my body with the same love and care. It is true when they say that a body is a home that needs as much care as the place you live. Take care of yourself and remember to live for the real world.