Just recently I found myself in a draining situation where I faced a body-shaming comment. Intended or not intended, it occurred. I must say I approached the situation very defensive. This was not exactly at how the comment may have been intended but at the fact that, bottom line, the individual that made that comment did not even consider the possibility of me having an extensive background with insecurities with my body.
Truth is, most likely, we may not always be aware of an individual’s story before commenting or, in this case, criticizing someone based on their appearance and/or other factors. Yet, that is exactly why we should think before we speak, specially when it comes to expressing your thoughts about someone. If there is something that I have learned about the meaning of words in my journalism class is that words hold power, great power. My professor has mentioned several times that your words can either make a person or break him/her.
Although I believed that to be true, since I strongly believe words can have an impact on a person, which is one of the primary reasons of why I love writing, as I mentioned it on my post Why do I Write? Why do You Write?.
In some way, the comment that stroked me was about the complexion of my body. In other words, this individual claimed that I was “chubbier” or “fatter” than someone else in my family to which, like I mentioned, I acted very defensive and confronted the person that said that to me.
Right after this took place, I took a time out to evaluate the whole situation and to what extent this could potentially have on me. In the past, comments as such were able to break the younger version of me that thought skinny was beautiful. And there it was, the comment had taken a toll on me. However, instead of feeling defeated, there was a different emotion, annoyance. I was annoyed at the fact that someone not close to me that did not have a clue of the person I am or knew even the tip of what I have been through could made such an unsolicited comment and try to wiggle out of the confrontation by chuckling.
In reality, what frighten me about the situation was how it could all affect my mentality and the perception of my body. There, I realized this person’s words had not interfered with the bridge of confidence I continue to build. Once I had absorbed the whole situation, I found myself satisfied with my body image. On that moment, I knew that the unsolicited comment was not going to influence on what I was going to eat, what my exercise regime was going to be like, or push me towards a unhealthy decisions in order to loose weight. Being compared and being told that I was bigger than someone would have destroyed me a few years ago, and now, although I cannot state that I am immune to those comments, I can say I’ve learned to overcome criticism and stop it rather than questioning who I am becoming.
As I previously mentioned, your words can have a huge impact on someone, therefore, not all, specially criticisms should not be made casually. Just because a person is outspoken or very honest it does not mean that their words will always be taken lightly by everyone. It is merely impossible to know the story of every single person or what they might have dealt with or what they may be going through, which is why we need to be careful with how we express about others.
I would like to know what is your opinion on this subject. Do you think we should choose carefully our words when we speak to or about someone as it could potentially have and impact on them? Do you believe that “censoring” what you say in a way is a violation of speaking your mind freely?