No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
― Eleanor Roosevelt
This is Weight Stigma Awareness Week. Many people have been bullied or ridiculed, either as children or as adults, because of their weight. This can have a severe impact on self-esteem, and often leads to isolation, depression, and overeating. Often, we internalize critical voices and comments that we’ve received over the years. The bully may be physically long gone, but unfortunately lives on in our heads.
I’ve received several sad phone calls from women who have refused to leave their homes because they’re terrified about others seeing how much weight they’ve gained. They’re afraid of what they may think or say to them. But hiding out and eating more makes the problem worse.
Weight stigma is a reality, yet the worst weight stigma exists in our own mind – how we stigmatize and bully ourselves because of our weight. We often project our own self-hatred onto others and believe they think as badly about us as we do about ourselves.
Many of us think that getting thin or beautiful will lead us to the Promised Land, where everyone will finally like and accept us. Well, I’ve got news for you. People will judge and/or bully you whether you’re overweight or thin, frumpy or attractive. No one is spared from judgment or bullies.
Just last week, I received a hate letter from an online bully telling me that I knew nothing and that it was obvious everything I had ever received in life was due to my good looks. Hmmm! Tell that to my clients and success stories, or people who have benefited from my writings. My looks certainly haven’t helped them any.
I wrote him back and told him I was tremendously flattered he found me so good looking that he thought people were handing me things on a silver platter. LOL! As a 57 year old woman (58 in January), this really tickles me!
My younger self would have taken this sort of thing personally, but at this age, I know what people do is a reflection of them, not of me. He must feel extremely weak and powerless as a person, and this sad behavior is his way of feeling powerful.
People who feel good about themselves don’t have a need to put down or bully others. Try to remember that next time you’re on the receiving end of a bullying remark or action.
Work on gaining your own approval and watch your concern about others’ approval and opinions fade away. Your opinion of yourself is what ultimately matters. What other people think of you is really none of your business.
So how about you?
Have you been bullied because of your weight? How have you coped with it?
Are you your own worst bully?
Let me know your experience in the blog comments.