Growing up is hard enough without the offhanded comments about your growing and changing body. Though society is making strides in body acceptance and body positivity, children still struggle with body image issues daily thanks to these one-off remarks. Whether it’s from family members, peers, or the media, there are certain comments you hear about your body growing up that you should ignore.
When you’re young and still growing, your mind is malleable. You’re shaping your opinions about the world, the best boy band, your style, yourself. As an overweight kid, I faced my fair share of body shaming and criticism. Lucky for me, I went through my teen years armed with a quick wit and the ability to act my way out of anything. So when one of my peers dubbed me a fat clown, I shot back, “At least I’m funny.” Even though our crowd of peers deemed me the winner of the altercation, I went home feeling unworthy, sad, and ashamed of my body. I spent years feeling that way behind closed doors, grappling with what it meant to dislike the skin I was in. Over a decade later, recalling the story still makes me nauseous. I loved myself, but I didn’t love my body. As it turns out, the two are kind of mutually exclusive.
Ignoring the comments other people lay on you isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s the first step on your way to body positivity and freedom from negativity. Looking back on the things you heard about your body as a child can help you reshape your own body dialogue, and maybe help another person do the same.