My Body Shaming Confession
I confess that in the depths of my mind I am a body shamer. Since I can remember I have judged and criticized people for how they look. But now I have seen people in your eyes, and you have revealed a beauty that has no comparison.
I can no longer keep my secret in the dark. I need to shine the light to reveal the shame so that it will end its life before it takes mine.
What started as an innocent observation or shall we say “people watching” slowly grew to destructive behavior in my life. That hurt innocent people, and it just ended up consuming my every thought.
People Watching to Body Shamer
People watching is described as “Owing to this subtle methodological change, the brain’s capacity to understand other people’s interactions and relationships from limited visual information––also known as people watching”(Quadflieg and Koldewyn 166). As a psychology major, it makes sense why I love to people watch. I find it fascinating the way the human mind thinks and moves about the world.
People watching can lead to criticism and judgment of other people it could turn your heart into a place full of hate for others. Body shaming or any other form of judgment and criticism is so widespread in our country today thanks in part to social media that it is the norm. In fact, in a study, one of the first obstacles they had to overcome is judgment, “develop a taxonomy of judgments that people habitually make when witnessing the encounters of others.”(Quadflieg and Koldewyn 166). But that is not what God indented for us, in Mathew 7:1, Jesus tells us:“Do Not judge, or you too will be judged.”
I love to people watch, but what started off as an innocent observation of others it slowly leads to becoming a full-blown body shamer. That was me, a walking, talking, thinking body shamer, that obsessively compared my body with other women’s. All the while rejoicing inside when I falsely convinced myself that I had the better shape. It gave me a sense of worth and superiority.
Body Shaming Addiction
The older I got, the worse it had become, body shaming was downright an addiction. After having three children, I was working out and had reached my goal weight and beyond. But that just fueled my obsession. I compared, even more, feeling righteous in my mind because I worked hard for an Instagram worthy body. While everyone else walked around making excuses for the way they looked.
My realization of Body shaming came one-afternoon watching reality television. A verse popped into my mind as I was thinking a critical thought about the individual on the screen. It was Genesis 1:27 “God created man in his image, in the image of God he created him.”
Just like that, I was brought down to my knees in shame and repentance. Can you imagine calling God fat, ugly, dirty, nasty, etc.? I not only believed it, but I had also done just that over and over. I will never forget that feeling that afternoon, on my knees, as It dawned on me what I had done. It was heartbreaking!
Even when the body shaming is done behind closed doors, or in my case always in my mind, it can still hurt not only someone else but your self. Body shaming is not a victimless sin those that I shamed are not exempt from pain just because it is not verbalized.
As for the person doing the shaming, me, it makes us wicked inside. God does not like evil! In Mathew 7:2 are consequences for judging are spelled out
“For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Yes, that’s right we (the shamers) shall be judged, for all judging, criticizing and body shaming. In the same way and measure as we have done upon other out loud or in silence.
Mostly that is the root of the vine that takes hold of us, our judgment. In the scripture, we falsely believe that the judging will only be in heaven by God. What I failed to realize is that the judgment is here on earth in my own body. The ugly is now covering me like vines clinging to a tree and slowly suffocating me. When I look in the mirror, I recognize that all that body shaming is a reflection of how I feel about me. That I am still a body shamer, I shame my self every day.
Cutting the Vine
I have to stop body shaming! Lord, but I need You to show me how to love myself as you love me. In Psalm 139:14 it says
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;…”
God, you don’t lie, so I know what is written is true! Help me stop the lies of the Devil that have consumed me all these years. Prune me like a flower cutting away the vine of judgment and shaming that strangle me.
Lord, I ask that you keep revealing to me the beauty of others so that I may only see them as you do. I pray that you strip away from me the negative self-talk that holds me captive to the lies of the Devil. For I know now that I was made to Love You above all so that I love all people who are made in your image.
Finally, my Lord, I ask for forgiveness. I know that it has already been given to me because of your grace. But I ask for forgiveness from all those people silently body shamed. I humble my self before them, admitting that I am a body shamer and that my actions have consequences. Most of all I ask You to help me forgive my self so I can completely Free.
To all the humans of the world, before I met Christ I lived a life that was even more shameful than just passing out judgment. But thanks to God sacrifice on the cross I can now live free from the chains of sin. I am not perfect, and I’ll never be perfect.
The difference is that all those acts of the flesh that I have kept in my mind and my soul can be exposed without fear. I want you all to know that if you see yourself in this post, that it’s ok, you are not perfect. But now that you know to seek the one that is perfect so that you can start shining a light into your life and indeed live free.
How about You:
- Do you struggle with Judgment?
- What would you like me to know about Body Shaming?
- Leave me a comment or find me on Facebook and tell me what you think.
Quadflieg, Susanne, and Kami Koldewyn. “The neuroscience of people watching: how the human brain makes sense of other people’s encounters.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 1396, no. 1, 2017, pp. 166-182.