Sunday, 10 February 2019

Let’s Talk

I know what you’re thinking. Bloody hell Elle please not another emotional blog post about love and heartbreak. I hear ya. Today, I want to talk about body dysmorphia and behavioural problems in relations to food. Woah. Deep. I know. You ready? Let’s begin... 

Body dysmorphia, for those of you that don’t know, in the simplest of terms, is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about their flaws in their appearance. I truly believe within my generation there is a much higher percentage of people, both men and women, who have body dysmorphia compared to older generations. Body shaming has something that has always been around, there has always been ideal of what and whom to look like but in most recent years, it has most certainly become worse. For example, next time you pop into Tesco, Sainsbury’s, M&S, wherever it is you may shop, take a look at the magazines and newspapers. You’d be surprised at how many are plastered with images on the front pages of women who are being body shamed, the latest fad diet which FYI does not bloody work and is not scientifically backed up in any way shape or form and nine times out of ten there will be some new “super food” you absolutely must have in your diet and a staple food that you should never consume again for as long as you all shall live. Sigh. And don’t even get me started on social media and the rise of ‘fitness influencers’ on Instagram. We’ll save that chat for another time. 

Back to body dysmorphia. So yes, I do believe thanks to the way in which we are fed news, images, supposed facts and figures and the social media life we all live in, our generation is a bundle of anxiety ridden, depressed young adults with huge body issues. Now, I’m certainly not tarnishing everyone with the same brush here. Everyone is different. However, how many of you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see? Is that due to what you really feel or the way in which society has made you feel? How many of you scroll through Instagram and compare yourself to anyone and everyone who pops up on your screen? I, for one, am so guilty of all of the above. I’m no stranger to eating disorders and body dysmorphia but something I have noticed lately is the way in which we respond to others who express this feeling of dissatisfaction with the way they look. The first thing I think we need to make clear here is that the most confident, outgoing people you know can be, and more often than not, are the ones who suffer the most. It’s insecurities masked by unreal confidence and a lust for life. Don’t be fooled. You can have body dysmorphia and still send your boyfriend/girlfriend nudes. You can have body dysmorphia and still wear revealing clothing. You can have body dysmorphia and still upload selfies upon selfies and a crazy amount of gym pictures. You get the gist. 

I know I definitely fit under all of those categories. I always laugh when my best friend tells me she loves how confident I am when in actual fact it’s fake confidence. It’s the fake it til you make it kind or I would literally not function day to day with the crippling insecurities I suffer from. I come across as confident, I send nudes to someone I’m in a relationship with, I buy sexy lingerie and strut around the bedroom like I’m BeyoncĂ©, I post probably one too many selfies and wear short shorts and a sports bra to the gym. I like to create an illusion that I’m this crazy confident gal who thinks she’s the shit (in the nice non arrogant way ... *tumbleweed*). When in all honestly, I’m so insecure. I’d be here all day if I listed all my insecurities and things I would change about myself and sadly, I know I’m not the only one. And one thing I’ve noticed what people say to me and admittedly, I’ve probably done in the past, is sit there and say “but you’re so pretty”, “but look at you”, “oh shut up you’re perfect” ... you get the idea. We think we’re helping. We think we’re giving compliments and making the situation better when in actual fact, we’re making it worse. If someone expresses a negative way in which they feel about their body, do not dismiss it. It may seem like a passing comment but it could be a cry for help. I have used this method before to try and get advice off someone because I’ve needed help. Just by changing our communication and ensuring that we are actually listening to the words that are being spoken, we could make a huge difference to someone else and give them the help and support they need. 

What I’d like people to take from this is that people from all walks of life, no matter what they might look like to you, no matter how confident they seem, could be masking the truth to how they really feel. So be kind. In a world in which everyone seems to gun for one another and tear each other down, be the one to lift others up. Give someone a meaningful compliment. Ask your friends and loved ones how they’re doing, if they’re okay and really listen to the answer and give a lending ear if necessary. You have no idea what a genuine compliment could do for someone. Please don’t get this confused with being a sleaze or crossing lines but tell someone something you like about them. It doesn’t have to be physical. It could be something that may seem so insignificant but it just might make someone’s day. I’d like to think I’m good at giving genuine compliments but I also wish I’d voiced them more. When I’ve looked into the eyes of the guy I fancy and thought fuck those are some dreamy ass eyes I could look at fo’evaaa, when I’ve seen a stranger and adored her coat but didn’t tell her, when a family member made more effort to look nice and I didn’t tell them how good they looked. It’s nice to be nice. Kindness over everything, every day. I would love to discuss this topic in much more detail but for now, take away this small nugget of information and remember that you never know what someone else is going through. 

Until next time...

Elle x

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