Updated: Aug 21, 2018
Since seeking help, I have noticed how messed up society’s view of the female body really is and how many disturbing comments are made on a daily basis. It reminded me of a couple of instances where I was going through a really hard time, but people’s words reinforced my harmful behavior.
One of these was when I was a sophomore in high school. My continuous stress caused me to get sick every time I ate, but I convinced myself it was when I ate dairy, gluten, sugar, meat, or processed foods. Up to this point, I had done a lot of research and concluded that all that food was “poison” for my body. Because of this, I was hardly eating, which caused extreme fatigue, depression, and terrible migraines. I had to quit running track because of my lack of energy and motivation. Every day I would come home after school and lay in bed because I felt so physically, mentally, and emotionally drained. I WAS MISERABLE. But you know what? I was losing weight, and people pointed it out. People would tell me, “Wow, you look good.” I remember screaming inside saying, “I LOOK GOOD? I AM DEPRESSED AND STARVED!” But the eating disorder inside me was fed by every comment. This made me grateful for my illness. Up until my mission, I had myself convinced that all those foods were bad for me.
I went on my mission and realized I did not have as much control over my food, which stressed me out (thus causing me to purge in order to regain control). I trained myself to not feel hunger. I slowly continued to eat less and less food until during the last few months of my mission I was hardly eating. Once again, I lost energy, my brain was foggy, I could not think, and I was exhausted. People pointed out how “good” I looked (as I am basically falling off my bicycle because I have no energy), and it made me afraid to ever eat a normal amount of food again.
I returned home and, at this point, was finally fully aware of my problem and dead set to get over it. This is when I started noticing the comments. One of them was from a group of women (yes, grown women) who noticed that, although I served in Asia, I had lost weight. They asked me how I did it, and I very simply told them (and this is no exaggeration), “Oh, I just stopped eating.” And do you know what they said to me? They CONGRATULATED ME. They told me I was lucky that I stop eating when I get stressed.
We need to be aware of what we are saying. We need to stop complimenting people on their weight and their appearance but rather compliment them on their accomplishments. Instead of saying, “Wow, you lost weight on your mission,“ say, “Congratulations on serving a full eighteen months dedicated to the Lord.”
Rather than saying, "Your face looks thinner" say "Your smile makes me happy." You could also compliment someone on an accomplishment in work, school, or their family, let them know something nice someone else had to say about them, or compliment their personality.
There is a lot more where this came from; but for now, just watch what you say. This goes for anything. Try to be sensitive and realize that everyone is fighting his or her own battle; and whether it seems harder or easier than yours, it doesn’t matter. Think before you speak (trust me I am struggling with this one too), don’t judge, and love everyone.
This ties into being tolerant and forgiving when people do say something that offends you. We all say things without thinking on occasion—I know I do. Rather than getting upset and judging (which would be completely hypocritical), kindly explain why certain comments are not the greatest things to say. The Golden Rule works great when people are of like minds. However, we all have different struggles which oftentimes makes it difficult to understand the needs of those around us. We all need to be patient as we teach each other how we want to be treated.
Now watch the video that inspired this rant.