Have you ever gone through drastic changes to your body that impacted your self-acceptance and self-esteem? Are you going through that right now? There are many factors that can lead to changes in our body. Maybe it’s age, changes in metabolism, routine, environment. But it’s important to learn how to deal with these changes in a healthy manner, something I learned through personal experience.
I have always been thin, especially when I was a teenager. Because of my skinniness, many people teased (and still do) me about my body.
When I went to Missionary School in 2017, I gained 11 lbs. in less than six months, which I counted as a victory since I had never weighed more than 110 lbs. in my life. But then, instead of skinny jokes, people started making jokes about how my body had changed with my weight gain, especially since it seemed like the weight had concentrated itself in my cheeks.
This experience with a rapid body change helped me understand the importance of self-acceptance. It helped me realize that, regardless of my appearance, people will always find reasons to judge. I also recognized that what truly matters is how I see myself, whether I like my appearance or not, and that it’s useless to waste time judging myself through the eyes of others.
I shared my experience with body changes, but I understand that many people undergo even more drastic changes, such as surgery, pregnancy, gaining or losing over 20 lbs. in a short period of time, or becoming ill. Many factors can cause us to undergo drastic bodily changes that affect our self-esteem and self-acceptance.
If you’ve ever experienced a drastic change in your body or are experiencing that now, let me share some ways I learned to deal with it.
1. Stop and reflect
The first step is to stop and analyze the reasons that led you to change and process these reasons. Sometimes the change was due to a health issue or a change in behavior. Understanding the cause will give you perspective to reframe this event in your life. You may find more reasons to be thankful than you would have imagined.
2. Accept your changes
This step is really difficult, especially when the change affects our self-esteem. However, as long as we’re alive, we are bound to change, and it isn’t healthy to obsess over these changes, becoming obsessed with what was or could be, without being able to see that most changes also have a positive side.
Seek help from God to see the reasons you can be grateful for this change and to help you move on, accepting yourself and allowing yourself to be happy and care-free despite any downsides associated with the change.
3. Give your pain to Jesus
The most important step is to talk to God about what’s going on. Tell Him your frustrations and insecurities, seek help so that you can accept yourself and have the strength to overcome the difficulties caused by this transformation. In some cases, the changes to your body are out of your control. So, instead of holding on to that frustration, turn to Christ for peace.
4. Seek help
Seek help from friends, family, and especially a professional. Find new perspectives on the situation, advice on how to deal with frustrations, or solutions to the changes you’re facing.
Regardless of what physical change you’ve experienced, it’s important to keep in mind that your appearance shouldn’t be more important than your mental health. It’s essential to accept yourself and your body. And if there is something you can do to help your self-acceptance, go after it!
One last tip about drastic physical changes is to own comfortable clothes made of fabrics that will comfortably fit and favor you no matter what changes you experience. Your wardrobe should make you feel confident and beautiful. If your clothes don’t match with where your body is at the moment, why not consider one of these options presented in Gabriele’s article?