Sometimes the people we love the most misuse their power. They use their words to damage us, cutting us at the very core of who we are. There is no truer example of this than when one partner body shames another.
As a body positive warrior, I could spend a lifetime lecturing you and trying to get you to understand that the only person who’s opinion about your body matters in your own. Unfortunately, I even know that is futile when it comes to a romantic partner.
We all want to be attractive for them. We want to be desirable for them. When we dress for a night out, we dress to please them. Their words, even when they are said in jest, cut deeper than our partners probably realize.
You are not going to catch me telling you it’s okay. I’m not going to tell you that our partners are blunt, and fixers, and are just wanting to fix a simple problem they see. It’s never going to come from me that being shamed by your partner is a simple misunderstanding.
Body shaming, from anyone, carries with it heavy and sometimes irreversible emotional damage. When these unkind, and frankly abusive words, come from a partner they hit hard and their damage lingers for years after.
Despite what your partner may say, please listen to me. You are attractive. You are worthy. You are a good person. I know you want to run from these words, because you are given reason to disbelieve them. I know I cannot make you believe them. But, promise you are at least listening when I say them.
You are attractive.
You are worthy.
You are a good person.
Your spouse has fallen into a trap, and maybe you have fallen into the same one. Society has built in messages about body image that are meant to strengthen companies who financially gain off of your misery. Fast food restaurants gain profit from emotional eating. Weight loss and exercise companies gain from everyone’s displeasure with their inability maintain the standard of beauty. Salons and make-up companies also profit from this. The media has been told it has to help uphold the unattainable standard of beauty so these companies can profit of our pain. Your spouse is fed these media images just like you are. They are told they are only successful if their spouse attains these goals. The problem isn’t yours. It’s theirs. You have every right to be happy, and healthy, in whatever way that looks on the outside.
If your partner cannot support you, and love you, through all of the changes your body will go through, then I humbly suggest you detach your self-worth from their opinion. Their opinion is flawed. It is tainted. As hard as it may be, know you have a right to detach your self worth from your outward appearance, and from what other people may think of your appearance.
You also have the right to a happy, healthy, and supportive home. If your partner is not being a partner in the endeavor of making your home these things, then they are not holding up their end of the bargain.
Your body will change with time. No one looks like they did when they were 21. No one looks like they did when they get married. The changes in our body are proof that we are living, breathing beings with memories and experiences. Your journey, and the proof of that journey, deserves love and respect. Don’t let anyone, partner or not, make you feel otherwise.
You are worthy. You are enough.