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20 Mar 2019, Edition - 1345, Wednesday

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Columns

On body sickness

Archana Rohit

We live in a “hashtag” world where labelling everything and everyone is the new normal. We don’t think twice before labelling them “Ugly” or “Beautiful”. However, the word “Pretty “is left baffled, and struggles with “WORD DYSPHORIA”.

Although the words UGLY and BEAUTY are used as antonyms. They are the same aspects of one concept. If you feel torn down with thoughts of which category, should I identify with? STOP bugging yourself as it is all based on PERCEPTION.

Women have been told that “being desirable” is their currency. Sadly, even today in this feminist era womanhood is quantified by the currency of beauty/being desirable. No wonder people have body image issues, it has nothing to do with size or shape; it is the product of peer, social, cultural and familial values. It is observed that 32% of the woman don’t take part in public events fearing that they would be judged. 17% of the women don’t turn up to the interviews as they don’t feel confident about themselves. Media has a major role to play the news and magazines ridicule woman for not meeting beauty standards. Other people chronically observe the beauty. Hence woman, constantly spend a lot of time on beauty products by internalizing the notion which is always up for evaluation. However, this all is just because they themselves perceive to be not beautiful vs reality, which is opposite.

In order to win the race of being desirable, woman resort to cosmetologist. In my opinion, they tell you medically what is wrong with you aesthetically. Plastic surgeries have become a common phenomenon, skin lightening treatments have become a routine, Implants have become the new normal, Nose Job and Botox have become a mandate to keep your youth, PRO ANA and FAT FREEZING is socially acceptable, having BODY IMAGE ISSUES is a common problem. But where does this madness stop? When do woman stop seeking their approval from the opposite sex/same sex and start accepting themselves for the way they are?

Woman who suffer from alopecia, skin problems go through a tough time. They are not life threatening diseases but the psychological harm it causes is beyond imagination. The failure to conform to the norms of physical appearance in society, has the potential to set people apart in their own estimation and in the estimation of others, breeds in anxiety, depression, lower self-esteem and lower self-confidence. This continuous distress further leaves your love life, marriage life and work life in jeopardy.

Nowadays, most of the people that I meet suffer from “Body Sickness”. Constant negative image about oneself leads to Depression which results in low self confidence, self worth and self esteem. Before we reach to the brink of insanity let’s learn how to cope to up with it.

HOW TO COPE UP WITH IT

1.Talk It Out

Family, close friends etc would not perceive it as a problem and majority of the time they would not understand what you are going through. However, talk about your feelings and let them know what you feel like. Venting out helps. But, voicing out your concerns on a daily basis can be frustrating and irritating for anyone. It can create stress on your relations. The key is to not overdo it

2.ACCEPT THE PROBLEM

Many a times people don’t want to accept the issue at hand and hence obsess or panic about it. Take a deep breath, embrace the problem and accept it. Ask yourself what is the worst that can happen? Eg: If one has alopecia what is the worst that can happen? Plausible answer is “GO BALD”. Does hair make you who you are? Does that define your personality? Is it life threatening? The answer is “NO”.

Human tendency is to fear of the unknown. Ask five “WHY” to your problem and you shall know that the thing that you were obsessing about is petty.

3.Seek Help and Put in Efforts

If Talking and accepting does not help. Seek professional help. Join some group therapies if you have body image issues. Have regular sessions with a psychologist. If you suffer from something that requires medical attention go a doctor, but STOP GOOGLING. It just makes matters worst. Try and distract yourself. Remind yourself that “IT DOES NOT DEFINE YOU”. Put in all the efforts to rectify it eat right, exercise right and leave it to your body. Don’t be too harsh on it. Kiss yourself in your mirror every day and LOVE YOURSELF.

In conclusion ever since, we have fretted about what is good and bad. Like it or not, we are all in a continuing debate about aesthetics. The key is to take a pen and paper and define yourself. Those aspects make your personality not your physical appearance. Carry yourself with pride. “ATTAIN PERFECTION” i.e emotionally as well as intellectually cause that is what matters more. Don’t confide yourself trying to fit yourself in the norms set by society. Focus on your unique qualities, be comfortable in your own skin. Go ahead make your own definition.

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