In a previous blog post, we talked about the negative emotions that come when we judge or criticize our bodies constantly. The act of criticizing yourself or others based on physical appearance is called body shaming, and it is something done by women and men of all shapes and sizes.

Body shaming is all around us: in the media, at the gym, in our bedrooms, and at the mall. Sometimes, it isn’t just you thinking negatively about your body. Often, family members decide to make comments (often hurtful and insensitive) about our bodies.

“You sure you should have seconds?” “Your pants look a little tight.” “You better suck it in for pictures.”

When your mom, grandparent, or sibling makes a comment like this, it hurts. It isn’t constructive, and it won’t make you feel better about yourself. So how should you deal with a family member who comments negatively on your body?

Speak up for yourself. Corissa from fat girl flow, a body positive style blog, writes that speaking up for yourself in this situation is extremely difficult, but necessary. You have to be willing to say “that hurt my feelings.” Nothing makes a person pause faster than expressing to them that they hurt you.

Explain your point of view. In some cases, your family member might have made the comment because they’ve struggled with their own body negativity; however, that doesn’t make it any less hurtful. Explain that you feel beautiful in your body exactly how it is, and that you found their comment to be disrespectful. Let them know that your self-worth isn’t wrapped up in how you look, but in who you really are, in qualities like your work ethic, your kindness, and your capacity to love others.

Know it’s okay to be upset. It’s okay to be offended or to feel emotional over a negative comment. Meg Zulch at Bustle reminds us that it’s perfectly natural to be hurt by these comments. Your feelings are valid, so be gentle with yourself. Excuse yourself from a room if you need to cry or vent to someone—then let it go. Do not give anyone else power over how you feel about yourself. Self-care is crucial in these moments, so don’t be afraid to prioritize your emotional needs over socializing.

If you struggle with body negativity, a therapist can help you work though the negative thoughts. Talking with a professional and letting someone know about your struggle is sometimes the best way to go deeper into the problem and find a solution. It’s amazing what the support of a non-judgmental therapist can do.

If you’d like to set up a time to meet up with Reka, you can contact her by phone at 402-881-8125, by email at, or via Twitter or Facebook.

photo credit: Last of the Chicken Liver Pate via photopin (license)