I’ve been reading around the traps a bit tonight and thinking about what is important to me within the fat acceptance movement and what has helped me really be able to move forward in letting go of the self loathing and low confidence that I have always suffered as a fat woman.
The same point I kept coming back to was respect. In particular, for myself. It’s all well and good me asking the world to show me respect as a fat woman, but when I didn’t even have it for myself, wasn’t that a bit hypocritical?
It hasn’t been easy, but learning to have respect for myself, in fact as much respect as I have for others, if not more, has been pivotal towards my finding self esteem and confidence. It was a huge shock to hear my psychologist say “Kath, you expect far more of yourself than you do others, why is that?” I never even thought of it that way, but it was totally true.
Respecting yourself is simple, but it’s not easy. I still struggle with it after YEARS of working on it. But the difference when you start to do so is phenomenal. Suddenly other people treat you better. Or those douchebags that singled you out before start leaving you alone. I think this is because your body language and non-verbal cues change. You show confidence and strength, and douchebags are usually cowards, so they steer clear of people with confidence. That’s not to say that it doesn’t happen anymore, but I do think it certainly reduces it.
One of the tools that I was given to learn to give myself more respect was to listen to when I was judging myself negatively, and ask myself “Would you expect the same of a friend or partner?” If the answer was no, then I knew that was the trigger to cut myself some slack, and to respect myself for who I was, not what I kept telling myself I should be. The knowledge that self loathing is actually not having respect for yourself was a bit of a lightbulb moment for me.
I really do believe it has been the biggest lesson I’ve learnt over the past few years in finding confidence and self esteem.
Do you respect yourself? Do you think you can learn to respect yourself if the answer is no?