Do you miss the “thinness” you used to have?


Have you ever looked at your old photos and dreamed of looking the same again? Or maybe you found a pair of trousers in your closet that are no longer yours, but you can never throw them away because you want to go back to that size. Changing the shape of our body in the past is as natural as it is emotional. We say “emotional” because we live in a society where weakness is praised and viewed as morally the best… If you yearn for the body you had in the past, you may be struggling with bodily grief called “body grief.” .

What is bodily grief?

Grief is defined as the emotion caused by loss associated with distress. When we think of mourning, we often think of the death of a loved one, but we can mourn for many other reasons as well. Loss of a job or income, rejection (for example, social rejection and separation from family), end of relationship or divorce, onset of illness, addiction of any kind, etc. Such situations can be one of the reasons for grief.

We can also mourn our body. Experts define body grief or bodily grief as “suffering caused by a perceived loss along with changes in the body.” In other words, bodily grief comes from losing the “perfect weakness” you once had. While people who experience conditions such as various chronic illnesses and treatment for eating disorders suffer the most from bodily grief, anyone can struggle with these negative emotions. Here are some other situations where people may experience this:

  • Realizing that you are no longer defined as “weak”
  • Accessibility is more of a problem than before (like having to buy a seat belt extender on an airplane or going to a store that doesn’t sell clothes in your size).
  • Don’t get too many compliments about your body
  • Family and friends comment on your health habits just by looking at your body.

It should be noted that bodily grief is not only related to weight; You may experience similar feelings when you lose physical strength or mobility.

Stages of bodily grief

In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross published her groundbreaking book On Death and Dying. In the book, he described the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Let’s look at it from the point of view of bodily grief…

1. Denial

Denial is the refusal to accept our body as it is. This stage is often used to minimize the pain of trying to understand the current reality. It may seem like a choice to change the current reality when it comes to bodily grief. In other words, a person may decide not to eat despite being hungry, or not to exercise despite pain and dizziness. At first glance, negation can be interpreted as a positive trait. But this leads to choices and behaviors that are not really conducive to health and happiness.

2. Anger

Anger arises when there is a difference between where things are and where they should be, and is used to relieve pain through “control”. It is also the first reaction to the feeling of loss. This overpowering feeling is more introverted. This leads to a negative inner voice and rather harsh self-assessments of ourselves.

3. Deal

The next step is trading. This is the period when the reality of the situation is visible, but the person is still trying and hoping to find a way out. The negotiation phase is used to avoid further pain due to the loss. This may seem like the start of a new diet, for example, in the hope that this time it will be different. Or it could mean avoiding or postponing vacations, doctor visits, or certain actions with the intention of doing so when the body changes in the desired direction.

4. Depression

The next stage of grief is depression. This is where the reality of the situation strikes a person. What is considered temporary or something that can be changed is considered permanent. This, in turn, can lead to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and withdrawal. As terrible as the stage of depression is, it is also the stage when a better life begins. While depression is the stage of a cocoon, acceptance can be seen as the emergence of a butterfly.

5. Acceptance

Acceptance is the last stage of grief and this is where the reality of the situation can be seen. At this stage, although the situation is not yet satisfied, expectations can be managed. Instead of fighting the acceptance stage, watch yourself talking to yourself. Learn about your beliefs and how they have helped or hurt you. Learn to be kind to yourself.

How to deal with bodily grief?

Now you have an idea of ​​bodily sadness. So how do you deal with these feelings? Here are some compassionate ways to deal with bodily grief.

1. Realize that being “weaker” won’t solve all your problems.

While being “leaner” is likely to have a different outcome for people who are discriminated against primarily because of their weight, this is a societal issue, not you or your body; Remember that weight loss is not healthy, good, or achievable for everyone anyway.

We often “If I had such a body, I would be happy and successful, people would like me more” We say things like It is with these desires and associations that we begin to associate the gaps in our lives with the lack of bodily changes that we can bring about. Unfortunately, this search is useless and endless; on the contrary, it perpetuates a sense of defeat and despair.

We must pursue success, meaningful relationships, health, and happiness in other ways, whether through hobbies, spending time with loved ones, activities for fun rather than punishment, or otherwise.

2. Remember where the “perfect weakness” comes from

Did you know that the idea of ​​”perfect weakness” actually has racial roots?

In the early 1600s, society considered certain bodies to be desirable, moral, and ideal. According to Campos in Sabrina Strings’ Fear of the Black Body, the most hated and unwanted bodies were those of fat black women. So it’s not even about health. We know from research that body weight is not the only indicator of health; People can be healthy in bodies of different weights.

3. Challenge your thoughts and be aware of your emotions

Experts offer the following tips to help deal with body grief:

  • Increase awareness of thoughts and beliefs that cause distress.
  • To learn and relearn, that is, to challenge those thoughts and beliefs.
  • Keep watching and challenging them because they are probably deeply rooted.
  • Connect with people who can understand and respect your experience, and create space for those feelings.

Also remember that it is very important to accept your feelings and understand that they will not last forever. Try talking about it, journaling, crying, expressing your pain through art, finding a safe community and/or therapist, living with your other values.

4. Be kind to yourself

The best encouragement for someone struggling with bodily grief is to show radical self-compassion. Remember, this is your only body, your only life. That is why you must develop kindness and forgiveness towards your body. At this point, it may help to spend some time in silence with your body, breathe, and practice grounding techniques.

As a result, no matter how you feel about your body right now, you can improve your body image from where it is now. If you think you can’t deal with these feelings on your own, see a mental health professional.

This may interest you: Loving your body the way it is is up to you: What is body image?

Sources: huffpost, seven-health

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