I saw a video yesterday that disturbed me. In it, a couple of women were yelling at a man in a McDonalds, telling him that he was too fat to be eating there, and that he needed to leave. They even went so far as to tell him that he just needed to stop eating and that he was disgusting. It really bothered me.
A few different people stood up for him and started yelling back at the women, who were eventually asked to leave by management.
However, as all of this was going on, the man was just standing there. I had to wonder how he was feeling in all of this, because while there were people taking up for him, no one was actually talking to him or trying to encourage him. If I’d been there, I would have talked to him, and not engaged with the women, owing partly to my aversion to confrontation, but more importantly I would want to support him in what seemed like an awful situation. So, I’d like to write an open letter to this man, and to anyone else who has ever been shamed for the shape, color, gender or state of their body.
If I were there, I would take your hands in mine and ask you to look at me. And I would look at you – and I mean really look at you. With my eyes, I would embrace you as the beautiful, worthy person that you are, and I would try my best to reflect that back to you.
And this is what I would tell you:
Your body is a good body. As it is. It does not need to be changed to be worthy of food, pleasure or respect. Don’t listen to them.
Your body does not determine your worth. You being alive and breathing – your very being determines your worth, and it’s complete. Your body is perfect the way it is. Don’t listen to them.
Your story – it’s yours and it’s amazing. These people telling you how you should be don’t know the blood, sweat and tears that you have poured into your life. They don’t know the experiences that have made you and are making you. They don’t know what you need and they don’t have the right to tell you what you need. Their opinion does not matter, because they have not walked with you all the way. Don’t listen to them!
Your body has walked long with you though. Your body has been there for you through the good times and the hard times. Your body values your life.
Your body is a record of all that has been in your life, and that’s amazing!
Listen to your body. As it has walked with you, walk with it. It’s voice is far more important than the voices shouting around you, trying to shame it into a different state. Feed it, move with joy in it, give it rest and listen. Listen. It will tell you what it needs. And that’s enough.
You are worthy as you are. You are beautiful as you are. You are enough.
Don’t listen to the haters.