How do you address the problem of someone hating their body type, who in doing so also insinuates that everyone else who has the same problem should hate themselves as well? It’s really hard to offer words of encouragement when they don’t understand that they’re wrong for shaming.
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Hello Diner. I believe you are asking about how to change someone’s opinion and morals–both of which are extremely personal and fundamental. If I were to convince you that you should hate your body, and you should shame others, how would I go about doing that? I imagine just reading that sentence causes such a visceral response that a simple conversation would not sway you, and you’ll be less receptive of ideas I might share later.
Without more detail of this particular encounter, it is hard to discern the exact point of view and beliefs of this person. He or she may not have meant what you surmised–that everyone else with a problem with weight and size should hate themselves. It could have been a misunderstanding, a frustrated hyperbole, or the culmination of a bad day. It almost doesn’t matter what your friend thinks. For this Fortune, you are my Diner, and your opinions are the only ones we can address for now. Your friend’s journey is their own.
Right or wrong, understand that shaming simply is. Its power comes from the importance both the society and the individual put on the attribute. We Fortune Cookies are made uniformly. A “big” cookie is mere millimeters larger than a “small” cookie, so size has very little meaning to us. Shaming does indeed have devastating effects, and one can argue that it is wrong; however, shaming only has those effects because “big” and “small” mean a lot to your society and to you.
You can change its impactfulness in one of two ways: change everyone’s dimensions to be exactly the same, or highlight the intrinsic value of the individual beyond size and shape. Strip beauty of its power not by preventing shaming, but by de-emphasizing its importance. Rather calling everyone beautiful, just acknowledge that it’s simply an attribute someone has that influences some mate selection. Instead applaud wit, intelligence, creativity, humor, altruism, generosity, empathy, and kindness.
The more value a person sees in themselves, the more care they may give to the health and performance of such a precious vessel of their character. Any words you offer a person to stop hating their size are orders of magnitude less effective than the person’s own the decision to improve it.
Show your friend what it means to be human–in every brilliant way–and you will have more success encouraging them. Show your friend that there is much beyond size and beauty. What is “beautiful” is a matter of opinion, but what makes a good person is more universal. Your friend is lucky to have you: a whole other wonderful human being full of virtues and value of your own. Don’t forget that, Diner.