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You look great!

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

Comments about our bodies, even positive, can be triggering.

We have a weight-obsessed (and youth obsessed) culture, and we have decided for the last century or more that "thin is in", the embodiment of health and a well-lived and happy life. Consider the following scenarios and apply them to the following comment:

"You look great!"

  • Someone who is stressed or ill

  • Someone who lost a pregnancy

  • Someone with postpartum anxiety or depression or just feeling sensitive to how their body has changed after giving birth

  • Someone with disordered eating or body image concerns

  • Someone who lost a job

  • Someone who lost a loved one

  • Someone who doesn't want their body in the spotlight for you to judge

Thankfully, maybe you have been spared by some of these "well-meaning comments" due to social distancing, but if you are reading this post, this may hit close to home.

I feel like some support around this subject might be helpful to effectively 'not even hear it', so if this is coming up for you, counseling may be very helpful.

If someone tells you how great you look, even if they're just trying to pay you a compliment—it is normal to feel awkward or objectified or self-conscious. Whether or not you've been working hard to transform your body, you shouldn't have to feel grateful or guilty because someone is making a comment about your body, especially at a sensitive time. One thought is to reframe it in the moment.

Instead of saying something like, 'Oh thanks. It's great to be a size 4 again,' you can flip it and say,

  • 'You know what, creating a baby from this body is its greatest achievement, and focusing on self-care has given me the energy to care for a newborn.'

  • 'I've been focusing on getting sober, and exercise has helped me deal with my recovery.'

  • 'I'm going through a lot right now, and I'm trying to take care of myself.'

  • 'I know you mean well, but talking about my body feels weird. How about asking how I am doing?'

  • 'My body, my business.'

All of these responses have their place in responding to a friend, coworker, family member or stranger. All move the focus away from body image and toward health and wellbeing, allowing for a more meaningful conversation.

Okay, maybe that last one just throws down a boundary, but hey lady in Target or mailman, you don't get to comment on my body! And BTW, how is comparing me to a fruit helpful?


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