Published: 10/11/2014 - Updated: 01/07/2018
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
There are a lot of people that frequently reject obese people. Seeing them causes an unpleasant reaction that seems involuntary, and some people even go so far as to make some sort of comment or critique, perhaps even making fun of them, or refuse to be near them. What’s more curious, however, is that even overweight people tend to reject themselves.
If indeed obese individuals have learned to adapt and live with their weight and appearance, deep down, it isn’t easy to accept themselves. The majority of these individuals frequently criticize themselves and feel bad about themselves, and sometimes they even look down on themselves in very severe ways.
We will never know exactly what goes on inside someone who suffers from a certain condition, until you yourself have suffered from it as well, or if you have grown deeply empathetic with that individual. A lot of times, we acquire behaviors and habits, and we repeat the mechanically and constantly without ever known why we do it, and if there is a valid reason to do so.
Criticizing and rejecting is something that every human being has felt at some time before, but if we were to look at things more objectively, perhaps we could discover very interesting thing about ourselves, and we could learn new reactions.
Rejecting an obese individual is neither “good” nor “bad”, it is just a reaction as a consequence of what we have learned. We frequently reject or criticize things from prejudices, because we were taught that something was “bad”, and when we run into it again, we reject or judge it.
Children are experts at telling their opinions openly regarding obese people. Some children are more expressive, and even cruel in the way they say things. Some children, youngsters, and even adults say demeaning things to obese individuals.
However, beyond our prejudices and what we have learned, we must objectively analyze and observe this rejection.
The message sent to obese people
The body has its own language, and this languages expresses evident things from our personality and character. Knowing how to read the body is an art, and yet, even though some things can’t be said or put into words, we can still feel and perceive them. Even without being experts, we can feels what an individual’s body says to us.
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To decipher an obese individual’s bodily message, an interesting point of observation to begin with would be verbal language used in daily life.
In ordinary language we frequently use expressions like: “It weighs on me”, “I can’t stand it”, “I can’t tolerate that”, “That man is fat with pride”, “He’s carrying a heavy load”, etc. Curiously, however, these daily expressions are not used to refer to overweight people, but rather to refer to unpleasant things.
If we were to simply observe, all those verbal expressions allude to something’s “weight”, and not to a physical weight, but to excessive weight in character or personality.
So: an obese person’s body is full of fats and unnecessary substances, of toxins, and perhaps of poor system functioning. An obese person’s body is objectively, the summary of either weak will for not being able to stop eating, or of general carelessness and a lack of “form” in life. An obese body speaks of an excessive need to eat (which deep down speaks of a strong emotional need – spiritual food – that is compensated for by food). It also tells us that most likely, the individual satiates moments and life with fleeting and superficial tastes that only fill them up, but do not nourish them. A lot of obese people frequently eat things that have a very low nutritional content (junk food), which is perhaps a reflection of the type of understand and experiences that are “taking up space” in their life, rather than nourishing them.
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Inside an obese person’s body, certain body organs like the liver, kidneys, heart, etc., are more cramped. The body needs to use more effort to perform its tasks, the heart works harder, the bones and the skeletal system have to support and tolerate more body weight, they are spent, damaged, and suffer. Being overweight, then, seems to seem some sort of interior “asphyxiation”, which might reflect the way in which an overweight person feels deep down.
When you see an obese individual, you might not think of all this, but the energy emitted by these attitudes and by the way in which we perceive their body, their weak will, their deep emotional need or inability to satiate themselves emotionally, perhaps their self-rejection or criticism of themselves (which could translate into “I can’t stand myself”). In addition to all this, seeing an obese body transmits a feeling of saturation to us, a feeling that there is not enough room, a body and a mind full of “unnecessary” and “unhealthy” thing, a body and a mind that “take up space”, but that are never really nourished by the essentials.
Everything that we perceive within seconds and that is transformed into a sensation of rejection of unease towards the obese individual, could be accentuated, for example, when the obese individual’s body is accompanied by childlike features in their appearance. This does nothing to dispel the idea that the individual could be lacking in character, emotionally immature, and perhaps, irresponsible or very dependent.
Body messages are responsible for the reason we react with certain unpleasant attitudes towards obese people. However, keeping in mind all of these messages, and understanding the feeling that lives inside obese individuals could help greatly to understand obesity’s root. And rather than reacting with rejection, perhaps we could become more understanding regarding their condition, keeping in mind that perhaps what obese individuals want most, is acceptance and unconditional approval. Perhaps they themselves need to learn to love and accept themselves, or to observe the unnecessary things in their lives, and to learn to nourish themselves with people, experiences, understanding, and “foods” that are even more nourishing.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 01/07/2018
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