For many women, being plus size has necessitated some changes in their lives that have led to introverted behavior. These changes have yielded varying thoughts – some positive, some negative, some gradual and some drastic. The query on why and how your body size affects your inclinations, attitudes, and energy towards yourself and others is not a simplistic one. Let’s take a moment to discover and explore the impacts that your plus size frame may have had on your day to day life.
Have you slowly changed over the years? Wondering why you no longer want to be around people? Why you would rather stay home alone and away from all the movie or coffee dates with your friends? Why you tend to introspect, overthink things, and indulge in the annoying habit of second-guessing yourself? Well, the answer may not necessarily be that you are an introvert. You see, simply slapping a label on yourself is insufficient in getting to the crux of the matter. Labels generalize and mask the salient undertones of our conscious mind. They somehow tend to make us believe that they are the sole genesis of our predicament, which in most instances is false.
Many women consider themselves to be introverted and proudly wear the title – and rightly so. There are several strengths that introverts boast of that extroverts generally do not. Introverts are better analysts, planners and thinkers. They are great with detail and are largely independent as compared to their extrovert counterparts. Introverts are known to like their own space and tend to lose energy by being around people all the time. With many plus size women, this may be the case and there is nothing wrong with it. It’s never a crime to steal a minute or two to be by yourself. However, when the propensity of wanting to be alone is largely influenced by your body size, there is more than what meets the eye.
Unaware to many, there is nothing ‘normal’ in an average plus size woman’s day. Daily, they are at the impact of societal pressure and constant rejection for being overweight. A lot of negative publicity and bias scrutiny is cast on their lives as they struggle to ‘politely’ push back and attend to their duties as professionals, students, mothers or businesswomen. There is a never-ending streak of negativity and disapproval from society to all those with plus size frames. The name-calling, the ridiculing laughter, the prejudice, subtle and bland disapproval may sometimes get to them. You may often find yourself caught up in this quagmire. Constantly misunderstood and judged for no objective reason.
Gradually, the negativity and hostility are absorbed into your framework. The wounding and the rejection become so acquainted with your ‘being big’ that now you begin to project this very negativity and abuse onto yourself. You wrongly begin to acknowledge and accept people’s negative opinions as your own and begin to reflect their anger, despise and devaluation.
Gradually, your value judgments change fundamentally to be solely premised on your looks and the perception of others about you. The sad truth is that more often than not, it’s the vicious cries and stares of strangers that weigh into our perception more than the lovely comments and treatment by those who care about us. You begin to be sceptical of your beauty, value, worth, and contribution to those around you. And the vicious circle of ‘being introverted’ begins.
Here lies the crux of the matter, Self- image. It is not so much what people say about you as it is what you think about yourself that begins to shape and influence how you view and treat yourself and others. This may rightly be the single cause as to why you are not comfortable around people, why you push people away, why you cancel plans at the last minute or don’t make plans to go out for a night of fun. Either you simply don’t want all the criticism. or you feel like you don’t quite live up to the perceived expectations and standards that people may have of you.
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The Spiraling Cycle Linked to Introverted Behavior
The effects of negative self-perception are brutal. In most cases, many people’s progress is hindered or stunted and at the very worst, their lives completely devastated. As much as I sympathize with the misfortune, having little to no self-value or self-worth because of being plus size is not a way to live. Several ills lurk in this inflicting frame of mind that eventually handicaps you from living large and unmasking your full potential. Here are some symptoms that you may want to look into to determine whether you are a victim of this unforgiving cycle.
Do you struggle with feeling insufficient around friends, family members or co-workers? Do you always feel like you need to prove something or compensate for being plus size so that you feel at per with the rest of the folk? Would you rather be away from people in order not to contend with these feelings? If so, you may need to peel back and address the situation head-on.
Noticeably, with all the negativity and constant awareness of your ‘shortcoming’ in being plus size, it may be next to impossible to have healthy and fulfilling relationships. You constantly will feel that your friends either don’t understand you or relate with your feelings as a plus-size woman (unless they are plus size). Perhaps you may feel, their presence, personal successes, smaller body frames or just their well-meaning compliments are insufficient in giving you the much-needed validation and approval. Therefore, it becomes easier to minimize contact or altogether avoid them, because bluntly put – your world is wrapped around you and your body size.
Negative self-thoughts may make you believe you are inadequate and insufficient for the dating ring. You may be convinced you are not ‘good enough’ for the other person because you are plus size. Often you may be too fearful and insecure to let someone in. You brazenly put up walls and it may take a while before you learn to trust and be vulnerable to others. Unfortunately, not many have the patience to continue to wait for you to come around.
If you are already in a serious relationship, you may struggle with the feelings that you do not ‘deserve’ your partner. This may spiral into deep anxiety or even depression because of the belief that your plus size frame is a liability to the relationship. You may feel like a disappointment and in some cases, you may even believe that they stay because they sympathize with you as opposed to loving you. Eventually, you miss out on a world of opportunities to grow intimate with your partner and enjoy the relationship for what it is.
Do you feel you need to work harder to prove your worth among peers or colleagues because you are plus size? What if you fail or make a significant blander? What would be your reaction?
In the competitive world that we live in today, we all are bound to experience success and failure. However, if you are self-hating and negative towards yourself, failures may be devastating to your peace, joy, and social life. Failure in a business venture, a role, or some exam, if in school, may be blown up to mean that you are not ‘good enough’ and never going to be good enough. Intuitively, you may feel like you’ve let everyone down including yourself, especially because you wanted to prove that you are more than the size of your waistline and thighs.
Work ceases to become fun and enjoyable, colleagues turn into competitors or judges that you need to prove your case to. You then tend to keep to yourself and use work as an excuse not to be around people. For instance, you may decline an invite to a Friday lunch date or evening cocktail with your girlfriends because you are working and cannot afford to ‘fail’ as you did before.
Personal Development and Health
The saying is true, No man is an island. No one is designed to be self-existing and self-sustaining. Everyone needs the input of someone else as they journey through their lives. As you continue avoiding people and becoming less and less sociable, you stunt your development process. By design, human beings are created to interact and share. We inspire, uplift, and challenge each other by simply being around one another. As you tread further down this road, you will realize how heavy and unforgiving your plus size inspired ‘introverted state’ will become to your emotional wellbeing and psychological health.
How to Turn Back the Tide
Instead of assuming a passive role and being the perpetual victim, you should take charge of your life and thoughts. Any introvert-like tendencies caused by your lack of self-acceptance and self-devaluation, should not remain the status quo. If this is you, in one way or another, here is what you can do to turn back the tide.
As like many of the journeys we embark on in life we always have to exercise our power to choose. Choice is powerful and is inherent to you. Nothing and no one can take away your power to choose what goes and what doesn’t. Make a quality decision to intentionality address the negative and false thoughts you have about yourself. Decide to step out of your comfort zone and begin to interact with people without being conscious of your body size or what they may be thinking about the same. Decide not to pull away when you feel intimidated, inferior or not good enough. Decide to only think positive and empowering thoughts towards yourself. It may be hard, but it is possible.
2. Write it Down
Define and pen down your short term and long term goals with regards to building a positive self-image and whole social life. Jot down your goals and plans. You can include anything really, perhaps going out on your first date with the cute guy whose been asking you out, or spending your every Friday night with close friends. Alternatively, you can plan to talk to your co-workers more often. It need not be perfect or grand, but just make sure it is intimate and personal to you. What matters is that you start somewhere.
3. Affirm Yourself Daily
At times you miss the simple truth that you are more than the body you wear every day. Saying, thinking or writing down something positive about yourself daily will help you become more appreciative of yourself, your strengths and abilities. As you do this, you will be more inclined to see past your plus size figure into your gifts, talents and charisma. Always say no to negative thoughts and embrace the positive.
4. Build Positive Relationships
It’s always heart-warming to have people who help you step out and be the best you can be. Invest in growing such relationships. Choose people who are positive and outgoing to be part of your inner circle. They may be fellow introverts or even extroverts. Look to always be around such people, whenever you are out and about or looking to have some fun time. Positivity is contagious!
5. Invest in Yourself
Invest in your inner beauty, your intelligence and skill set so that you may grow in confidence and be more impactful on the people around you. Put your best show always. Dress stunningly, take time to listen and care, take time out for yourself – to reflect and recollect.
Off course, this journey may be long and littered with several difficulties, but it is important to bear in mind the end goal of your pursuit. Here are some challenges that you may face along the way and how you should deal with the same
- The Self-defeatist mentality – Understandably, you may not even want to embark on this journey in the first place. Probably you are asking, “What is the point?” Or you may be a victim to many unsuccessful attempts of the same nature. Before you disqualify yourself and shrug this off, remember that you are strong enough to defeat any efforts at self- positivity, and equally strong enough to empower yourself to forge forward with the plan. Give yourself another chance.
- Inconsistency – This is common even among the best of us. Your ability to follow through with the goals and plans you have is crucial in attaining your vision. If you know this is an area of struggle, you can plan ahead on how to cope with the same before the hard and pressing moments set in. You can opt to involve your close friends, let them know your goals and what you envision to achieve. Ask them to keep you accountable. Put all the needed measures not to bail out on your plans entreat yourself, prepare mentally, write down exciting things you would want to do during the date, track your progress etcetera.
Being plus size may make you introverted, but you have the power to not let it. You can always do something about it so that you live a fulfilling and active life. You can find some really good books on Amazon that go deeper. It’s okay to be introverted but let it never be because you are ashamed or condemning of your plus size frame. Choose to live large, without holding anything back.
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