I'm Not Sure How To Title This

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I was recently in another forum where I was involved in a discussion with people in regards to weight, eating disorders, and self-esteem issues resulting from it.

I am sorry for what so many with eating disorders are going through. I can't even pretend I understand the emotions you are going through.

I'm sure there's really nothing I can say that others in your lives haven't said to you or things you don't already know or thought of.

Please just let me tell you that people put far too much emphasis on appearances. In reality there's only two reasons to be a healthy weight. 1) Heath. 2) Because you want to be for yourself. All other reasons don't count.

I have found that for each overweight person who wants to be smaller there's an underweight person who wants to not be so skinny. Most of the time the overweight person will look at the skinny one with envious eyes and they can't understand why that skinny person is unhappy. That skinny person will often look at that mildly overweight person with the same envious eyes and wonder why they aren't happy. We all seem to be unhappy with ourselves, and although our reasons may seem unimaginable to others, it still matters just the same to ourselves.

When I was a child I was always well underweight. My dad liked skinny girls. It seemed the skinnier I was, the more he wanted to touch me. I tried desperately to gain weight so that I would no longer excite him. When I was 15 I was 5'2" and 80lbs. In 21 years of trying to gain weight so I can shake the feeling and fear of another man looking at me and wanting to hurt me, I have only been able to gain 25 lbs, but I am also 2" taller. I'm still very thin for a 36 year old. Over the past year I have realized that even if I gained 100 lbs I would still feel scared.

I think I am telling you that because I want you to understand that sometimes it's not the number that bothers us, it's the way we think others will see us. Sometimes the way we think others will see us can be very scary. But there's only one opinion we should care about and that is our own. It is okay for us to think we are too skinny or too fat, but we shouldn't be mean to ourselves. There's already far too many people willing to be mean to us.

No one knows ourselves better then we do. We know just what to say about ourselves to cause the most damage, likewise we know just what we need to hear to make us feel better. So why do we so often say and think the hurtful things about ourselves instead of the positive things? Maybe it's because most of us already have a negative opinion of ourselves, so it makes it so much more work to tell ourselves the positive things because we know we will probably dismiss it.

I think we should try to put effort in to the positive and forget the negative. I know it's hard.

I realize I have a very limited understanding of eating disorders and so forth. I guess I just want to let the people who struggle with it know that there are people out there who care. The other forum I was on the ones who was struggling with their own eating disorders seemed to feel isolated.

Anyway, I'm sorry for rambling on so long.

My inbox is always open. Just a friendly invitation from someone who cares.
--> "Please just let me tell you that people put far too much emphasis on appearances."

As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder for 8 years, I can honestly say that eating disorders are about so much more than appearance. It may seem like that on the surface; after all, you will often hear people with eating disorders calling themselves fat and obsessing about weight, "I just want to be skinny," etc. etc. But controlling one's weight (and obsessing over it) is a coping mechanism for underlying problems that are much deeper. Just like alcoholism, drug abuse, sex addiction and the like -- an eating disorder is a way of dealing with internal issues, and usually manifests as such due to external influences. In a way I wish it were so simple, purely appearance-based; then when people tell me I look skinny or pretty, that would actually make a difference. But the truth is, it's more than just wanting to be thin and look good. It can come from almost anything: poor self-worth, a need for control, sexual assault, family influence, societal pressure, anything under the sun.

--> "Sometimes the way we think others will see us can be very scary."

I think you are quite right and that is very true, and with eating disorders this extends to every part of us that others "see": appearance, personality, potential, efficiency, capability, etc. When your self-worth is very low, sometimes you feel like the only thing you can change is your size/weight, so that's what gets focused on. The number on the scale can become a symbol for self-worth.

It is always so comforting and lovely to hear from someone who does not fully understand, but cares very much and reaches out to others. So thank you. :)
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