It’s My Body: Why Unsolicited Comments Can Be Hurtful

It’s My Body: Why Unsolicited Comments Can Be Hurtful

It’s annoying — yes, freaking annoying — when strangers and even acquaintances feel compelled to comment on another person’s appearance.

I’ve heard comments like, “Your skin looks better than the last time,” or “Your skin is worse than before, right?” Others might mention an increase in weight or someone might say, “You look really tired today.”

Because these statements are unsolicited, those making them never ask if it’s OK. They just assume. Most of the time, people who make such comments don’t even see me very often. And their thoughts are not only misplaced but also incorrect. But that doesn’t seem to matter to them.

I wonder what makes people think they have the right to judge another person’s appearance.

The saying, “If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” really rings true for me. Who cares about my skin? It’s my skin, and mine alone. Why should others care if I’ve gained or lost weight? There are far more important things in life than worrying about the physical appearance of another person.

Gabriela, an Instagrammer who posts about her skin healing process, recently shared a graphic that I really like:

(Screenshot via @brielamour89, Instagram)

While I am on the topic of unsolicited comments, another annoyance is when people — mostly strangers — pretend to know how to cure my rare genetic skin condition. If eating more garlic and cutting down on fish cured epidermolysis bullosa (EB), scientists and researchers would know by now.

Instead of offering advice, it would be better to listen when I explain what EB is and what researchers are doing to try to solve the puzzle. And please remember that it is my body, not yours.

I know that people often mean well, but this type of “advice” can hurt.

As it’s a new year, I’ve decided to leave the negative thoughts behind and set clear boundaries for myself and others. I need to be more honest about my thoughts and feelings, with strangers, acquaintances, friends, and family members. I think I’ve taken the first step.

If you have received negative comments like these, remember, it’s your body, it does amazing things, and it’s beautiful. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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Note: Epidermolysis Bullosa News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Epidermolysis Bullosa News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to epidermolysis bullosa.

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