In my early 20s, I was in therapy with a phenomenal therapist who helped me work through a lot of family issues and trauma. I was also struggling with some body image issues. She was an older woman who was fat (this is relevant information to the story). One day in session, I was ranting kind of tearing my body apart, how much I hated it, hated my belly, thought I was fat. She interrupted my body disparaging spiral to tell me that it was pointless to just endlessly rip my body apart, and I either had to work to accept it, or make a choice to do something about it.
I was sort of stunned into silence, and I remember feeling a bit annoyed, like this was my session and if I wanted to use it to bash my body, that she should have some better solution for me other than accept my body or decide to change it.
In hindsight, I really respect her for setting that boundary. It was unfair of me to use a fat woman as the sounding board for my boundless body loathing, whether she was paid for that role or not. I've recently heard Aubrey Gordan (@yrfatfriend on Instagram, cohost of the Maintenance Phase podcast, and author of "What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About Fat") talk on Maintenance Phase about this phenomenon -- thin/smaller bodied people using fat people as a sounding board to resolve their body image issues. It is a weird but common phenomenon, and surely not fair to do to fat people.
I share this to let you know a few things: growth happens. Nobody is perfect, and we all can (and should!) grow and evolve. The other thing I want all of us to learn from this is that you don't need to be the punching bag for someone else's body image issues. It it totally fine to set a boundary that we aren't just going to sit here and listen to a person tear their body apart. Even if you're being paid to be there. There isn't usually really a point to just scorning the shit out of your own body, so if someone comes to you trying to do that, it's okay to say, hey friend, we're not doing that today.
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