We know that Amaliah is like a Big Sis and sometimes our DMs have been filled with requests for advice on a range of life issues including relationships, friendships or work troubles.
We have started a new segment where we field dilemmas from the community and answer them as frankly as we can with love, truth and honesty.
Need some advice on a dilemma? Send them all here!
Dear Aunt Maya,
Over the past three years, I gained a significant amount of weight and this has had a massive impact on my self image and self confidence. I stopped going out, cancelled on friends and haven’t been able to pursue any romantic relationships because I’m afraid of being judged for the way I look by potential partners.I know we shouldn’t concern ourselves with what others think but the sad reality is that people do judge others based on their looks, especially if you’re fat like me. Though I’m determined to lose the weight I’ve gained, I’m also wondering if I’m limiting myself by not putting myself out there more. So my question is: should I wait to lose the weight before putting myself out there or should I do it now with my current weight? And how do I overcome that mental barrier?
Maya Areem Responds:
Thank you for writing in! I’m sorry to hear you’ve been struggling with your self image and self confidence and that it’s affected how you show up in your life.
It sounds like you’re ready to enter a new era perhaps. There are often many things in life, be it our body image, our career, finances that we want to get in order before taking another step. However, I would say before you think about the romantic pursuit, take a moment to think about how you rebuild your body image and self confidence separate from that. How can you commit to living a full life whilst being a work in progress, instead of waiting to reach a new place before you do? You mentioned cancelling on friends and not going out. Could you start with engaging in these things? Especially as our friends should offer us a safe space that comes without judgement about our weight. It could be that you take time to rebuild your esteem amongst spaces that you feel safe in. Be kind to yourself and perhaps think about the judgement you hold of yourself at this current weight and how to let go of that, irregardless of losing weight.
Otherwise I fear you may be waiting to start living. Go out, meet your friends, see how you feel and you may then find it builds momentum in wanting to engage in seeking a romantic partner. Test the waters, see how the interactions make you feel. Physical attraction is important when getting to know someone but it’s not the be all, end all. You want someone who sees beyond the superficial. There are several reasons why women in particular may put on weight, and you want a spouse who’ll encourage you on the journey for the right reasons not shame you, and this can be evident in the conversations you have should you start exploring the ‘dating’ scene.
On your search for a romantic partner, always remember people should see you for who you are, and you are more than the weight of your body.
While the way we look ties in with how we view ourselves, it’s not the full picture. Losing weight, like several other ventures in life, is a journey, and I don’t believe in pausing your life until you attain a specific goal. You are deserving of living a full, wholesome life.
I’d also encourage you to think about your why, and find a way to connect it to serving Allah, as that’s what will keep you going (in shaa Allah) when the going gets tough.
I understand your hesitation and the judgements, which is why I would say build your own esteem in safe spaces first and then when you do engage in “putting yourself out there” you should believe what you feel if you feel a sense of judgement about your weight.
Praying for a beautiful journey ahead filled with joy and ease.
If you would like some wisdom from Aunt Maya, send in your problems here! Please note Aunt Maya may consult the opinion of others from time to time and ask the Amaliah community for their advice too. Aunt Maya is not a licensed therapist or mental health professional.