I Have Always Been Insecure About My Body

29 June, 2020
Q Bismillaah. As salaamu'alaikum,

I'm a nearly 30-year-old Asian woman and since I was a teenager, I have been very insecure about my body, especially about my chest.

I have always been a very flat chested (AAA) skinny girl and when I was young I still had much hope I'd be a more curvy girl. Years went by but nothing had changed.

When I reached 21 I lost all hope that my chest would increase in size. I always envy other girls when seeing them outside with their beautiful body being able to wear whatever they want, having a good fit. I feel like I'm a boy.

I'm constantly checking out women's curves outside looking and comparing those to mine hoping they'd share the same size like me (I have the body of a 12 year old).

I notice there aren't many women out there with an AAA cup only kids of 11 or 12 years old (and some of them already even have large ones).

Some grown-ups out there have the same small body frame but their chest often is way bigger (A cup).

I know people and family members who used to be just like me but the older they got the bigger their curves became. I'm always very sad about my condition. I try to accept what Allah has given me but I find it hard to do so.

I'm not able to be sincere in accepting what Allah has decreed upon me. I have made dua, I tried eating cucumbers with dates, I took in various breast enhancement pills and fenugreek seeds, I tried to have more appetizers but really nothing worked.

What I got is a bigger appetite but that didn't cause my breasts to grow probably just my thighs, hips, belly and face that became slightly bigger.

I'm not asking for much, I just want to have a larger cup. I'd be happy if I'd reach an A cup. I wear a bra at home and outside but I'm only doing that to cover my large nipples and so that my chest looks a bit curvy in places where you can take off your veil (among women).

All of my bras are too big still when I want to have bras with a good fit I should look at the kids department. I never liked to look at my body.

My mum even urged me to see the doctor, to find out if maybe something was wrong with me. But that too didn't help. I felt even worse now that my mother also paid attention to this part of my body.

I'm not underweight. I already checked, I just have a small body frame.

I've always been very insecure about marriage too about what my future husband would think about me being flat chested. All of my friends know how I feel about this; they always reassure me that true men who are pious believers would prioritize Deen over body.

So when I got married to a pious brother I held myself to that thought. But guess what the first few weeks of my marriage my husband already asked me I should gain weight because I'm very skinny.

He asked me numerous times and the first time already started on our wedding night(!) After a few months he carefully asked me again to gain weight to obtain bigger curves. That day I cried and I told him that he hurt me so badly by mentioning those words.

As if my nightmare and fear came true. Afterwards, he became aware of his actions and since that day he never asked me about my weight again.

We forgave each other but I still cannot forget what he said because that's what he truly wants; having a curvy wife.

I try to not bring up that topic again even though at certain moments I still feel hurt and sad for him saying and wanting such a thing.

We have issues with intimacy too (not because of my insecurity) so for now we can't have babies.

My only hope now to obtain a curvier body is to get pregnant in the future.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

Sister, please do get a medical checkup just to rule out any remote possibility of health/hormonal problems. 

Insha’Allah, if you can focus on body positive thoughts and behaviors for at least 30 days it should become ingrained in your thinking to love yourself and your body overtime.

Start keeping a journal about the positive aspects of your personality and your body. If you feel the urge to be self- negative refer to your Journal and fill your mind with positive self-thoughts and love.

Make duaa to Allah to help you overcome your dissatisfactions and to develop self-love. Ask Allah swt to Grant you ease and mercy in this transition from self-critique to self-acceptance and appreciation.

Insha’Allah sister if you have the time, try to do some charity work surrounding refugees and immigrants. This may give you an opportunity to see others who are less fortunate and a different light compared to yourself.


As salamu alaykum sister,

Shokran for writing to us with your concerns.

As I understand your concerns you are a 30 year old Asian woman. And ever since you were a teenager you have been very insecure about your body ,especially your chest.

You are currently married and while you were worried about your figure. You thought that your husband would be accepting of your lack of curves as he was Muslim. However, after a few months of marriage he did ask you to gain weight and you were devastated. 

Body Dissatisfaction

Sister as you know everyone comes in all sizes and shapes and forms. The main thing in this life is that we are healthy. However, as we are human, there will be some things about our bodies that possibly we do not like or we wish we could change.

This is a common feeling among a lot of people. While dissatisfaction with certain body parts or one’s figure may be a common concern for some people, it does not usually lead into a situation where it affects the person’s whole life and how they feel about themselves. 

I Have Always Been Insecure About My Body - About Islam

Opposite Wishes

It appears that your main concern centers around the size of your breast. While there are many women who are flat-chested. There are other women who have huge breasts and wish that they were smaller.

While I do not recommend beauty magazines. If you do look at them you may see that a lot of the women who are models are very petite and usually small breasted. The point is, what you do not like (small breasts, small body) others wish they had!

Focus on What you do Like

 I would kindly suggest insha’Allah that perhaps you focus on parts of your appearance and body that you are pleased with. Examine yourself in a light of positivity and love.

For instance, if you have a nice flat stomach you may want to focus on that. If you have nice eyes, hair, that may be a positive focal point. Are you a loving, compassionate person? Focus on that.

The aim in redirecting your thoughts and energy is to bring you to a point wherein you are focusing on the positive. And not the negative so that you can develop a body positive image. 

Getting Beyond Perceived Imperfections

Getting beyond what we view as imperfections in our body is sometimes difficult. However as long as we are taking care of our bodies and trying to maintain health with good eating habits and exercise. We often need to remember that Allah created us as he thought we should be and Allah Knows Best. 

Journaling to Self-Love and Self-Acceptance

Insha’Allah sister, try to write down and keep a journal of things that are positive. About yourself as a person and your body. Make a list of all the things that you like about your personality, traits, and body, and review them daily.

When you start thinking about how you wish you had a larger breasts and that you are too small, look at your list of positives and tell yourself you are “Perfect Just the Way You Are.” 


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Developing a Mental Habit

Insha’Allah, if you can focus on body positive thoughts and behaviors for at least 30 days it should become ingrained in your thinking to love yourself and your body overtime.

If you start to think negatively about your body picture a red stop sign-and interject positive visuals and thoughts about yourself.

Remind yourself that you are grateful and happy for the fit, healthy, beautiful body Allah gave you.

Health Check

As your mother was concerned when you were younger about your growth and development and suggested you see a doctor, perhaps you would like to schedule an appointment just to rule out any hormonal problems or things that may cause smaller growth patterns.

This is a suggestion more for health than anything else. Insha’Allah your health will check out to be fine and the only thing you’ll need to work on is loving yourself for the beautiful woman Allah created. 

Husband Requested Weight Gain

As far as your husband is concerned, if your husband wanted a curvy woman he would have married one. It seems that he is fine with you and he’s attracted to you, however perhaps because you are on the petite side maybe he was worried that you were not eating enough which is a natural response when you care about somebody.

Since you already feel bad and self-conscious, possibly you took his well-meaning comments the wrong way. Sometimes when one is focused on something such as a trait, a habit, or something else that one wishes to change, sensitivity can set in, and a seemingly innocent comment can hurt.

Intimacy Issues

You mentioned that you’re having issues with intimacy that has nothing to do with your insecurities. I am not sure what that is about as you did not elaborate, however I encourage you and your husband to try to resolve these issues. Intimacy is important when building a closeness and bond in marriage. 

Conclusion

Sister please do get a medical checkup just to rule out any remote possibility of health/hormonal problems.  I’m sure there is nothing going on or anything that could harm your health but as your mom once suggested it, it is good to rule out any medical reasons for a small frame.

Start keeping a journal about the positive aspects of your personality and your body. If you feel the urge to be self- negative refer to your Journal and fill your mind with positive self-thoughts and love.

Make duaa to Allah to help you overcome your dissatisfactions and to develop self-love. Ask Allah swt to Grant you ease and mercy in this transition from self-critique to self-acceptance and appreciation.

Insha’Allah sister if you have the time, try to do some charity work surrounding refugees and immigrants. This may give you an opportunity to see others who are less fortunate and a different light compared to yourself. Not only does helping others make us feel good, but it also gives us a different perspective on ourselves and life.

If after trying to overcome your negative self-image you are unable to, please do see a counselor in your area for therapy. We wish you the best.

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees are liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-the-counselor/self-issues-ask-about-counselor/i-hate-my-body/

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-the-counselor/mental-health/why-am-i-anxious-and-how-to-overcome-it/

https://aboutislam.net/reading-islam/living-islam/comfort-of-the-heart-vs-comfort-of-the-body/

About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach.
Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.