How often do we link our self worth with what we see in the mirror? Is body image how you look? No. Body image is NOT how you look, it’s how you THINK & FEEL about how you look! It can change with different seasons in life, with a good or bad night’s sleep, it can change depending on what you wear. It can depend on who you’re sitting next to, a comment someone made 5 minutes ago, last week, or 3 decades ago.
Body image and self-esteem are often intricately linked. Self-esteem is how we feel about our value, about how and if we matter and quite often when we’re not happy with HOW we look we somehow think that makes us unvaluable. You are not your body.
We ALL are self critical. We ALL have parts of our bodies that we don’t like/hate/loathe/feel shameful about. Parts of our body that we constantly hide, dress to distract from and hope other’s don’t notice. Part of developing a stronger self esteem and strong self body image is to accept that we aren’t perfect and never will be PERFECT. We need to learn to be confident & comfortable with who we are.
Body image can consume us so much that it can become debilitating. We can be more preoccupied in thinking about how we look that we become incredibly self-focussed. I know because for many years this has been me. This self-obsession can easily prevent us from actually getting on and doing what we were born to do in the world.
Apparently scientists have calculated that the chances of you being born when you were, where you were, to the parents you were is 1 in 4 TRILLION. To me, that’s no accident. You were planned with a purpose to be born when you were, where you where, to the family you were. You are not some kind of cosmic or evolutionary accident. I believe you were designed & created with your experiences, DNA, gifts, talents so that you can thrive being YOU in YOUR world. But if you’re so caught up with what the outside packaging looks like, then how can you ever be the influence in YOUR world that you could be?
How can you free up the mental real estate to plan, do and execute all the ideas and opportunities that come your way? We need to get over ourselves. We need to accept that our bodies have deficiencies and get on with life. It doesn’t mean we don’t look after ourselves, I strongly believe we need to do that, but we need to stop making our bodies our god. Put it into perspective. We are flawed. We are never going to be perfect but that doesn’t mean that we can be profoundly significant.
I completely understand that this can be a long road to wholeness and healing for many of us. It may well be a life long issue for many of us, but there are things we can do. We can begin to form our own little body image support team. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- surround yourself with people who build you up, encourage you, make you feel good about yourself and start to actually LISTEN to them and take on board what they say. Also check out this French Dove ad, made me cry.
- find some inspirational words/pictures (not the ripped body depressing ones!!) – make them screen savers on your computer, phone, tablet, print them out and put them up somewhere key for you.
- focus on your many many talents
- write a list of at least 5 things you LIKE about your body (and if you have the courage tell someone – you can always tell me! Send me an email ;-))
- I believe that as a person we are made up of a soul, spirit and a body, so we need to spend time developing our soul (interests, personality traits, strengths, talents, relationships) and our spiritual side too. For me that’s my Christian faith and a deep sense of knowing I have purpose & acceptance.
- learn how to dress for your shape – I have a lot to thank Trinny & Susannah for in this area!
- cut the crap and eat a healthy diet – start with cooking some of my recipes 😉 You’ll feel better when you take processed food, sugar, grains etc out of your diet
- there are some excellent resources online – here are links to just 2 YouTube clips I came across which I thoroughly enjoyed:
The more we talk about these issues in a positive and constructive way with each other, online discussions, with our kids the more little bit by little bit we can make a difference!