Change Your Thinking
Change Your Body Image
In many ways, our body image is a choice. We can train ourselves to be happier and more satisfied with how we look. It’s a matter of changing our thinking patterns.
When I make art, I make mistakes. Inevitably, some part of my artwork doesn’t turn out exactly the way I planned. I try to “fix” it, of course, but at some point I need to just decide to let it go. Art is never going to be perfect. I see my mistakes so clearly that I assume everyone else will see them too. But I have discovered that when I show someone else my art they often don’t notice my “mistakes”. Other people are not seeing my art the way I do. I am much more critical of what I’ve made. At this point, I have a choice. I can either accept my art with its flaws or I can reject it because some part of it is not perfect. If I focus on the negative parts of my art, I feel bad about myself. If I choose to focus on the positive parts of my art, I feel good about myself.
This relates to body image. If we choose to focus on the parts of our bodies that aren’t perfect, we feel bad about ourselves. If we acknowledge and accept our flaws, but choose to focus on our good parts, we feel better about ourselves. Is it realistic to feel like all the parts of our bodies could be perfect? Probably not. Is it OK for us to acknowledge there are parts we wish were different and work towards making them better through healthy diet and exercise? Yes. The problem comes when we can’t see the good parts because we choose to focus on the bad all the time.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Where do your ideas about what you should look like come from? Do they come from the media? Your mother/sister/friends? What messages did you get as a child about your body?
- What happens when you see a model on TV or in a magazine? Do you say, “I wish I looked like that” or do you say, “She’s pretty” and move on.
- What is your internal dialogue about your body? Do you focus on the negative or try to look at the positive?
- What do you do when someone compliments your appearance? Do you make excuses and point out the bad things? Or do you accept the compliment with a simple thank you?
- Are you being too hard on yourself? Are your expectations realistic?
Things to try:
- Next time you get complimented, accept the complement with a smile and say, “Thank you!”
- Write a list of the things you like about your body and put it somewhere you can see it (like on your bathroom mirror). If you can’t think of any…try harder. You can at least come up with a couple of things.
- When you find yourself focusing on the negative parts of your body, try to switch to something positive. Let the negative thoughts go and think of something positive about yourself.
- Listen to yourself talk and be aware of where these thoughts are coming from. Is this something you heard your mom say? Were you always comparing yourself to a sister or friend who you thought was prettier?
- Remember that other people are not scrutinizing you like you are scrutinizing yourself. Ask your friends some of the good things they notice about you. You may be surprised at what they notice about you.
We are going to be discussing Body Image at Emotional Fitness on Friday Feb 20 at 10am and Saturday Feb 21 at 9am. Sign up http://fitchickexpress.com/
Ann Noble, MA, LPC,ATR
Contributing post from Ann Noble~Fit Chick Express
If you would like more information about Ann Noble, or more information about our fitness program for women, visit us at www.FitChickExpress.com.