Positive Self Image
When I was 10 years old I recall lying in bed at night and telling God what He did wrong with my body. “My knees should look this way, etc.” And it got way worse from there.
Here’s what I’ve discovered about how to learn to have a positive self image:
Allow yourself to look at your past honestly. Where were the roots of this self-hatred planted? Was it criticism from family? Sexual abuse? Low self esteem and a tie-in into the media’s influence on body image? or something else?
Find ways to heal the past. Some suggestions are:
- Books like The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis and Healing the Shame that Binds You by John Bradshaw
- Other self-help books and classes
- Hire a therapist or coach to either help you heal emotionally or teach you how to do it yourself.
- Try out some 12-Step groups
- Then learn how the mind works and how to reprogram it. You can learn that from some coaches like me and the movie What the Bleep and, I’m sure, many other places.
- Going through this process works best when you have understanding support in the form of friends or a life coach or a therapist.
- Probably most important of all is to remember that Life Is a School and it’s all for the learning.
What I have learned is that I am lovable no matter my body shape or age or size. Also, I’ve noticed that many women and girls share this path with me. I know we all have our own way of resolution but it is a problem that can be unraveled. Don’t give up on yourself. You create your self image from the inside. Changing your outwardly appearance will not make you feel any better. Finding your inner beauty and building on your positive self image will help you find the beauty on the outside.
After I gave birth to my first child, I somehow thought I’d have my old body back immediately. It was bad enough that I hated the pre-pregnancy one but now it had a flabby stomach, was much bigger, was not at all OK with me. And I suddenly developed a need to snack on potato chips in the middle of the day!
Over the years I went the route of Weight Watchers, diets, self-hatred, confusion, Overeaters Anonymous, shame and disgust. I’ve weighed all the way up to the 180′s and even when I weighed what I thought was acceptable, I still thought I was too fat and just didn’t look any good.
I recall at some point noticing that although I didn’t like how I looked in the mirror or pictures at the current time, sometimes I looked back at pictures from the past and now liked how I looked. Progress. At least my poor body image was becoming a healthy body image about some pictures from my past.
Eventually I discovered that I pretty much liked myself and pretty much was experiencing a positive body image even though I was overweight.
Today I weigh a very good weight for my 70 year old body and I totally love how I look. I’ve weighed this weight before and didn’t like how it looked at all even though it was 25 years younger, so it’s definitely not the weight that I’m at. It’s the learning to love myself no matter what I look like.