Let’s Get Practical About Body Image – From Princess to Queen, An Excerpt
Contributed by Dr Martha Tara Lee December 1, 2017
Body image does not just refer to aspects of our physical appearance, attractiveness, and beauty.
It also has to do with the mental picture you have of your own body, and as your thoughts, feelings, judgments, sensations, awareness and behaviour relate to that image.
Our relationship with our bodies is ever changing – sensitive to changes in mood, environment, and physical experiences – and not usually based on facts.
What we perceive of ourselves in the mirror is learned. We view our own physical attractiveness based on what is expected culturally, including from the media, our family, and our peers.
Your relationship with your body influences your behaviour, self esteem, and psyche. When we feel bad about our body, the satisfaction level with our own life overall decreases. This may cause myriad difficulties, in our sexuality, our career, and our relationships.
How do you shift towards a more healthy and positive view of self?
1. Go Deeper
Ask yourself: where is this negative body image I am experiencing coming from?
Are you simply influenced by all the negative messages of a woman’s body from the media?
Could you be caught in an ever-relentless pursuit of ever improving yourself and will never be happy with your body?
Are you projecting what others are thinking about you?
2. Recognize What This Is Really About
Be honest, ask your trusted friends and loved ones questions about what they think, and feel about their body image.
3. Do What You Can With What You Have
If you are not happy with your body or a part of your body and can do something (within means and limits) and without hurting yourself, could you do it?
What might be in the way of you doing something? Do you need support e.g. going for a jog while your child is being taken care of by your husband/ neighbor/ friend/relative?
Having explored or done what you can, can you live with it (the body part or parts concerned)? Can you transcend just living with “it” and develop a compassionate relationship with “it”? How about loving “it”?
Some ways you can learn to love every single part of your body includes being grateful that you have a body that supports you well, that functions, and allows you to experience life and all its facets.
5. Deepen Your Relationship With Your Body
Affirmations are positive statements we make in the present tense but we do not need to believe in them (at least not right away).
Examples include: “I love and accept every part of my body”, “I am grateful for how my body is strong. She supports and allows me to do all the amazing, wonderful things I want to and set out to accomplish,” “I love, honor and respect every single part of my body.”
6. Let Go Of The Rest
Having done what you can (such as exercise), worked through what you can (affirmations to move to self-acceptance, love, and compassion), it is time to let go of what you cannot control. Releasing statements begin with “I release”.
Examples include, “I release the need to be so hard on myself for not having the perfect body,” “I release my disappointment, guilt, shame, embarrassment for not being good enough.”
You can wrap up each releasing session with a positive statement such as, “I am doing what I can with what I have. I love and accept myself the way I am. I am a work in progress. I am better and better each day naturally and effortlessly. I allow life to heal, protect and flow through me.”
A negative body image is a serious problem and has damaging effects on one’s self-esteem. When you can smile back at your reflection in the mirror, you are well on your way to self-love and respect.
Love and enjoy the you inside.
This is an insightful excerpt from Dr. Martha Tara Lee’s latest book, From Princess To Queen – Heartbreaks, Heartgasms And Everything In-Between. Order your own digital or paperback copy here.