Dealing with a Distorted Body Image

There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. ― Steve Maraboli

There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. ― Steve Maraboli

Every day, I fight the urge to look in the mirror and say, “I hate you.” While sitting, my stomach seems to bulge out. Walking around makes me conscious of my legs. When I smile, I worry about my teeth being white enough. The list of negative thoughts about my body goes on and on.

Most people seem uncomfortable in their own skin. As sad as it is, our society teaches us that early in life. Makeup, hair, and other beauty products promise to make us look better. Clothing is marketed as “slimming,” “thinning,” or “reducing.”

Take a moment to think about that last word: “reducing.” Doesn’t that mean to take away something that you have, to make you less than you were? Since when was that a positive thing?

Which brings up the good point: why are we so terrified of our bodies? Battling to care for and not despise my body is draining. There are many times when I want to give up and restrict again. Other times, I feel the urge to binge. After all, if I am already fat and ugly, why not go all out and stuff down my emotions and problems with food?

These past few weeks have been especially hard on my body image. For Lent, I am fasting from body checking. No more pinching my stomach or standing for long periods in front of the mirror. Instead, that time is being used doing useful things and praying. I have given up many things for Lent in the past, but this is by far the hardest fast yet. Sometimes, my will nearly caves, and I long to run to a bathroom to inspect my appearance.

Yet, I am staying strong. It might be miserable right now. Each moment away from the mirrors and criticizing myself, however, brings me closer to recovery. Little by little, I am making my way to a better place mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Dealing with this is not easy. I encourage you to keep it up despite the struggle. All of the work that you do trying to love yourself and see yourself in a positive light will pay off one day. It might take years, but there is hope for a future where we embrace our bodies and what they help us to do instead of punishing them for not matching up to an impossible ideal.

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Dealing with a Distorted Body Image

  1. This is a great article. I agree. Maybe when talking about clothes saying that is so slimming might not be the best thing to say. Perhaps a simple you look really beautiful in that, or wow that color is beautiful on you might be a better way to go.

  2. celinemurray says:

    Thank you for this one Anna Rose. I think we all need to hear this.

  3. From Tumblr: “Who taught me to suck in my stomach, or my cheeks? Who told me to stand with my legs apart and my hips thrust back to create the illusion of a gap between my thighs? Who made me believe that the most beautiful part of me is my negative space?” I find that quote incredibly beautiful and helpful when I’m struggling with the fact that I only feel beautiful when I’m underweight.

    “While sitting, my stomach seems to bulge out. Walking around makes me conscious of my legs. When I smile, I worry about my teeth being white enough.” This perfectly describes my feelings about my body. I haven’t shown my teeth when I smile in years and no matter what I do, unless I wear really baggy clothing, I become self-conscious of my body fat (I’m not actually fat… I just happen to have a normal amount of body fat and feel bad about it).

    • Wow, that is a great quote! The ending is especially powerful. Negative space is not even part of us, but we treat it like the most important thing. How sad. My hope for you is that you can one day flash a bright smile without fear and wear whatever you want with comfort. Also, it is great to see that you can acknowledge (at least logically) that you are not fat. That is a start in the right direction.

    • Jen says:

      That Tumblr quote was definitely the first thing I thought of too 🙂

  4. cherished79 says:

    This is me, body checking…..gotta stop but it’s difficult. Good article.

  5. cherished79 says:

    Thanks so much, you too.

Please share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s