Thoughts on Body Image

For no other reason than being random, I wanted to take a moment to share how I’m feeling about the topic of body image these days: 

Generally, I make a conscious effort not to mention how I feel about my body to others; let me confess,  ‘it’s complicated’. During my 42 years here on this earth, I have been held captive by my fluctuating sense of body image for at least 32 of them.  Excuse me while I take a moment to mourn the time I’ve lost thinking about how my weight, height and shape defines me.  It’s like a merry-go-round. What I wouldn’t give to get off.

How I see myself is my business, or is it? Doesn’t my personal sense of body image affect how other people view me, themselves and others? Thinking of the people who are near and dear to my heart, I’ve ripped them off somewhat.  I haven’t been 100% ‘present’ in our experiences together because there’s a part of me that’s distracted with my sense of body image. Cases in point:

  • Getting ready to go out for dinner and changing a few times over because I ‘look fat in that dress’ followed by asking my husband and son how I look (followed by telling them they don’t know what they’re talking about);
  • Chastising myself for eating something ‘bad’ and proceeding to ruminate about all the exercising I will need to do in order to rid myself of the potential consequences;
  • Feeling awkward in social settings when I am feeling less than stellar about how I look.
  • Letting my body image even be a part of how I define myself.

What do these actions tell the people I love?

  • I don’t trust their opinions;
  • They should be worrying about their body image and everyone else’s for that matter;
  • Who I am depends on the way I look;
  • The time we spend together isn’t enough to fulfil me.

I’m sad that I’ve wasted so much time.  I’m worried my actions have impacted how my son views himself and others. I’m confused because I don’t agree with using body image as a source of judgement but then use it to self judge.  Frankly, I’m rather exhausted of the whole idea that body image is even part of what defines me or anyone else. Of course, I think overall health includes exercise and healthy eating but I need that mental picture I have to move beyond the physical and include way more focus on soul.

Oregon 2011 173

Now, go outside and play with all abandon

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7 thoughts on “Thoughts on Body Image

  1. I think regardless how we look, we’ll always have those “days” of changing our outfits multiple times just because it just doesn’t feel or look right. Don’t beat yourself up Holli! You’re beautiful and ya know it! 🙂

  2. Well as you probably know I am pretty far out compared to the mainstream….but this got me thinking about how I deal with body image so I thought, what the heck I’ll comment.

    Input is so, so huge. When I hear your fears about body image, I hear the external pressures and social constructs e.g. “how will I look/appear/present.” The kicker of course is that women/girls in our culture are cut both ways, pushed to “look good” while also being criticized for working so hard.

    I only mention this because your own personal perspective, when you truly tune in, is more important than presentation. And obviously when you get too far into the presentation, it’s pretty hard to tell what’s your perspective. To which I say, jettison magazines, TV, movies, websites, unless they are interested in the right stuff. Incidentally, you are quite beautiful in my opinion, when defined by sense of humor, thoughtfullness, and passion (I suspect your husband and son would agree).

    • Joe,

      Thanks for posting your thoughts on this topic. I really do appreciate these and I’m glad they elicited a comment from you. That push and pull is exactly what I do feel and often subconsciously I think. It’s interesting to stop for a moment and take a step back to think about where they come from and how I (and we) react to them.

      Clearly I think too much (add a touch of sarcasm) but it feels good to push my limits.

      PS- I enjoy reading your posts!

  3. I will admit that I spend a lot of time thinking about my body. I keep reminiscing about the days of yester years but I do very little to change my shape. I have not thought about all the energy that I put into thinking about my body and discussing it with others. Thank for this awesome post. I will be more conscious how I view my body and how I am connecting that to myself worth.

    • Thanks for commenting. I agree that I’m often unaware that I’m even thinking about body image. Perhaps it’s habit. I just don’t want to pass the habit on or contribute to it if I can help it. So much easier said than done! That’s ok, just a little shift in thinking can go along way. Take care and appreciate your thoughts.

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