Are you the type of person whose mood is determined based on your opinion of what you see in the mirror each day?
Do you skip parties, celebrations, or just any kind of get together because the thought of getting dressed and trying to make yourself look good is the most daunting thing you could ever imagine?
Even though you enjoy working out, are you afraid to go to the gym because you don’t want to be in front of people?
Like many women, I’ve struggled with body image issues for years and years. We can debate all day about where and why they began. The fact of the matter is that they’re here and they can make a huge negative impact on our lives.
So, why do these thoughts fill our minds every single day and steal any thread of joy that lives in our hearts? To be a distraction.
Think about the times when your body image had the most negative effect on your life. During a break up? After you got fired from your job? During the grieving period of a loss of a loved one?
Our body image issues are our way of deflecting other stressors and focusing on a different part of us that we do not like very much or that we think we can control. People use this same coping mechanism by focusing on their career or lack of romantic relationships.
Personally, I know that my body image issues are always the most prevalent during times of transition or the holidays where I would be stressed out about family matters or expenses.
I came to this realization a couple of years ago and although it did not solve the problem, I am able to recognize these thoughts and look to solving any other issues that are causing me stress. I can also start to forgive myself for having these thoughts.
There was (and will be) a time where my body image issues did not rule my life. I remember days where I would literally get an adrenaline rush thinking about how fun my workout would be the next day. Now I just worry it will be painful because my body aches from depression.
I would jolt out of bed at 530 am on Monday mornings, excited for what was ahead. Lately, I try to sleep as long as I can so I don’t have to face the day and have the world see me.
I was excited to pick out my outfits for the next day and dress up. Right now I get scared for my best friend to visit because I can’t even get the confidence to put on nice clothes.
I am going through a depressive season, filled with all kinds of fears and worries. With those fears and worries come a negative body image. I’m concerned about a lot of different things right now as I make a huge life transition. To distract myself from what I am really fearing, I turn to the mirror and criticize every piece of my body and the decisions I made that day that might have affected it.
I know I can get back to the excited, energetic, fashionable person I once was. First, I must address the issues that are really fueling my fears because ignoring them and focusing on criticizing myself is definitely not productive. I have started to make some changes and with those changes comes hope. The destructive thoughts are occurring less throughout the day.
So, if you find yourself hating your body- I encourage you to look at the rest of your life. What’s really going on?
What else is shaking your confidence? Do one thing today that will move you closer to solving the other concerns in your life and watch as your confidence rises and your life changes.
Have you noticed that your body image gets worse when you are stressed? Let us know in the comments below.
If you think you might have a body image issue- visit the National Eating Disorder Association for more information and resources.