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Body Image

Summer is officially here

 

Pools are open, vacations are planned, and swimsuits have been displayed in department stores for months. 

 

Swimsuit season.

 

How does that make you feel?

 

If you tense up a bit, you aren’t alone. 

 

I love summer. It’s my favorite.

 

I’m a beach girl, a swimmer, and a sun worshipper, and I have struggled with body dysmorphia most of my life. 

 

I went on the first of many diets when I was 11 years old. 

 

As a child, I heard my mother constantly talk about how fat she was and how much weight she needed to lose.

 

I grew up in 70’s and 80’s culture where you couldn’t be thin enough. 

 

I developed eating disorders and a body image that bullied me for years. 

 

I’m also a very intelligent, capable, independent woman who knows my appearance does not define me.

 

And yet, it’s a stronghold.

 

It's not as strong as it used to be, but it’s there. 

 

How can it not be?

 

According to Marketresearch.com, as of 2023, the weight loss industry is valued at $89.9 billion and is expected to grow to $93.8 billion in 2024. 

 

We know this. 

 

We know weight loss is big business.

 

We know societal beauty standards are impossible to achieve.

 

We know we are all different shapes and sizes.

 

We know we are supposed to love and accept ourselves just as we are. 

 

But why is it so darn hard?

 

Because the problem is not in our heads; it’s in our nervous system.



To be beautiful, according to the current societal standards, has been wired into our DNA since the beginning of history. 

 

It’s an unconscious and automatic survival skill, just like breathing. 

 

For as long as we know, women have been dependent upon the approval of others for their very survival. 

 

For most of history women were considered property and outside of marriage financial survival was impossible. 

 

So, it makes sense that we are so internally driven to focus on our external appearance. 

 

But on top of the angst we feel about our bodies, we beat ourselves up because we are strong, intelligent women, and we think we shouldn’t care so much or be so vain. 

 

It comes at us from all sides, and it really stinks. 


 

 

If you feel stuck in this pattern, it’s because your primitive brain (survive) is in opposition to your evolved brain (thrive).

 

You know your shape or size does not reflect your worth, but a subconscious part of you wants to protect you by telling you to try harder because you are not good enough.

 

And by the way, you will never be good enough for this part of you because what even is enough anyway?

 

We judge ourselves, and we judge each other. 

 

It’s so painful.


 

The only answer to that pain is self-compassion. 

 

That judgmental part of you is scared. 

 

She needs to feel seen, heard and cared for by your authentic self. 

 

Don’t bully her back.

 

Give her a voice. 

 

Tell her, of course, you don’t feel good enough; of course, you’re scared.

 

That makes so much sense.

 

This is a tender issue for all of us, and it requires self-love and self-compassion to heal.

 

It’s so tender and so deep that I’m crying as I write. 

 

The more we practice loving self-compassion, the more we will heal that part of us, and the quieter that critical voice will become. 

 

Friend, you are not alone in this, and it’s not your fault. 

 

Let’s rebel against this system of oppression by listening, loving, and supporting ourselves and each other. 

 

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