How I perceive myself moving through the world can be very ‘Sybil-ish’ depending on what day you catch me. Most days I feel content. I can recognize that the world is my oyster, even if I don’t feel like shucking any looking for pearls. And on good days, i can still muster up the ‘I can conquer the world!’ feeling – usually when I’m feeling particularly fit and healthy – or the handsome UPS man has tossed me a smile. But, on the odd bad day, I might just leave the house feeling a bit, ‘I’m not worthy…I’m not worthy-ish’ especially if my pants seem like they’re suddenly a size too small. I’m aware feeling unworthy is not an intellectual reaction to the way my pants fit, it’s emotional, but it still feels real and can effect my behavior.
How many of us can claim to have a realistic perception of what we look like on any given day? If you’re experiencing a bad hair day, you think your pants are too tight, or you realize that today when you look in the mirror your mother is smiling back at you, you’re probably allowing your body image to dictate how the rest of your day is going to go.
Having struggled with my weight off and on over many years, I have had some real dicey perceptions about my own image. Admittedly, as I get older I care less about how I look and much more about how I feel. Am I healthy? Do I feel strong and limber? What about endurance? Can I get through my day with a reasonable amount of zip and zest? Am I controlling my stress so that I’m able to enjoy my work and the people in my life? These are much loftier goals in my view and infinitely more challenging because I can no longer take any of them for granted.
So, is all the fuss over body image important in the scheme of things? I think it is if your self-image is healthy and unwavering – because only then can you let it go. If you’re interested in finding out more about how to create a positive body image, while ridding your head of those self-defeating voices, check out the books listed below:
The Body Image Workbook: An 8-Step Program for Learning to Like Your Looks by, Thomas F. Cash, Ph.D.
Taming Your Gremlin: A Guide to Enjoying Yourself by, Richard D. Carson