Imagine this. You are having the best day outside with your friends, the sun is shining, and everyone is in a great mood. You went out cycling and swam in the ocean for the first time in a while. You are lying in the warmth of the sun while joking around with your friends. You come back from this fun day, in a great mood until you look into the mirror. That’s when you think the words “I look terrible, I’m fat and my hair looks awful. I can’t believe I looked like this all day.” Just like that, the day is shattered, and you are in a bad mood. This was my experience just the other week. My belief is that I am not worthy because my body is not perfect. It should be said that I do not think and believe this thought all the time, but it is enough where I feel as if it effects my life negatively. This stems from growing up around women who constantly talked about the imperfections of their body. It comes from a culture that is body obsessed, where a lot of a woman’s value is placed on what she looks like.
Body image is a person's thoughts, feelings and perception of the aesthetics or sexual attractiveness of their own body. Negative body image is seeing your own body in a negative light and it has been a worldwide problem for many decades. Some of the consequences of negative body image include anxiety, depression, eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, and exercising excessively.
Everyone seems to have had some variation of this kind of moment when a single thought can turn a fun day into a bad one. The reaction is almost unconscious, it is a negative thought that has been repeated over and over again without question so many times before that it’s rarely noticeable how much it affects you.
It is a slow process to overcome this every day, but it starts with awareness of how heavy the thought feels. Then questioning if the thought is true and if it is worth having. This process. has helped me slowly overcome negative body image, it has taken me a while to realize that the progress will not be linear but that it will eventually get better.
Inquiry-based Stress Reduction is Based on The Work of Byron Katie, ©2020 Byron Katie International, all rights reserved. www.thework.com.
By: Zandi Bosua, Intern at Beyond Stigma