When Emotions and Body Image Collide
Updated: Feb 13
You look in the mirror and stare with disdain at the reflection you see. You are five outfits in and thirty minutes late, and nothing is right. You finally settle on something feeling discouraged, defeated, and self-conscious. It has to be your body, right? If it would only do what you want it to do, look how you want it to look, then everything would be alright. The truth is your body is fine, lovely, in fact, regardless of its shape or size.
The real problem when you are feeling this way is all the emotions that are placed on your body, filling it up, making it feel like the enemy. Whether you tell yourself, you are too large or too small, too tall or too short, too this or too that, in the end, you are telling yourself that you are not enough and that is when it is time to take a quiet moment and ask yourself what is going on. It is so easy to focus on our bodies because when we are willing to look beyond that easy scapegoat the truth behind the self-loathing is often much harder to face.
There are so many emotions that can bring up body loathing, and yet they can be so hard to identify. Here are some questions to ask yourself the next time you find yourself in this painful cycle.
Are you feeling insecure? Whether it is regarding a relationship, school, work performance, or doubting the ability to measure up to some unknown standard, insecurity is an awful feeling. It creates fear, anxiety, depression, and makes us judge ourselves harshly.
Are you feeling angry? Women are often uncomfortable with anger, especially anger cast outward. It is so much easier to turn it onto ourselves, where it will simmer and eat away at our self-confidence.
Are you sad? Have you been hurt, left feeling a bit damaged and unsteady? So often in our sadness, we put on a smile and push forward, and that sadness gets buried and denied where it can seep out in ways we don’t realize.
Are you feeling anxious? Anxiety can often tie back to feeling insecure, but even good things can produce anxiety. A new job, a new relationship, a possible promotion, being a new parent. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the anxiety and fear of possibly losing a job, the end of a relationship, money problems. Anxiety makes us feel on edge, and we will often do anything to ease that feeling, even if it means focusing on our bodies and all of its perceived crimes against us.
The next time you find yourself berating your body for merely being a body, take a deep breath, and if you have to, cover up the mirror. It is not a reflection of the real you at this moment; it has become a reflection of all those emotions and judgments you are holding inside.
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