We live in a body toxic world. Approximately one out of every three TV commercials is about physical attractiveness. We are obsessed with weight loss, yet even those who successfully lose weight are still not satisfied with their appearance, “I would be happier if I lost five more pounds.” People who have cosmetic surgery often return for another procedure, as they become preoccupied with the mirror. “You look great,” is often countered with, “Really?” Body dissatisfaction does not promote healthy behaviors. Being preoccupied with appearance is a way to avoid facing internal unhappiness and feeling out of control.
Emotional attributes of body dissatisfaction:
- Do you crave recognition and validation?
- Do you wish that you looked like someone else, perhaps a celebrity?
- Do you believe that you will never get what you want?
- Does it seem to you that other people get the attention you deserve?
- Do you think about what you should have said?
- Are you afraid to be honest?
- Do you compare yourself to the most attractive person in a room?
- Does the number on the scale control how you feel about yourself?
To improve your body image you need a change in perception. However, how do you change what you see in the mirror? Try the Japanese wabi-sabi
philsophy of existence which delights in imperfection, the tarnish on an ancient silver bowl and the old uneven cobblestones. Wabi-sabi
accepts the cycle of life and looks to reset one’s rhythm in nature. It is also about downsizing and simplicity, learning to find the most simple objects inspiring and beautiful. Wabi-sabi
can change your perception of the world where a crack in an antique gives it greater meditative value. As they age, wood, paintings, sculpture and fabric can be observed to transform into something new and powerful. Now extend this philosophy to your possessions and ultimately to your wrinkles! Can you see that you become more inspiring, improving with age? What kind of buried treasure lurks in your spirit?
To improve your body image challenge your thoughts with this logical query: Are thinner people happier?
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life
, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout
and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul,
a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com