Self Image & Body Image
and i said to my body. softly. ‘i want to be your friend. it took a long breath. and replied ‘i have been waiting my whole life for this.
– Nayyirah Waheed
It’s all too common to feel uncomfortable in your body
There’s a book called Living With Your Body And Other Things You Hate, and it keeps company with many more aimed at helping with body image, self image and self-esteem. If you struggle with feeling good about yourself or your body, you are very much not alone.
We live in a world rampant with messages about how you’re not enough the way you are – that you should be more, do more, loose weight, gain weight, be smarter, be quieter, be bolder. It goes on and on.
These messages come from the impersonal outside world through the media, advertising, entertainment and so on. They also come from within our families, communities and social circles. Some of them are bold and explicit, while others lie beneath the surface, unspoken but powerful.
Not liking yourself can be a shameful secret
While it is common to have struggles with not feeling good about yourself, it can also be something that you keep to yourself and keep hidden. You may be embarrassed or feel that it’s not okay to admit your insecurities or vulnerability.
On the surface it may even seem that you have confidence and there may be many parts of you that you do like and feel good about. But when you have deeper feelings that you are in some ways not enough, this can be painful and color the rest of your experience.
Not feeling good about yourself takes a toll
When you carry the weight of not feeling good about who you are or feeling dissatisfied with your body, whether it’s subtle or fierce, it holds you back. It restricts your ability to dive into doing the things you want with freedom and pleasure. It makes relationships harder and feel less comfortable. And it can make you feel less like who you really are.
When you don’t feel that you are good enough in some way, you can live with an underlying pressure that you have to prove yourself, do more, work harder or fix everything. You may struggle with blatant or disguised perfectionism and feel that you’ll never get anything done unless you are hard on yourself.
Your body is your home, and it knows how you feel about yourself. It feels any negative vibes you have and responds to them. On the outside, this can affect your posture and the way you move through your environment. On the inside, it can cause tension, unease, anxiety, or a sense of feeling small or insignificant.
Let’s highlight some of the self and body image issues that we can help with:
Learning that being highly sensitive is a gift and makes you exceptional, not lacking
When you are highly sensitive or emphatic, you can be vulnerable to messages that you are not okay the way you are and make you doubt yourself. Learning to value your unique strengths frees you to value and protect who you are.
Appreciating your differences and finding your own community for support
When you feel different than others, it’s easy to withdraw into a shell to protect yourself from teasing or shaming. Self-compassion can help you value yourself and learn to make connections with others who will accept and love you.
Reclaiming trust and enjoyment of yourself and you body when you are a trauma survivor
Trauma can steal your sense of yourself, make you think you have done something wrong, and make you distrust your body. As you heal, you can reconnect with yourself, feel safe and empowered, and feel at home in your body.
Rebuilding a positive relationship with food, eating, and your body as you recover from an eating disorder
Eating disorders mirror a distorted sense of self and body and negative self-perception can haunt you. Regenerating a new relationship with yourself that is kind, loving, and peaceful is part of the healing process.
Developing a sense of ease with sexual or gender identity
Sexual orientation or gender identity questions make it hard to feel at home in yourself and lead to hiding yourself from others. As you learn what is true for you and find ways to express yourself that feel right, you can gain more comfort in yourself and your own body.
Finding ways to stay connected to yourself in the face of physical, emotional or relational change
You can lose sight of yourself when confronted with life changes or obstacles. Cultivating care and kindness toward yourself can help you navigate hurdles and remain true to yourself.
How we help: Feeling more authenticity, zest & confidence
You are your own constant companion. Imagine what it would be like to feel like you were truly your own best friend and advocate. If that seems too far-fetched, perhaps you can taste the desire to be kinder to yourself and like yourself just a little bit more.
When we work with self image and body image issues, we start with helping you to move out of a self-judgmental stance and shift to a more open-minded curiosity. We gently work to help you feel safe enough notice and share the ways you don’t feel good about yourself and gently begin to make changes.
Mindfulness and mind-body awareness help you to move from negativity to self-love and acceptance. Creativity helps you to see who you really are. Self-compassion can help you be more open to seeing and experiencing yourself differently, and you begin to have a greater sense of your whole self.
When you like yourself and your body, you have a sense of freedom and confidence. Feeling alive and energetic lets you step into your life more boldly, with creativity and a sense of adventure.
If this sounds like something you’d like more of, we’d love to talk with you about the possibility of working together. Please get in touch to schedule a complimentary phone consultation.