Body Image and Self Image
Body and Self Image
There are two very powerful sides to who we think we are. Body Image is how we perceive ourselves as a physical body – what we think we look like. Self Image is how we perceive ourselves as people – who we are and what is important to us.
Unfortunately, we have allowed our society to place more importance on what we look like than on who we are. Society places more value on someone who is beautiful, than someone who is good person, or who brings value or change to other people, or someone who contributes to our society.
Ask yourself this question, which of these two things are more important to you? What your body looks like, or who you are? What really matters is who you are, not what you look like. Many feel that their life would be so much better if they just looked a certain way. Looking a certain way does not change who you are.
Body Image and Self Image are two separate concepts. Who we are and what we look like are two very distinct and different things.
To help you let go of your image of your physical body and focus on your emotional body, try these exercises.
Make a list of just a few things that are the most important to you, as a person. Who do you want to be? What things do you want to accomplish as a human being?
Do the above ideas relate in any way to what your body looks like, or is able to do? If so, how?
Make a list of 10 things about who you are (non-physical attributes) that you love and are proud of. If you are having trouble with this list, ask your friends and family to help you.
Now make a list of 10 things about your body that you love.
For this next exercise, make a list, or draw a picture of what you think your body looks like.
Next make a list, or draw a picture, of what you think a healthy body looks like.
What differentiates your present body with your idea of a healthy body?
Is the transformation you are seeking realistic? What is realistic?
What changes need to occur – in your body, in your self, and in your lifestyle – in order for a realistic transformation to take place?
Looking back at your list of 10 things about who you are, how many of them would change if you looked like the picture you drew of what a healthy body looks like?
Make a timeline of events in your life that have contributed to your body image. Include childhood and adulthood events that have contributed positively and negatively.
Make a list of people in your present life that contribute to your body image. Divide the list into people who affect you positively and negatively.
Make a list of people in your present life who contribute to your self-image. Divide the list into people who affect you positively and negatively.
What you have just created is a list of people that can support you when you are feeling negatively about your body or yourself. They can help you acknowledge the positives attributes that you have. When you are feeling negatively, this list will identify who you should avoid until you are feeling better.
It’s always easier to feel and be positive around positive people. Is there anyone in your life that as a positive attitude that you could spend more time with than you currently do?
Understanding Self Talk
Most beliefs are formed by words and can be changed by words. How we speak to ourselves has a powerful impact on how we feel about who we are and what we look like. You may be surprised by some of the negative comments you make to yourself throughout the day. Would you turn to a coworker when they arrived to work and tell them they looked fat today? Would you tell a child they were stupid or clumsy? Would you tell a friend not to bother to apply for that job, because they weren’t worthy of it? Of course not! Yet, can you think of a time you said something similar to yourself? By changing how you speak to yourself – the words you use to describe how you look or who you are – you can change how you think and feel about yourself.
In order to break the pattern of negative self talk, we must first identify how you speak to yourself.
In the space provided, list 10 negative comments or statements you have made to yourself. I.e. “I look ugly today”, “I am so stupid!”, “If I could only…”.
Now, list 20 positive statements or comments you can replace your negative self talk with.
I.e. “I am sexy”, “I am smart”, “When I …”
You have just created a list of empowering statements. These positive statements will form your belief system on how you feel you look and who you are. Refer to this list and add to it as you come up with new and empowering statements.