Has negative body image affected your life? Can that body image change? Can we learn to love ourselves at any age; any size?
Personally, negative body image consumed alot of my teenage years and young adult life. I have had weight and self esteem issue for so long, its hard to imagine a time when it didn't affect my life of my choices. Where did it come from? Many different factors made me judge myself and my looks very harshly. I come from a divorced family...normally i do not use that as an excuse for anything because my mother did her best to raise 3 children on her own and we had very loving and supportive grandparents. But, my father....who left when i was not quite 8 years old was a drinker and could be very verbally and physically abusive; he had women outside the marriage. When I was very young he was my role model for how men treated women....not a great example to be sure. As a result of his leaving, I was thrust into accepting a lot of responsibility at a very young age. I helped my mom with my brother and sister....I cooked alot...etc. Sadly, my father's side of the family had little if anything o do with us after my father left. Emotionally, I turned inward on myself for many different reasons and gained alot of weight. I ate to self sooth.
Being overweight and heading into puberty, especially being a girl left me open to alot of verbal abuse from other children.....i used to get verbally abused even beat up in a few instances by boys and because i wasn't "cool"....i had a very small group of friends and was not included in the "popular" girls crowd.
This extended into my young adult years when i was dating. When you have a young man you have been dating tell you that he only went out with you to see what it was like to be with a girl who had, "personality" rather than "looks" hurt like hell when i was 19/20 years old.
The list goes on but i won't get anymore personal than that at the moment. The fact is we all have reasons for why we view ourselves in a negative manner. So how do we change it?
I had to figure out (and it took many years) that I was worth it to get out of the muck and mire I allowed myself to wallow in. I'm 42 and still working on that. I had to make a conscious decision to cut the crap and negative people out of my life. It's a process of self discovery and sometime you don't like what comes up or what you see but trust me when i say that we are stronger than we think and life is so worth the attempt at being positive.
It takes years to build that negative self image so don't assume it will change or go away over night. Counseling helps...prayer...meditation...writing...dance...tai chi...these are just a few tools to use to help change your negative near sightedness into a positive outlook on yourself and life in general. Discover that :thing" that gives you energy or charges your excitement and creativity and use it to help you see just how great you are. You need to build yourself up so no one can or will ever tear you down again. Be strong...but remember than in that strength comes a vulnerability that enhances you...don't allow it to scare you or cause you too shut down. You have to be open mentally and emotionally or change won't occur.
You are not to blame for others actions or reactions to you, but you are to blame if you allow yourself to shrivel up and die because of another's actions or insensitivity. Don't necessarily change the way you look..although change is good sometimes....learn to appreciate who you are; right now; in this moment. Find something good....your smile..your eyes....your hair....there is always something good about you. Focus on that and use it as a stepping stone to find another positive. Don't wait for someone to give you a compliment.....give yourself one instead!
You are worth the time and effort it will take to turn the tide in your life!
I am still looking for ideas to write about. If you have something to share or an idea that I and the rest of us curvy ladies out there need to know about, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time....
heather mcalendin 2012