Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Dealing With Body Image And Esteem Issues

I belong to a group of young ladies and we discuss everything that affects our lives. One issue we all consciously try to help ourselves with is the issue of body image. For some, it has been something they have been fighting with since they were younger and for others it came with child birth or other ways.  My mum tried her best in trying to make sure we understand that we are so much more than our physical appearance. Despite her constant exhortations, growing older has taught me that there are some realizations one comes to by oneself. Because for a long time, I was enveloped in thoughts of outward perfection until recently when some events helped me to get a deeper understanding of self love and self worth.
I remember walking in on someone really close to me as she was tracing the new lines of stretch mark on her protruding tummy with tears in her eyes. She was devastated her body was changing. At that point, she temporarily forgot the beauty in being able to give life to another. She was probably lost in thoughts of being able to wear her favourite swim suits or having to appear in the full glare of the room light before her husband without feeling self conscious.

The society is big on outward appearance but more damaging than that is self perception. The constant dissatisfaction to the image the mirror reflects also affects the kind of decision people make. Most people that stay stuck in abusive relationships have these issues I am referring to. They don’t see themselves being able to get someone better. They are scared they are or might not be desirable to other people. Also they settle for anything, selling themselves cheap. They agree to everything because they think every other opinion is more superior to theirs.

In marriages, dealing with body issues frustrates the couples’ sexual lives. It becomes less fun as things are done with so much self consciousness. If this continues for a long time , it affects the couples’ emotional connection.

Knowing the ills of having a negative self or body perception, it is necessary to take steps to right/curtail such negativity.

·         First, we need to understand this body is just a house. When we become lean and frail or when we are no more, the only thing that would matter are the lives we have touched and those we connected with our hearts and souls.

·         Whenever we stare at the mirror, we should embrace our imperfection, the ability to live past the story a scar tells should count for something.  The stretch marks tell the stories of unexplainable joy. Whatever the mirror reflects, remember you are God’s wonderful creature. You are intended, there is no mistake in you looking the way you look.

·         By all means, eat right. There is the place of healthiness. It is good to indulge once in a while but you also need to take care of yourself.  Healthy people are happy people. 

·         Lastly, don’t be so hard on yourself. We are so much more than facebook likes, instagram followings, beautifully painted faces or well toned tummies.  I don’t even know what Mother Theresa looks like but I describe her as the beautiful one because of the stories that live after her.

You are so much more than a dress size or pretty face. You are not limited to the adjectives used to describe your outward appearance. You are amazing just the way you are. Shine on.

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