Spoiler Alert: I do not like my body...
No matter what my weight, I always considered myself fat, regardless of objective measurements. Even when weighing 115 lbs, I was not happy with my thighs.
With that dissatisfaction, I am much like 90% of all females and 45% of all males- unhappy with their bodies. I have never uttered those words in a public forum before, and am only doing it now because I can no longer be silent. As a psychotherapist, I avoid self-disclosure, unless it can be of use to my client(s). At some point though, silence becomes complicity.
Dissatisfaction on this large a scale of the United States citizenry is a cause for concern. It contributes to low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and more profoundly, a pervasive feeling that no matter what, we are never good enough. The ideal is unattainable for it is a media image of a one type fits all concept, of which only 5% actually have that body type.
My lessons learned from years of struggling with this:
·It is not all or nothing/ black or white. In other words, I can like my body some of the time, if not all of the time, and I can celebrate those moments when I do.
· I can like parts of my body more than others.
· I can appreciate the power of and in my body, working out to make my body the strongest it can be (while not being a body builder).
· Negative body image thoughts can trigger negative automatic thoughts about sense of self; to recalibrate my thought process and connect with my positive core concept, I can note positive attributes about my body.
Why it matters? Self-improvement represents a $10 billion industry annually in the US alone. There is an assumption that the end result being sought is attainable. Spoiler alert #2: it is not attainable by everyone. We cannot all be the best, the brightest, the thinnest, or the most effective. We are better served by recognizing our strengths and challenges, and working to be the best we can be within our personal limitations. In always searching for the elusive, there is a constant undertone of not being good enough that occupies a lot of negative brain power, taking away from personal happiness.
It is a fine line to move from this to accepting mediocrity or not pushing ourselves to do more and be better, but the balance is essential. Embrace who you are and enhance it to your fullest. And yes, my thighs will be big at any size, but boy can I kick hard!