On seeing a photo of yourself and not liking how you look.
All the photos I used in this post are ones that caused some judgement to pop up in my head when I saw them.
One of the biggest aha moments I had when getting away from disordered eating was that taking care of myself doesn’t guarantee thinness. In this past post I talked about how since fat isn’t valued in the culture we live in, I don’t think I’ll ever look in the mirror and think, “omgsh I love that fat on my arm.” Or, “I love the way there is cellulite on that part of my thigh.”
That said, I believe that you (and me) deserve to have a positive opinion of yourself that does not change when you see a photo of yourself. Seeing yourself in a photo or in the mirror and mainly only seeing your body size is likely a sign your body size is over-identified as who you are.
Seeing a photo of myself that I don’t love doesn’t change anything. For a second my brain might say something judgemental but then I remind myself I’m gonna keep taking care of myself and I know that doesn’t guarantee I’ll end up in x sized body, but it does allow me to be free of wasting my time trying to become smaller when I’m not meant to be smaller. And it’s worth saying that being content with the body you have, doesn’t mean you are being complacent and not taking care of your body.
I feel like so many women don’t do the work they need to, to feel comfortable in their bodies. Day after day they just keep going to the comfort of criticizing their bodies. Something I heard Jennifer Rollin say one time is that, “body-bashing is like that pair of comfortable yoga pants you put on at the end of a long day, it’s a coping mechanism.” Instead of going to body bashing, I challenge you to unearth what else is bothering you or stressing you out that you are blaming your body for.
Blaming and hating your body is a way to cope with being in a broken world who values thinness more than they value health. But you and your body are not the problem. We live in a broken world that doesn’t want you to accept fat on your body. A society who wants you striving for thinness, but thin isn’t what all of us are called to be. It can be nearly impossible to treat yourself well when you are told your body is not okay. And if you are the one telling yourself your body is not okay…your brain might be a tiring place to live.
- You deserve to have an opinion of yourself that doesn’t involve your body size.
- Seeing a photo of yourself/reflection you don’t like is an opportunity to choose to be kind to yourself.
- Photos or mirrors should be viewed as tools of acceptance and an opportunity to practice kindness, not tools of change.
The question I have for you to reflect on or comment on below is: There is emotion, meaning, and function attached to disordered behaviors that makes behavior change so difficult. What is the emotion/meaning/function behind criticizing your body size?