Women who come to see me in distress about their body shape and size often say they want to feel better about themselves and their bodies, but they don't know how. Frequently, they feel that it's probably impossible to feel good about their body. One of the first things I always want to know is what is this woman's goal? Sometimes, she wants her body to stay the way it is. She just wants to feel better in it. Other times, she feels she must change her body and she is taking steps to do this. There are many variations in between, but with every woman, we are going to talk about some things:
As women, our bodies are responsible for so much. They must be pleasing to others in many ways and in different ways depending on our circumstances, like age, or environment. We are often treated differently depending on how pleasing our bodies are to others. Imagine, if you can, for a moment, what it would feel like to know, deeply know, that right now, all of you is wanted, and, frankly, your body isn't relevant for being accepted. At first, you may notice a resistance, a "yeah, but…," or fear or confusion arise. That's ok. Welcome this and see if it passes. Come back to wondering what it would feel like to know, deeply know, that you are accepted right now. This acceptance is not despite your body or because of your body. Your body is not really a factor. It's you and therefore your body. You are accepted fully, right now.
You see, each day we engage with our internalized rejection of ourselves and our bodies. We've agreed that we should be different. We've agreed that our worth rests on our ever-changing bodies. But, we don't have to make this agreement. We can form a new one based on deep acceptance of whatever we are and whatever we look like right now. We can know that our worth and our appearance are only tied to each other when we agree to tie them. This untangling is not easy work. Some days we feel strong enough and others, the habit of agreement is just too strong. That's ok. We can disagree again and defiantly take up space in the world at any moment we choose.
Take gentle care,
Karen J. Helfrich, LCSW-C
As a therapist, mother, daughter, partner, and seeker, I am always on the journey toward a more peaceful, authentic life. I hope to share knowledge, insights, and the ongoing unknowns I find along the path...