How Bruised Is Your Body Image?

I came across this post on Margarita Tarakovsky’s blog a couple of weeks ago. I read through each of her 7 signs, and gently nodded my head to every one of them. Here are are my top three four.

1. Notice only negative things in the mirror? Yep.

2. Tough time accepting compliments? Yep.

3. Compare yourself to everyone? Um, this pretty much sums up my whole life.

4a. It takes forever to pick an outfit? On days when #1 is happening, definitely.

4b. You criticize your body regularly? Way too often!

She offers five simple solutions for dealing with these bruises. The one that I relate to the most to is thinking about the amazing things my body can do for me. Our bodies are so capable of so many things, but we never even think about or give ourselves credit for them.

It’s sort of a catch-22 though. If you’re so busy thinking about all the negative things, the things you hate, how could you possibly think about the good things? I know for a fact that negativity breeds negativity, so if you can just get a little bit of positivity in there, it can do a world of good!

When I was in college, I had a counselor tell me that I should try to view my body as a whole instead of as parts. I had no freaking clue what she talking about or how to do that. All I could see were my thighs, full of cellulite, my face pudgy and full of acne, my arms without definition or muscle tone. It was all parts to me.

It took me years to figure out that the reason I couldn’t understand her was because I wasn’t there yet. I wasn’t ready.

We can’t jump to positivity if we’re full of negative. We’ve got to start with the first step.

Step 1. Walk away from the mirror.

If you can’t think anything good, don’t think anything at all. Stop looking in the mirror- it’s only giving you more fodder for your negative monologue. Get busy. Do something else. Go for a walk. Wash the dishes. Call a friend. Knit something.

Step 2. Look for something positive.

It might take weeks or months before you can do Step 2. That’s okay.

When you set eyes on yourself in that treacherous beloved mirror, don’t let habit take over. Instead of allowing your gaze to go to your “trouble spots”, find something that you like. Maybe it’s  the way your hair looks, or the tone of your skin, or the curve of your ankle, or your collarbones. Whatever it is, find it. Observe it. Be nice to it. Commit it to a place in your memory.

Steps 1 & 2 are preparation for repairing your bruised body image. There are lots more steps. But unless you can do 1 & 2, the steps beyond that don’t matter. So give it a try.

What did you do when you walked away from the mirror? What can you find in the mirror that you liked? What happened the next time you looked in the mirror?