Body dysmorphia is a very real thing. It means (in a nutshell) that a person obsessively thinks badly of one part of their body or another. They look in the mirror and all they see are their flaws. This happens in both men and women.
I remember that when I was younger I thought nothing bad about my body. It didn’t matter what size I wore or that my boobs were smaller than my friends or that my hips were bigger. I remember looking at my developing body thinking it was pretty great. I didn’t care what I ate or how much exercise I got. It is true that I didn’t really need to, but I had so many other challenges and obstacles in my life this was the LAST thing on my mind. (At least that I can remember,) I was confident in my physical appearance. I saw the models on the magazines and tv and didn’t think I looked that much different.
Then something happened. Something changed.
I was married very young and had my first baby at the age of 20, I changed the way I saw myself. People told me I needed to lose weight, (even though I lost my baby weight within weeks of having him.) I recognized that I was being compared. Mind you, I was in an industry where your physical appearance is HUGE. I wanted to model, I wanted to act. And instead of celebrating my talent, I heard over and over again why I wasn’t good enough. Rejection, for me, became about my physical appearance. I was able to find unhealthy outlets to combat these feelings in my mind. I got skinner, but it never seemed to be enough. So, instead of finding a healthy way to heal my mind, body, and soul, it destroyed my confidence and my self-worth even more.
I compared myself to other women as I picked them apart, secretly saying what I had and didn’t have that they did.
I was horrible to the person looking back at me in the mirror. If I heard a man saying another woman was beautiful I would take it to mean I was not. I was hurt in relationships I told myself that it was because physically I needed to do more to look better, then they would love me. I developed what I would say ” borderline body dysmorphia.” To this day I struggle to love this body of mine and I know so many women that do. It is something that I work on daily. Not only for myself but for my kids too. My daughters AND my son.
I do my best nurturing this part of me constantly so I can keep my self-love strong.
I beat myself up about it over and over. Thank goodness I never took it to the extreme of anorexia or bulimia, and I celebrate myself with that. It doesn’t mean that I am not in love with my life. It doesn’t mean that I do not have a good sense of who I am, but it does mean that I understand what it feels like to be in your shoes, even if it’s just a little bit. I understand that self-love and body-love are no easy fix. It needs to become a part of your daily practice. Loving yourself needs to be a way of life.
Now don’t think that I am saying don’t continue to work on being healthy in your body as well. Feed it right to fuel it. Exercise and see how incredible it is. Celebrate when you see changes…all of this is ok too! Just make sure to notice the beauty in your pain. Acknowledge the warrior you are underneath your scars. Feel good about your choices of being the best version of yourself and see how unique and special you are, from your head down to your toes.
This is your life…honor all the parts of you. It is possible to heal these wounds.
Find a way to dig deep into the layers of your soul. Find what gives you strength and allow yourself to love the journey. I say this for anyone who struggles. No matter your size, your color, your race, your ethnicity, your age, or your history.
My goal is to continue to pull back the layers and get back to that little girl I was who innocently loved her body before everyone told her she wasn’t good enough the way she was. I challenge you to do the same. You are worth it!
To find out more about gaining more self-love, body-love, and soul-love, please come to our retreat where we have helped many women, just like you. We have been there. We understand. You are not alone.