Beliefnet
The Celebrity Therapist

It’s no secret that our society has a little, shall we say, hang-up on body image. While women are the primary targets, let’s not forget our testosterone-laden brethren, who are not exempt from “good-natured” ribbing from pals, or offhand comments from wives or girlfriends.

While many may see this constant criticism as normal, the fact is, the dark side of eating disorders is very real and even life-threatening. For those suffering with anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorders, professional help is available and necessary, says Meredith Watkins from Recovery View.com.

And for the rest of us, here’s a little reality check, some perspective from Carl Jung: “We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.” Consider this the next time you cast a critical glare at that part of your body that apparently did not get the memo that it was supposed to remain unchanged from its 18-year-old counterpart.

End the dictatorship that has oppressed your unsuspecting thighs, stomach or backside. Paradoxically, doing so does not relinquish you to the slovenly mound of mush you so fear — My book, The Law of Sobriey says this  frees up the energy you have spent in frustration and self-loathing to be used productively, in such ground-breaking endeavors as taking a deep breath and smiling. Filling your lungs with ocean air or rejoicing that your legs are capable of taking you down a sun-dappled path.

Like any shift of perspective, this takes time. But the only way to begin the shift is to try a little bit every day — some kindness turned inward, like soothing an injured child. Perhaps this is exactly what our abused bodies have always needed: praise for what it does right, rather than punishment for not living up to our unrealistic expectations.

Anne Lamott, in her book, Grace (Eventually) sums it up perfectly: “To step into beauty, does one have to give up on losing a little weight? No, of course not. Only if you’re sick of suffering. Because if you cannot see that you’re okay now, you won’t be able to see it if you lose twenty pounds. It’s an inside job.”

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus