Does my bum look big in this?
My goodness, how often have we heard that question as a running joke in sitcoms, in magazines, in life?!
Every nip, tuck, bump, lump, hair, wobble, and crease is magnified to the nth degree leaving many of us feeling utterly unworthy, unloved and unhappy.
Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week and and the theme for this year is Body Image. Despite the fact I wanted to post this last week, here we are a little late but nonetheless pertinent!
How the world views us is probably something we consider far more often than we might realise and it has been turned into a joke, a bit like the title of today's blog.
Body image is in our face all the time. If it's not a magazine telling us to eat this, do that, wear this, don't be like them then it's products telling us we can be our best, hair free (but just the right length of perfect stubble for the chaps) six packed, dolled up (but still looking fresh and natural) selves if we invest in their wonder cream or whatever it is.
Flipping heck, isn't it just a bit draining?! Alas, all jokes aside, these societal pressures can lead to much deeper running issues for some and we have the risk of developing a negative sense of self - not feeling good enough, not wanting a picture to be taken and maybe even to the degree of taking drastic action on our bodies or choosing to not go out.
It isn't always that easy to hear a compliment and accept it, or believe it in some cases. Ultimately, the best way we learn to accept our bodies and our image is through accepting ourselves. Our imperfections and our uniqueness make us who we are. I'm not saying that's an easy job, lord knows I've put on clothes, stood in a mirror and felt like I didn't look good enough but one of the best things I ever got told was, no matter what is going on, find one thing you like about yourself and give yourself a compliment every day. Instill that positivity, find that love for yourself from within and don't necessarily rely on the acceptance of others to give you the self worth you need.
The theory I'm trained in discusses what's known as internal and external locuses of evaluation. We as person centred counsellors strive to help you go from an external perspective (basically meaning your sense of acceptance comes from those around you and you are dependent on the judgment of others) to an internal one (your sense of worth coming from you and you learning to rely on your own judgment).
It takes time, effort, maybe even repeated attempts. We don't always get it right first time but we get together and try it again. Yet... When this shift happens, it can be monumental and life changing.
Does my bum look big in this? Hell no. Do I care if someone else thinks it does? Hell no! Do I feel fabulous? Yep!