A Battered Body Image: Missing Out
If you’re having a “fat day,” do you stay in?
Does a fat day dictate whether you get together with your girlfriends or even run a few errands? Does finding a flattering outfit to wear determine your plans? If you can’t find the perfect slimming dress for tonight’s party, do you decline the invite?
Does how you feel about your body change how you structure your day or how your day goes?
Years ago, as a college student, I distinctly remember standing in my walk-in closet, scanning the hangers like a mad woman for something nice to wear, something that would make me look and feel pretty, something that would hide my flourishing fat. I was already running late. And every piece of clothing I picked up and put on looked horrible.
Several shirts clung too tightly to my stomach. The jeans felt physically uncomfortable. The skirts didn’t fit right either. I felt like the energizer bunny, swiftly trying on a slew of outfits, turning every which way in the mirror – to no avail. I’d nix them one by one, hurling a few critical remarks at myself in the process. I finally chose a go-to outfit, after spending several minutes, sitting with my head in my hands, crying in my closet. I had a gnawing urge to call and cancel. I didn’t. I did end up having a nice dinner with friends.
It might’ve been a small thing but I realized the power of a negative body image, the power of disgust. It almost prevented me from enjoying a fun dinner with friends, who’d never judge me, who’d care less if I showed up in my schlumpiest sweats. My distaste for my body was that influential. Looking back on it, I wish I could’ve told myself that I’d be OK. I wish I’d been kinder…
In my first post for Weightless, my last solution for a bruised body image involved considering what you miss out on when you’re busy bashing your body.
While we’re crying in the closet or volleying insults in our minds, we may miss out on meaningful things, whether big or small. An important event with friends. Some much-needed bonding time with ourselves. Some much-needed bonding time with a loved one. Learning something new. Doing something good for our bodies, like yoga.
All this negative energy, anxiety, tension and self-hatred also leaves little room for creative energy. Or pure and simple relaxation. Or pure and simple happiness. Or enjoying life.
And this can build. Letting a battered body image take the reins can mean missing one thing after another. You may get so used to not leaving the house when you feel bad about yourself, hate your outfit, feel flawed that avoiding the world becomes a deceptively comforting habit.
What have you missed out on?
In next week’s post, I’ll talk about some of the things that may help to quiet that critical voice and stop missing out.
Tartakovsky, M. (2009). A Battered Body Image: Missing Out. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 8, 2016, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/weightless/2009/11/a-battered-body-image-missing-out/