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Overcoming Body Image Battles For A Better Life

Today, I’m pleased to present a guest post by blogger Arianna Merritt about her body image battles and the importance of adjusting your perspective. Hope you enjoy it!

Don’t forget to comment on this post to be eligible to win a copy of Kim Brittingham’s Read My Hips: How I Learned to Love My Body, Ditch Dieting and Live Large.

Happy Friday!

Hello, my name is Arianna Merritt.  I write my blog “Arianna’s Random Thoughts” to help create a forum where people talk and share what is on their mind and in their hearts. I am trying to be more vulnerable and encourage others to do the same. I recently completed my Master’s of Education degree in Human Development and Applied Psychology. I plan to pursue a PhD in Psychology with plans to eventually become a Sports Psychologist.  My research interests are: body image and self-esteem, bullying prevention, coping, and sport psychology.

I would like to understand and teach the effective coping methods that individuals use to overcome setbacks (i.e., a poor performance or score, harsh words from critics, stress from organizational and performance demands, etc.).  Through my work in bullying prevention, I have found it is not possible to eliminate bullying altogether, as one cannot control how another individual will behave.  An individual can control, however, how he/she reacts to the negative situation and not let it destroy his/her performance. Therefore, I would like to research and implement effective coping mechanisms for all individuals (specifically athletes and students) to persist and not quit despite setbacks (either physical or emotional).

“To be nobody-but-yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you be everybody but yourself – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight – and never stop fighting.” – E. E. Cummings

I read this quote recently and realized it is true.  However, I believe in this battle against yourself we have two opponents: the outside world and ourselves.  I personally believe the latter is the harder fight.

For example, I was at the beach this past weekend with two good girl friends. We have different body shapes and sizes, yet we are fighting the same battles.

The first is our struggle with a society that constantly has images of how individuals should ideally look. The media puts out the message that we should change ourselves and our imperfections to a standardized “ideal” image in order to be happy and accepted.

Therefore, the first battle is to not let these unrealistic images influence our view of ourselves.

The second battle (which I think is the hardest) is to not let our insecurities prevent us from enjoying life.  At the beach, we had focused on our flaws and made excuses for why we weren’t showing off our beautiful selves.

I am insecure about my stomach, so I have not worn a bikini all summer.  I fear that other people will see my stomach and judge me because it’s not perfectly toned.

In reality, why should I care what other people think? I need to change my thought patterns to trust myself more, so that I can embrace the bikini and my beautiful body underneath. Accepting myself will let me enjoy life more – not worrying about whether I measure up to arbitrary societal expectations.

“Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired. When you were younger, the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired…You’ve always got to make the mind take over and keep going.”- George S. Patton, U.S. Army General and 1912 Olympian

In this case whenever I go to the beach or have to wear a swimsuit, I have two choices.  My first choice is to focus on my apparent “flaws” and never wear a bikini because my body is not beautiful according to the media’s standardized “ideal.” Or, I can do the opposite and focus on the POSITIVE.  I choose the latter.

I am so lucky to have a healthy body with all my senses. There will be negative comments and obstacles throughout my life, but I am going to work at being mentally strong.  I will continue to eat healthy and be active.  I will also surround myself with individuals who treat me respectfully and encourage a healthy self-image and lifestyle, too.

Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game!” – Babe Ruth

Overcoming Body Image Battles For A Better Life

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS


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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2013). Overcoming Body Image Battles For A Better Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 21, 2019, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/weightless/2011/08/overcoming-body-image-battles-for-a-better-life/

 

Last updated: 15 Jul 2013
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 15 Jul 2013
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.