Thursday, October 13, 2016

Living Intentionally: Body Image

I had another post started for today but was struggling with how to get it out the way I wanted to so I'm going with something else today and then we'll hit the tougher topic tomorrow. 

This topic will be a great preface for what comes next because I feel like we need to confront how we feel about our bodies in order to begin being intentional with them. 

Body Image = the subjective picture or mental image of ones own body. 

The following paragraphs are what the National Eating Disorders.org website has to say about body image. It's pretty powerful. 


What is Body Image?

Body image is how you see yourself when you look in the mirror or when you picture yourself in your mind. It encompasses:
  • What you believe about your own appearance (including your memories, assumptions, and generalizations).
  • How you feel about your body, including your height, shape, and weight.
  • How you sense and control your body as you move.  How you feel in your body, not just about your body.


Negative Body Image


  • A distorted perception of your shape--you perceive parts of your body unlike they really are.
  • You are convinced that only other people are attractive and that your body size or shape is a sign of personal failure.
  • You feel ashamed, self-conscious, and anxious about your body.
  • You feel uncomfortable and awkward in your body.

Positive Body Image
  • A clear, true perception of your shape--you see the various parts of your body as they really are.
  • You celebrate and appreciate your natural body shape and you understand that a person’s physical appearance says very little about their character and value as a person.
  • You feel proud and accepting of your unique body and refuse to spend an unreasonable amount of time worrying about food, weight, and calories.
  • You feel comfortable and confident in your body.
https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/what-body-image

As you read the above paragraphs, what did you think? Take some time to evaluate what your body image is? Is it positive, negative or somewhere in between. 


I think too often we are so bombarded with other people's opinions of our physical bodies that we lose sight of what is truly important. We are bombarded daily through media avenues with how we should look and feel and dress that sometimes the odds are heavily stacked against us. 

But I believe that if we can learn to embrace who we are, who we were created to be and to be intentional in how we treat our bodies, things will begin to shift. So for tonight, think a bit about the image you have or portray about your body. Think also about what that says to others around you. Do you have daughters? What does the image you portray teach them about themselves? 

I have two daughters. They are a touch over 3 years apart. They are very different in looks. My oldest is tall, about 5'7, my youngest is only 5'2. The oldest is more lean in her build while the youngest while thin as well is more muscular. She's a soccer player and has a booty and muscular thighs. She also has a face full of freckles, especially in the summer. One has bluish grey eyes and dark blond/light brown hair, the other has brown hair and hazel eyes. Now, as they grew up we were very intentional to not ever compare them and to teach them to embrace their unique features. Even when I wasn't feeling great about myself, I never spoke those things in front of them. I think because of our intentionality, our girls are extremely confident in their bodies and their body image. My youngest loves her freckles and has learned to embrace being pint sized. She was once referred to as a pocket sized play maker for her soccer team. She took it as a compliment. My hope is that as they grow older (they are now 20 and 17) that they will continue to hold onto the image they have of themselves and not let the world around them influence them. We encourage them to stay healthy, in shape and watch what they eat, to realize that weight is an issue amongst our families to some degree so just be aware and stay active. We're careful with our wording so they don't fall into traps of thinking negatively but we also want them to be proactive with their bodies, but that's for another day.

I'll be honest, looking at the above list, I definitely have a foot in both negative and positive thoughts on my body image. Make a list of the things you like about your body, and the things you don't. For example, I like my eyes, hair, muscular build (when I'm actually in shape..lol). I don't like the extra 50 pounds I'm carrying around, my pre-mature grey hair (mainly because I'm not quite ready to go gray, though I do like the color of it), my nose. 


You might think "why in the world are we writing what we don't like"? Because I feel like it's vital to do both in order to begin being intentional. 


With Joy Unquenchable,


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