Positive Body Image: Eyes of the Beholder
Have you heard that old saying “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder”? Well it’s true. Artists get to paint what they feel and we interpret their feelings through the images they create. We determine what’s beautiful. We are also images…created by generations of bodies, faces and personalities. We are the culmination of everyone who came before us and the picture of the future of our family lines. Who do you see when you look in the mirror? Your mother or father? A distant relative everyone says you look like?
How about what do you see? Do you immediately focus on the parts of your body you love the most or do you fixate and begin to criticize those areas you would like to change? Most of us are never truly happy with every aspect of ourselves. We tend to be our harshest critics. As children we are taught to idealize “beautiful” people but who defined beauty? Mass media has attempted to convince us that you must be a size 2, at least 5’9” and have 1% body fat to be beautiful. By that definition most of the world is excluded.
When people see beauty we often skew their own personal reflections. When others see beautiful eyes, we may see the wrinkle that wasn’t there before. If you find someone admiring your breasts are you concerned that they think your breasts are too big, too small or hang too low? If you see a woman with a nice ass, flat stomach and “perfect” breasts do you judge yourself negatively in comparison? The same goes for men even though most don’t admit it. Well, if you don’t then great because you are in the small minority of people who do. You can appreciate the beauty that is within you. But, if you do, then change is what you need.
Body Image (n) is the subjective picture or mental image of one’s own body. It’s how your brain interprets your reflection in the mirror. If, like me, you could benefit from a few crunches and squats, then do them. At my heaviest I was close to 240 lbs. I decided to make a change and lost 60 pounds but I still have work to do. People respond to physical change in many ways; diet, exercise and even plastic surgery. I believe people should do what’s within their means and abilities to create the positive body image they desire, if it’s safe and healthy, but sometimes changing your physical appearance isn’t enough.
Having a positive body image is about loving your physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and communicative self. It’s about creating attraction with and for your whole self. There are ways to overcome negative self-talk and change how you see yourself in the mirror. Working with a sex and intimacy coach, like me, can help.
The first step is to take an assessment of yourself. It requires you to be honest and vulnerable. Take a good, naked look in a full-size mirror. Quietly observe every aspect of your body. Then speak the words you feel, negative and positive. Get to know how you really feel about your body and think about why you feel this way. Once you understand how you feel and why you feel then you can begin to change the things that give you pause.
KNKY is all about getting to know our sexual selves and finding ways to reach our goals. I have upcoming events like Body Paint & Sip and the nude Keep the Lights On fashion show that will help us celebrate the beauty in all bodies. Not all of us are a size 2 but who says that we must live by the beauty that other people define.
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and our self-image is the one that prevails. Confidence, acceptance and self-love is the real change.