Posts tagged with ‘body image’

23 aug

Body-image and Our Relationships

SarahMariaHave you ever hid under the bed covers, not wanting your lover to see you?

Or have you cringed at the thought of seeing yourself in the bathroom mirror?

Were you competitive with your siblings or your parents about the size of your body?

Has anyone you love, has anyone close to you, been judgmental about your body?

Are you, or have you ever been, in a relationship where your lover didn’t like your body?

The fact of the matter is that our bodies and how we feel about our bodies and ourselves can dramatically impact our relationships, either for good or for bad.

Here are some of the ways that Negative Body Obsession can adversely affect your relationships.

- Your lover finds you attractive, but you can’t believe him or her. You are too concerned about how you look, and unable to enjoy the love that is being given to you. Without realizing it, you push the other person away and over time destroy the relationship.

- Your beliefs about being unattractive unconsciously lead you to pick a partner who reinforces your low self-esteem and negative self talk. You find yourself stuck in a negative relationships and are unsure of how to break free.

- You are alone and long for love, intimacy, and connection. You have been listening to the lies of Negative Body Obsession, which has kept you isolated and alone.

There are an endless number of scenarios and examples, but the simple fact is that if you are living in the trap of NBO, you are unable to connect with other people for real. The beautiful, amazing fact, however, is that true intimacy and connection are available. No matter what your size, shape, condition, or anything else, you can enjoy deep love and sharing. But this is only possible if you learn how to ignore the lies that say you and your body are not quite good enough.

If you have lived a life listening to Negative Body Obsession, you truly do not know the relating that is possible to enjoy with other people. Negative Body Obsession acts as a true barrier. Insecurity and negative self-talk truly make it impossible to enjoy the love that is available. Even if you are involved in many relationships with different people, if you are listening to your negative thoughts and beliefs, they are preventing you from truly connecting.

It is imperative that you understand the cost of entertaining your negative beliefs. The inability to truly connect with other human beings, the inability to truly relate, is a huge cost. I recall a spiritual teacher once saying that love is food for the soul. Just as our body needs fuel to survive, so our soul needs love to survive. Now, you can live off of a meager diet, lacking in vitamins and minerals, devoid of nutritional content, and you will probably survive. But will you thrive? In order to thrive, you need a diet that is nourishing and health promoting. So it is with your human relationships and interactions. Are your relationships truly nourishing you? Are they supplying you with the deep love, connection, and intimacy that feeds your soul?

If you are living with Negative Body Obsession, or negative beliefs about yourself, the answer is no. The answer has to be “no” because these negative beliefs are making you unavailable to enjoy what may be right in front of you. They are acting as a shield, blocking out the love that is possible for a human life.

If you long for love in your life, for the true enjoyment that comes from sharing yourself with other people, make a commitment to yourself to finally break free from your negative beliefs about your body and yourself. When you turn your back on Negative Body Obsession, with its never-ending lies and delusions, you open yourself up to a life that is richer than your wildest dreams.

If you are finally ready to end the negative self-talk and enjoy the relationships you long for, register for our September call on Body-image and Relationships. Join me and well-known author and relationship expert Lissa Coffey for 60 minutes dedicated to helping you transform and discover the love that is always available when you allow it.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Sarah Maria on August 23rd, 2010 in Relationships | No comments Read related posts in ,

02 mar

The clothes you wear can sabotage or support what you want to create in your life.

KathiBurnsI agree with Nick Arrojo’s comments on February 18th about the subtle effects on your life regarding how you present yourself to the world.

Your image is created by your thoughts and feelings about yourself. If you have never taken the time to pause and figure out how you feel about yourself and how you want to be viewed by the world, it will be reflected in your wardrobe. The clothes you wear can sabotage or support what you want to create in your life.

Clothes not only reflect how we feel about ourselves, they also impact how others react to us. Whether you are a man or a woman, you are judged by the clothes that you wear. This is a reality. The power of a first impression is real and not disappearing anytime soon. This might seem cruel and unreasonable until you realize why this happens.

We don’t make quick character judgments because we are malicious. We do it because it is one of our most primal instincts, self-protection. We are programmed to determine as quickly as possible whether the person next to us is trustworthy, or if we should take a flight-or-fight stance. We simply rely on visual clues to determine whether we are safe.

During this instinctive process, we can’t help but make other judgments about professionalism, financial status and personality. Knowing this, it makes sense that we should try to appear as polished as possible. It is not a secret that a successful and positive personal image is a direct result of the clothes we wear.

Creating a successful image goes a lot deeper than outward appearances. Clothes change the way we view ourselves. Think about your wardrobe for a minute. Almost everyone has a lucky piece of clothing. When we wear that item our attitude throughout the day is more self-assured. That is why we really enjoy wearing our “lucky” outfits. We feel happier and more successful. With the proper elements in your wardrobe, you will feel empowered every day as you get dressed and head out into the world.

This is an excerpt from Kathi’s book, How to Master Your Muck.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Kathi Burns on March 2nd, 2010 in Career, General, New Directions, Things We Love, Uncategorized | 2 comments Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

03 dec

Author Interview: Body Image Expert Sarah Maria on Love Your Body, Love Your Life

SarahMariaPart I: Excerpts from an interview with Sarah Maria on her new book Love Your Body, Love Your Life: 5 Steps to End Negative Body Obsession and Start Living Happily and Confidently.

Question: I’ve heard many people say that disliking your body is just a normal part of being a woman [or a man in today’s culture]. What do you think about such a statement?

This is a very important question that I address specifically in Love Your Body, Love Your Life. Yes, many people, probably most people, say that disliking your body is a normal part of being a woman. If by “normal” they mean that the majority of women, 80-90%, dislike their bodies, then yes, it is “normal”. The vast majority of women in this culture at this time do dislike their bodies.

But to think that this is normal as in “natural, necessary, a normal function of being alive” is ridiculous. This belief is part of the problem. Since it is so ubiquitous, many women have come to accept that it is just part of being a woman. This is ludicrous! It is settling for what happens to be the situation for many, instead of envisioning the possibilities that are available for all. It is accepting mediocrity instead of creating grandeur. It is maintaining the status quo instead of envisioning the truth.

Disliking your body is only normal in that most women experience it. It is in no way natural, and in no way necessary. You have the ability in each and every moment to love your body and love your life. Negative Body Obsession is a modern cultural epidemic. It has not always existed, and it need not always exist. It is in no way a natural part of being alive and can therefore be completely eradicated from your psyche and experience.

Question: What led you to write Love Your Body, Love Your Life?

I decided to write this book because I experienced first-hand the intense pain, suffering, and agony that can accompany Negative Body Obsession, eating disorders, and low se lf-esteem. I also know that freedom from this hell is completely possible. I want this book to reach people who are struggling with any and all of the above. There is hope.

I also wrote this book to help people think critically about concepts such as beauty, as well as the beliefs, thoughts, and ideas that so many people take for granted. Beauty is a socially-constructed phenomenon. Different body types, different looks, and different sizes are considered beautiful at different times in history. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, curvy and voluptuous was considered stunning. In this culture in this century, thin and muscularly toned is considered sexy. When people recognize that there is no inherent truth in these concepts of beauty, that it is in fact a cultural preference that changes overtime, it helps to dissolve this illusion that how they look is somehow tied to their value and self-worth as an individual.

For many people struggling with a negative body image, they believe that how they look is somehow related to their self-worth as individuals. Nothing could be further from the truth. When people realize that it is a cultural phenomenon, they can begin to free themselves from the whims and preferences of other people and the world around them, and instead discover and experience their own inherent and unique beauty.

Question: In Love Your Body, Love Your Life, you teach readers how to break free from Negative Body Obsession or NBO. What exactly is NBO?

Negative Body Obsession, or NBO, is the negative rumination about one’s physical appearance. It is the entire delusional thought-construct that causes people to believe that something is wrong with their bodies and themselves. It encompasses thoughts such as “I am too fat”; “I would be more attractive if I lost weight”; “I looked so much better when I was younger”; “I need to purchase anti-wrinkle cream – I look so old!”; “No woman will find me attractive without my hair”; “The cellulite on the back of my thighs is hideous”.

These are just examples – only you know your particular negative body thoughts. Negative Body Obsession is essentially the condition of having negative thoughts and beliefs about your body and yourself.

It is important to know that NBO exists on a broad spectrum. You might have an occasional negative body thought that affects your mood and well-being, or you might live with a near-constant barrage of negative body thoughts on a daily basis. No matter whether your condition is mild or severe, complete freedom is possible. Many people think that it is a “normal” part of everyday life, and therefore it is considered acceptable on some level. In reality, there is nothing normal about it, and if it affects you, if even just a little bit, you are not living with all the freedom that is possible.

Question: The media plays a role in fostering body dissatisfaction. In your book, you write “when you master the art of talking back, you can reclaim your control and become an influencer of the media, instead of being a victim influenced by the media.” What are the ways we can talk back?

There are many ways to talk back. In fact, you can probably think of many powerful ways to talk back to the media. I outline a specific exercise in Love Your Body, Love Your Life but the key theme underlying any talking back to the media, or any other “influencer of your thought life”, is by refusing to participate in the process of “internalization.”

The problem with the media occurs when you allow it to influence you, when you allow the messages to be internalized. The problem occurs when you look at a picture in a magazine, or on the television screen, and then take that image to have something to do with you, to be some reflection on you and your body. The fact is that the image has nothing to do with you at all. The problem occurs when you look at the picture and then look at yourself in the mirror and conclude that your life would be better if you looked like that image, or that you would be more attractive if you looked like that image, or that the person in the image is somehow better than you, whatever your particular story is. The fact of the matter is that the photo is in no way a commentary on you.

So the best thing to do with talking back is to tell the media, the magazine, the movie, whatever, that you are not going to allow it to influence you. Remind yourself that it has nothing to do with you, that it is in no way a reflection of you. Tell this to whatever you sense is influencing you. Tell the media that it has no power over you at all. You can choose what you allow to influence you.

Sarah Maria, author of Love Your Body, Love Your Life, outlines her 5-step process for helping you feel great in and about your body. Her work embraces the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, for true, lasting healing. Purchase your copy of Love Your Body, Love Your Life, begin to love your body today! For more, visit: www.sarahmaria.com, www.breakfreebeauty.com.

Posted by Sarah Maria on December 3rd, 2009 in General | No comments Read related posts in , , , ,