A few weeks ago, I gave a community presentation on body image, and many participants reported the following information was very helpful! There are 3 things that often contribute to how we perceive our physical self:
1-Early Environmental Issues
If you were praised based on appearance rather than internal performance, you are more at risk for thinking negatively about yourself. In addition, if you were raised in an environment where one or both parents were always “dieting,” you may also be at risk for developing a more negative perception of self.
People who see the proverbial “glass as half empty, rather than half full” are more likely to judge themselves negatively. Personalities who have a tendency to focus on flaws rather than strengths often have body image challenges.
Social media and even new phone apps (such as “Plump and Skinny Booth”) are altering our view of self more than ever. Cyberbullying seems to contribute to a negative body image, as well as performance pressures, say in sports, can lead to extreme measures to alter ones body, such as performance-enhancing drugs. New websites are popping up that even instruct the user “how to get an eating disorder” to control weight, which are a contributing risk factor as well.
The good news is all 3 of these factors can be managed or treated. A few useful tools can be found on websites (the positive side of technology!) such as centerforchange.com and thebodymovement.com. In addition, a Body Image Workbook by Thomas Cash PhD can be very useful, especially if used in conjunction with a trained therapist to address the above factors.
Last, learning facts about images we see are explored in a new documentary by Taryn Brumfitt called “Embrace.” This can help increase a more accurate view of ourselves an others. If you or a loved one struggle with negative body image, call Wasatch Family Therapy today to seek guidance from a body image professional and take charge of those negative self perceptions!
Valentine’s Day is upon us. That lucky time of year when love is celebrated and it is socially acceptable to eat your weight in cinnamon hearts and chocolate. There is an extreme amount of pressure to make Valentinest a special and romantic day for your spouse. Too much focus is put on the gift giving aspect of this holiday. We should be focusing our attention to the sentiment behind the day, which is to show your love for the people in your life. Here are three ways that you can make your Valentines Day more meaningful and put the emphasis of the day where it belongs.
1) Embrace this opportunity to look at people in your life that you love and appreciate-other than your spouse. Of course I don’t want you to forget your spouse on this most auspicious day. However, the day can take on additional meaning if you expand your loving thoughts to others whom you would not normally reach out to. Take the time to send warm thoughts to a neighbor that means a great deal to you. Write a loving email or letter to your sister or brother. Don’t forget aunts or uncles that were essential to your growing up years and helped shape who you are today. As you look to the people in your life who have made a difference and take the time to tell them, your Valentines Day will take on a whole new meaning.
2) Give the gift your partner REALLY wants. This may shock you but NOT EVERYONE WANTS A PRESENT AT VALENTINES DAY. It is a common myth that the only way to show someone they are loved on Valentine’s Day is to give them some sort of present. We all feel love in different ways. Gary Chapman wrote a brilliant book entitled The Five Love Languages. He outlines five different ways that people feel loved. They include physical touch, quality time, gift giving, words of affirmation, and service. This means that you could be showering your partner with gifts when really a simple letter expressing your love would mean just as much- if not more. Go over the five love languages and identify which one makes them feel the most loved. Once you know the answer speak to that love language. Sit down today with your partner. Ask them outright what they would like to receive on Valentine’s Day. Asking does not take away the romance of the day. It does ensure that you will give the gift, time, touch, words or service your partner wants and needs the very most.
3) Keep It Simple. Grandiosity and Valentines Day go hand in hand according to Hollywood. However, this is not realistic or needed. Creating a small, fun Valentines ritual that can evolve with your life will be much more successful than diamond earrings. When my husband and I met we were in college. Our first Valentines Day together my husband had class until nine in the evening. He picked up Chinese food on the way home and we ate it on the floor of our tiny apartment in the candle light. Two children and eleven years later our Valentines ritual has evolved to making the Chinese food and eating it with our kids in the candle light. It is nothing extravagant, but means a great deal to both of us. Talk with your spouse about something small and meaningful that you can do as a couple, or family, to celebrate this day.
Perfectionism, the constant fear of failure and simply “not feeling good enough.” To a perfectionist mistakes are indications of personal flaws and the only way for acceptance is to be perfect. Our high expectations often leave us feeling inadequate and falling short of what we could be. But nobody is perfect at life, nothing is meant to be flawless. When we realize we are not expected to be perfect and that we are here to learn, we are able to develop compassion for ourselves and others.
This perfectionistic trait can easily be passed down to our children because they feel like they are not good enough in their parent’s and their own eyes. Here are some ideas to help interfere with this vicious cycle: