Body Image & Self Esteem
Are you struggling with food? Do you criticize your body and treat it as your enemy? Are you constantly comparing to other people? Would you like to find a healthy way to be in your body and treat it with reverence?
My goal is to work with you to understand the underlying issues affecting your relationship to food and your body and how body image affects your sense of self worth. Struggles around eating are a symptom and not a cause.
I prefer to use the term self compassion rather than self esteem. Self esteem yo-yos depending on how you feel you measure up to some false standard. If you feel you look good and feel good, your self esteem gets a boost; however, it may just as easily crash if you are feeling blue.
Self compassion is consistent and constant, and, according to Kristin Neff, is compromised of three elements: Self-kindness means practicing self-acceptance instead of self-criticism and judgment. When we understand and accept ourselves, we free up the energy to change if need be.
Recognition of our common humanity, the second component, means we feel part of a whole rather than inadequate and isolated when we suffer or fall down. Self-compassion also requires mindfulness so we can look at our experiences with balanced awareness. We do not ignore our pain nor do we blow it out of proportion.
Body image is based on your thoughts and feelings about the way your body looks, and directly influences how you feel about yourself. Being constantly confronted with unattainable body types in the media, it’s easy to compare to standards that are impossible to achieve. Stressful life issues may be leading you to use food as a coping mechanism.
The mind and body are connected, and influence the health or illness of each other. Practicing self-compassion—self-kindness, recognition of common humanity, and mindfulness—creates an opening for growth and change. When you become compassionate towards yourself you revere your body and in turn, become aware of the kinds of thoughts you have and the messages you tell yourself.