Thursday, September 22, 2011

Challenging Body Distortions Through the Eyes of the Body

By Susan Kleinman, MA, ADTR, NCC
September 1, 2008

Body image is the picture in our mind's eye of how we look to ourselves. It reflects our beliefs about how we think others perceive us and captures how we experience the feeling of "living" in our bodies. Adrienne Ressler, MA, LMSW, CED

Everyone has a body-image and it develops from the moment of our birth, and it continues as we experience life and incorporate the messages of our personal and more global culture. Although we may strive to balance an inner image that is more positive than negative, we are all susceptible to finding fault with ourselves.
By feeding ourselves a steady diet of self-criticism, however, we pave the way for a deprecating self to take control. Sticking to us like glue, this negativity has an impact on our inner-self, and we often feel very small, diminished and even shamed. In a sense, we become "centered" in these thoughts, causing all of our decisions and actions to take form from our distorted perspective. This imbalance has the power to paralyze us and usually does when we let it roam freely in our minds. According to Oliver Wendell Holmes, "The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are standing, as in what direction we are moving". Consequently, when our distortions beckon our low self-esteem, it becomes necessary to challenge them in order to regain a more balanced perspective. It is also essential to examine what underlies these thoughts, so we can consciously decide to what degree we will allow their influence to threaten our functional mobility.
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