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The Problem Of Body Image - The Ugly Truth About Your Body

Jun 18, 2021

It's happening to you again. Just like it did the last time you looked at your body in the mirror, and practically every time before that. You see that body part you wish was different. Then, you turn from side to side, trying to find an angle that looks better and gives you a glimmer of hope on how your body part could look better.

But after much twisting, tucking, pulling, pushing, and pinching you arrive at the same conclusion you did the last time you looked at your body. A negative opinion of your body that leaves you with a sinking feeling of distress, disgust, disdain or defeat over the thing about your body you wish was different.

The Problem

Let's talk about that part of your body you wish looked different and get to the ugly truth about your body. Let's reflect for a moment on the thoughts that come to your mind when you see that body part. Perhaps you have thoughts like, "Ugh! too fat." "Gosh! too skinny." "Ugh! too small." "Crap! too big." "OMG! too loose." These self-criticisms seem endless sometimes.

So here's a question, who said that part of your body is too.... anything? Where did that opinion come from? It's critical that you take a moment and think about this because these criticisms did not just appear out of thin air.

For some persons and perhaps for you, that opinion came from being teased by someone whom you perceive as being more powerful than you e.g., parent(s), older sibling(s), a boss, a teacher, the media (including television, movies, magazines, radio, cable and/or social media) etc. For others, it may be from being teased by others they perceive to be less powerful, e.g., younger sibling(s), other persons in another social group, etc. Then for others, the teasing or relentless criticism may have come from persons they had considered allies, e.g., a spouse, ex(s), lover(s), colleague(s), fellow teammates, and/or friend(s).

Through their constant criticisms and comments including those said in jest, they have convinced you at a conscious level (where you are aware of their influence), or an unconscious level (where you are not aware of their influence), that you are too.... something.

They convinced you on a conscious level that you are too... something when they overtly and directly commented on, or criticized your body or on the body of someone whose body part resembles yours. An example is when they asked you, "don't you see that you are getting too fat?" Also, they may have compared your body to a former version of you, for example, "you used to be so pretty when your skin was not so loose!"

They convinced you on the unconscious level when they carry out behaviors that subliminally tell you that the opposite of your body or body part is what is good, admirable, valuable or acceptable. An example of a behavior that subliminally convinces you your body part is too... something is: you see them whistle or stare admirably at someone with a pronounced butt. This convinces you at an unconscious level that a flat butt is not admirable.

The way you develop this belief that you are too... something may be subtle or unassuming. For example, when you repeatedly look at images and messages that tell you "only skinny is beautiful," while you see yourself as being different from skinny. At first, you will have thoughts that skinny is acceptable, and fat is unacceptable. After thinking these thoughts over and over again, ultimately you develop the belief that you are too fat.

When they repeatedly talk about, praise or portray in a very favorable light, body parts that are of a certain shape, size, color, tone, texture etc., that you observe are different from yours, you are very likely to conclude that your body part is too big, small, somehow inadequate or just does not measure up. When you continually internalize these self-criticizing messages about your body you eventually believe that the problem is you are too... something.

Believing the problem is you are too.... something causes the overwhelming emotions mentioned earlier. Emotions such as disgust about your body, disdain for other people who seem to be able to manage their body well, and/or despair about the chances that your body will look the way they said it is supposed to look.

However, despite what they have convinced you to believe about your body, your body is not the problem. The ugly truth is that they have you falsely believing your problem is that your body is too... something, when in fact your body is not the problem!

At this point you might be wondering to yourself, "if my body is not the problem, then what is?" This is a reasonable question, and the answer is derived from your answer to a question which is more fundamental. What do you really want?

Now you may say, "well what I really want is to fix my body." However, a change in your body is only a consequence of what you really want. This might be very surprising to hear, but it will become more acceptable when you reflect on experiences you have had in the past. Think back to the times when you had thought that a particular thing was what you really wanted. Because you thought that thing was what you wanted, you did everything you could to get it, only to find that in having it, you did not have the fulfillment or satisfaction you had thought getting it would bring.

What Are You REALLY After?

How do you find out what you are really after or what you really want? Here's how you find the answer to this fundamental question.

You find out what you want by asking yourself, "what would happen if my {body part} was {the change}." For e.g., "what would happen if my butt were bigger?" "What would happen if my body were trim?" "What would happen if my skin were smoother?"

Based on your answer to the above question, you will be able to find out what you want. For example, if your answer to the question about having bigger butt was, "men would find me attractive," then this answer tells you that what you want is to be desirable to men. if your answer to the question about being trim was, "I would not be worried that I could have a heart attack," then this answer tells you that what you want is peace of mind about your health. If your answer to the question about having smoother skin was, "I would not look so old," then this answer tells you that what you want is to look youthful, vibrant and strong.

What you want leads you to what you really want. Here's are questions to consider. Why do you want peace of mind about your health? Why do yo want to be desirable to men? Why do you want to look youthful, vibrant and strong? The answer to all three questions is fundamentally the same.

You want each of these three things because you believe that in having each of them, you will feel good. You want is to feel good about the way you look, and feel good about your body. Fundamentally, what you really want is to feel good about yourself.

The trouble is that often times people mistakenly believe that if they change themselves to fit what others say they should look like, then that would make them feel good about themselves. Perhaps you are struggling with this issue. Perhaps you are yearning to be accepted by someone or persons who say you are too... something. Consequently, you might be thinking, "if I could just change my body then they will accept me, and I will feel good about myself."

Unfortunately, having your feelings controlled by other people in this case, their opinion of what you should look like, is very disempowering. In actuality, that leads to you feeling distress, disdain and despair as discussed earlier. This concept is explained in detail in my book entitled: You Decide and Be Happy. The way to combat these negative feelings and feel good about yourself, is to take control of your focus. If you are able to do this consistently, you will stop being distracted by other people's opinions of how your body should look, and instead spend your energies getting what you really want. You would spend your time and resources doing the things that will directly result in your feeling good about yourself.

3 Options For Taking Control Of Your Focus

Your first option is to continue thinking the way you have been thinking about, referring to and relating to your body. This might be somewhat appealing because doing so would not require anything more of you than what you have doing. However, the disadvantage is that you will continue feeling the negative emotions you feel every time you look at yourself in the mirror.

If you are comfortable with remaining the same, then keep saying and doing what you have been doing. However, if it bothers you that you are not motivated to take action to change the level of distress you feel about yourself, then perhaps you might consider getting one-on-one mind-wellness coaching to understand why you are not motivated to take action. In so doing, your initial work with the coach would focus on helping you to uncover and overcome the mindset and behaviors hijacking your motivation, and hindering your progress.

The second option for taking control of your focus is to get effective self-help materials that could increase your knowledge so you can take control on your own. Perhaps you might want to try a self-help book on how to move from feeling bad to feeling good. also, you might want to access our FREE Online Training on how your body image affects your relationship with your partner, your kids, and your relationship with others. You might also want to get our workbook on improving your body image entitled: Project Me Volume 3.

The third option is the one many people think of being most difficult and perhaps you do too. You see, often times people know that society and particularly the media, calls attention to a problem individuals don't have just so that these individuals would spend money buying advertisers' products. In this case, people are somewhat aware of the undue influence of the media.

However, what people find baffling is knowing how to respond when the messages about being too... something could indeed be critical. For e.g., what if your physician has told you that your health is in danger, and that it is vital you lose weight? In this case you might be tempted to think, "my body is the problem!"

On the surface it might seem as that your body being too heavy is the problem however, the answer to the truth about your body is still the same. The size of your body is really the consequence of the problem. In this case for e.g., the problem may be your lack of intrinsic motivation to do the things you need to do in order to maintain the healthy weight advised by your physician. At this point in our discussion it is necessary point out that there are rare medical conditions where the body's functions are themselves problematic, however that is not what is being discussed here.

If the problem is your lack of intrinsic motivation to do the tasks necessary to get what you really want, (to feel good about yourself), then the third option in taking control of your focus is for you to get the help to do so. It would be necessary for you to uncover the message(s), and experiences such as a traumatic experience(s), that you may have internalized. Through one-to-one mind-wellness coaching, you would be able to identify, work through and overcome the experiences that are currently blocking you from having the mindset needed to do the tasks necessary to get to the health you want.

The primary benefit of our one-on-one online mind-wellness coaching is the transformation you experience after you find out the real problem(s) hindering your motivation, and you take the steps necessary to fix the problem(s). This is because we apply evidence based interventions that allow you to accurately identify the answers to the strategic questions that will help you get what you really want. Therefore, your third option is to message us today for your FREE coaching consultation, and get started toward taking control of your focus.


What is the ugly truth? It is this. You have been convinced to believe a falsehood about your body and this falsehood leaves you with feelings of distress about how you look, disdain that others seem to able to look good, and despair about your prospects of looking the way they say you are supposed to look.

Who are the "they" and what is the falsehood that you have been fed? The specific falsehood forced on you is that your your problem is your body is too... something. The persons perpetuating this denigrating message about your body comes from 3 groups of people: (1) persons you perceive to be more powerful than you e.g., the media, your parent(s) or your boss; (2) persons you perceive to be less powerful, e.g., younger sibling(s), other persons in another social group, etc; (3) persons you had considered allies, e.g., a spouse, ex(s), lover(s), colleague(s), fellow teammates, and/or friend(s).

Despite what they have led you to believe about your body, the truth is this. The look of your body is only secondary to what you really want. What you really want is to feel good about yourself. The way to feel good about yourself is to shift your mind away from the disparaging messages they are constantly feeding you, and take control of your focus by choosing one of the three options presented.