- Is your mood determined by how you look?
- Do you worry about what others think of your appearance?
- Do you feel that if you were skinnier, more toned, had better hair, etc., you’d be happier, more successful, or experiencing better relationships?
- Do you criticize yourself for not having more control over your body?
- Do you consistently find yourself on a diet?
- Do you think about losing weight throughout the day?
- Do you avoid social situations when you’re not feeling great about your appearance?
- Do you focus on your weight/appearance more that most other aspects of your life?
We live in a world where we are taught very early on that our value lies in our appearance. Our outward appearance determines much of how we feel about ourselves and how we feel others perceive us. We are inundated with images that have been airbrushed to what our society would tell us is “perfection.” These images are not only impossible to achieve but detrimental to the way we feel about ourselves. By focusing on this, we miss out on discovering our real value and worth.
Body Image issues are so pervasive in our culture, that we rarely see a client, male or female, who does not have some type of body concern. Whether people feel they are too heavy, too thin, not muscular enough, etc., people typically feel this is an area of their life they need to tackle and control. We are taught that our outward appearance can change our world. We can become more successful, have better relationships, and be happier if only we’re attractive and the right size. These messages are delivered to us through media, family, friends, coworkers, and countless other sources. This way of thinking inevitably leads to depression, anxiety, and a number of other issues when one can never possibly reach that level of perfection.
As early as eight years old, children are found criticizing their bodies and on diets. They are already learning that they will be more accepted and loved if they have the right look. These are messages and beliefs that develop so early on in life that it can feel impossible to change those views. People often feel defeated knowing this way of thinking is illogical but not knowing how to change it. These ideas are so ingrained that we often say things that encourage and nurture this belief system without realizing it. We tell children how beautiful they are considerably more often than we compliment them on their intelligence or creativity.
We tend to forget or disregard the fact that true value and worth is determined by what lies within a person. People want to be around those that “light up a room” because the inward beauty is radiating to the outside. One’s ideas, thoughts, beliefs, talents, and strengths are the real qualities that determine value and worth. At the end of one’s life, a person is not remembered for their beauty but by how they made others feel and what they may have contributed to their family, friends, and society emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. We need to start valuing the same qualities in ourselves that we value in our friends, families, and heroes.
At Noyau, we know turning this belief system around is not easy by yourself. Our therapists specialize in working with body image issues no matter how minor or severe. We know you are constantly being fed messages and ideas that are counter to what you would like to believe. We want to work with you to transition your thoughts and better equip you to combat the societal messages you receive everyday about your happiness’ dependency on your appearance. We also feel massage, nutrition, and medicine can help in the process of creating a healthier sense of value and worth. Treating your body well sends you the message that you deserve to feel great about who you are inwardly and outwardly. We will work with you to identify your needs be it counseling alone or a combination of our services.