Do you think you’re sexy?
Or do you feel awkward when it comes to revealing all in the bedroom?
Did you grow up never feeling pretty or that no one saw beauty in you?
Do you compare yourself to others and wish you could have a total body transformation?
Do you feel hate your body shape and size?
Or maybe you feel ashamed of the body you’re in?
If so, you’re not alone. Women are constantly bombarded with a multitude of unhealthy body image ideals. These ideals are often unachievable and can result in the relentless pursuit of unrealistic goals.
The result on our bodies is well documented can be catastrophic. We diet, we fast, we avoid certain foods. This can cause a whole raft of health problems from losing hair to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Yet little attention is given to how body image issues impact our partner choice.
I often wonder, if we hate our bodies, are we more likely to:
Settle for crumbs in our intimate relationships?
Be in abusive, toxic, or unhealthy partnerships?
Be overly grateful to our partners and potential love recruits who find us attractive?
I believe there is a strong likelihood that poor body image influences our mate choice. I think it results in us being more susceptible to unhealthy relationship dynamics. At worst, it leaves us vulnerable to abuse and, if I track my personal journey, I can see how this dynamic played itself out.
The reality is when we hate the body we’re in we end up never feeling good enough. We’re never content. How can you be when you never hit the mark when you’re constantly being programmed by media moguls to feel inadequate, less than or not good enough?
Discontentment sells and we only need to watch the program ‘Botched’ to see the damaging far-reaching consequences of body dissatisfaction. The relentless and costly need for bigger boobs, bigger bums, flatter tummies, and elf ears, yes elf ears – surely this is a case for the psychiatrist’s chair, not the operating table! Contentment is the new revolution and self-acceptance is the new radical.
When an opportunity to have a body confidence photoshoot came to me. I had many reservations, I felt very uncomfortable. I am much more in favour of sharing my intellect than my body. I questioned the photographer incessantly about what would be required of me. He said it was all in my hands and he would take my lead. Such reassurance – woop, woop! I soon came to realise that many of my insecurities came from childhood, the media especially music videos and ideals of sexy I felt I didn’t live up to. I grew up as an obese teen, so in spite of my weight loss, the obese child still lived within and was fuelled by past experiences of ridicule, rejection, discrimination, and put-downs.
Once I realised that my past negative experience was sabotaging me in the present, I said yes to the photoshoot. I wanted to put those demons to bed – so to speak.
These pictures have been an important part of my self-acceptance journey and if you, like me, have settled for nonsense or less than you deserve in your relationships then I encourage you to reflect on the following thought-provoking questions:
- Identify one area of your body you dislike.
- What or who has influenced your dislike of this part of your body?
- If that part of your body was changed, identify one positive impact you think it would have on your self-esteem/confidence?
Now you’ve answered these questions feel free to inbox me your responses. Ladies, we need to remember that a lack of body confidence can have a tremendous negative impact on the quality of our lives. Left unchecked, it can result in us playing small, tolerating nonsense and leave us being eternally grateful for crumbs of validation. Now, this is not what we want for our precious lives. We want healthy wholesome relationships. We want to truly love ourselves and appreciate the skin we’re in. Don’t you agree?
Keeley Taverner is a psychotherapist who is a companion to people taking steps to understand and overcome life dilemmas. If you have been inspired by this article, please feel free to inbox Keeley or arrange a no-fee fact-finding call here: