Body Image, Self-Esteem and the Shame That Comes With It.
There is no day where we don’t see a picture of a “perfect” body, “perfect” doll like face, living a “perfect” life.
When walking through the mall, standing at the check out or sitting at the hairdresser, waiting until we look human again, we are bombarded with messages and images why we need to change our body, our face, or our entire look.
It seems like with today’s pressure portrayed by the Media and Social Media, many feel not good enough and inadequate the way they look and live their life. Believing Instagram and Facebook, people seem to be always happy, have the “perfect” body, eat only salads, drink green smoothies, and work out six times a week.
I definitely know myself, I had and still have days when I mindlessly scroll through Instagram and don’t even notice how on some days I feel so much worse after scrolling than I did before. It is subtle and yet prominent, but subconsciously we seem to compare ourselves with others, what they eat, what they wear and how they look.
We ask ourselves: “What am doing wrong?” “Where have I gone wrong?”
We believe that we are the only one who feel that way. Others seems to have it all sorted. “I am the only one, I am just lazy and useless”. We feel ashamed talking about it, even to our partner. We don’t feel understood and are scared to feel judged.
We suffer in silence.
The truth is – we are not alone, you are not alone. On a daily basis I speak to women who feel very similar and are craving to share their pain.
It is time to speak and to break the stigma around Body Image Pressure and the shame that comes with it:Speak about it
It is hard to be vulnerable. It is hard to speak about it and the longer we keep to ourselves, the bigger and heavier is the burden. As soon as we open up, we realize how many other people feel very similar to us. They, too, just feel ashamed and fearful to be judged. Choose a person you trust who will listen without judgment. Share with them how you feel and what you are going through. Speaking to others can help us to get perspective and share the load.You are not alone
Sometimes, just knowing that we are not alone can provide relief. There are a lot of amazing groups and communities where we can connect with other people who are experiencing similar struggles. Ironically, but there are great free support groups on Facebook where women share their journey from body war to self-love. Also, reading other peoples’ storiescan be encouraging and motivating.Feel your feelings and accept your thoughts
Accept the thoughts you have about yourself. Feel the feelings you have. Fighting and judging our thoughts can create further problems and deepen our pain. We need to remember that our thoughts are the consequence of the messages we receive from the environment around us – TV, magazine, social media. We have been conditioned to have those thoughts. Recognizing and acknowledging that they are there, without acting on them can feel empowering. It seems like when we do that, we take the power away from them and stop allowing them to control our life – “Ok I hear you. I don’t believe you, but I hear you.”
Practice mindfulness and compassion – reconnect with your heart, rather the mind. In our heart we know that our thoughts are not true. In our heart we know who we truly are.Counter-Conditioning
We have been conditioned to think our bodies need to look like like plastic, like a manikin or like a Barbie. We have been brain washed.
Now, it is time to counter-condition ourselves. We need to immerse ourselves into the messages we want to think, instead of the ones we don’t want to think or the ones that makes us feel uncomfortable and inadequate.
Follow people who share body positive messages and health at every size. The more we begin to see body-diversity, the more we can appreciate women of every shape and size. With the time it will become easier to accept our own body and see that we are all the same, with similar struggles, hopes and needs. We just experience them at different times.
Just in case you don’t know where to start, my personal favorite people I love to follow are: Ashley Graham and Katie Willcox
About Eugenia Nikiforow
Eugenia Nikiforow is a Business Psychologist, a Body and Mind Transformation Expert, a Nutrition and Mindfulness Coach and a Yoga teacher. Her specialties include binge eating and emotional eating, distorted relationship with body and food and mindset coaching. Eugenia has a three pillar approach to wellness considering physical, emotional and nutritional perspective. She is trained in more than 100 dietary theories, a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods such as Mindfulness, NLP, CBT and positive human psychology.