I work with people in healing chronic negative body image.
Body image issues are often a manifestation of body shame. Each of us has unique lived experiences where our shame has been cultivated; part of the healing is letting these body stories be told and witnessed. This is our common humanity playing out in our individual lives.
Humans are mammals and most humans have a deep, intrinsic need for contact with other humans. We are social creatures. We crave contact, we crave warmth, we crave nurturance and emotional holding. Some consciously seek these things out often, some deny these needs exist for them and tuck them down in their unconscious, truly believing they are above real intimacy. In reality, most of us move along a continuum of accepting the needing and denying the needing, as we move through life in relationship to each other. A therapeutic relationship can be safe place to come face to face with our own yearning and needing, and the disappointments we have felt when we have taken the risk to let another see us fully and they have let us down.
How might this translate to issues with body image? Our bodies are often the holding place of these painful unfelt disappointments and the untold stories from the past that get played out over and over as we walk through the world. We carry the deep yearning that abides in within us, that may, or may not, be met by others. The depth of the unacknowledged disappointment when we are not met, is often transferred onto our bodies in the form of body shame and then illusive solution to the pain appears. If we can perfect our bodies enough, we won’t be disappointed. This is a distorted belief, one that has helped us get through life to this point. However, this is a belief that we can face and let go of which will in turn reduce body shame and create more freedom in our lives.
There are practices we can engage to perhaps move out from under the weight of chronic negative body image and let our bodies breathe.
- radical acceptance of our human yearnings
- acknowledging and naming our unmet needs
- developing self-compassion for our suffering
- allowing ourselves to continue to take risks in relationships in the face of fear
- learning at times that we must give ourselves the attention, care and understanding we seek from others
- letting ourselves take in help and support as we work through our body shame, there is no shame in getting help
Finding a safe place to explore your body story and let your whole self be seen, heard and cared for is the sacred, fertile, healing ground I can offer to those I have the honor of working with. Reach out if I can be of service to you.