Learning to Overcome My Image Struggles
After I wake up in the morning, one of the first things I see is my reflection in the mirror. Like many people with depression, I don't always like my appearance. Years ago, I obsessed over it to the point that gaining a few pounds was enough for me to isolate myself. In this post, I recall my experiences with image struggles and how I have been learning to overcome them.
My Image Struggles During My Teenage Years
I first started to hate my body in middle school. According to the doctor, I was slightly overweight. As a 13-year-old, that was a big deal to me. I was bullied for being fat. One day before school, my sister's boyfriend called me ugly. That comment made me wonder how many other boys thought I was ugly. I constantly compared myself to my pretty and athletic sister and her friends.
After my dad passed away during my junior year of high school, I dealt with my emotions by binge eating junk food and fast food. About a year later, a family member helped me realize that we needed to make positive changes. It took a lot of work and support from my physical education teacher, but I started to enjoy working out. Within a few months of getting a gym membership, I started running for a few hours every day. In addition to that, I found an obsession with makeup. By high school graduation, I spent more time working out and perfecting my makeup than enjoying my life with friends and family.
4 Ways I am Overcoming Image Struggles
Now that I am 31 years old, I have spent nearly 20 years learning to become more comfortable in my skin. Here are four techniques I use when my image insecurities emerge.
- I dive into my passions. My passions shelter me from negative thoughts. Writing stories requires me to think about characters, plots, dialog, and messages. When I color, I remain focused on the designs and different shades of pink and purple. When I am invested in my passions, I do not have the time or temptation to think about my appearance.
- I appreciate the positive parts of my life. In addition to having passions, I know that there is a lot to be thankful for in the present. I love my job, friends, family, writing groups, and coworkers. When I acknowledge everything I am thankful for, I remember to spend more time working on my relationships and enjoying the moment.
- I listen to my body. I still have many days when I feel fat. On those days, it can be tempting to run for more than an hour. But due to overexertion in the past, my back and neck are not in the best shape. So I have learned to accept that I need to go a little bit easier on myself. I have developed mindfulness while exercising.
- I remember to embrace what is real. There are days when I hate the fine lines on my forehead so much that I consider getting Botox. But then I remind myself that the physical signs of aging do not define my identity. They do not define my value as a person. My appearance will change as I get older. I may gain a few wrinkles or a few pounds, but I will also gain wisdom and inner strength.
Lueck, M. (2022, April 26). Learning to Overcome My Image Struggles, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, June 25 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/toughtimes/2022/4/learning-to-overcome-my-image-struggles