This post is more personal than my typical posts but I hope my story will resonate with others struggling with self-worth related to their bodies.
I can remember very clearly the day my struggles with body image began. I was five or six years old. My family was visiting extended family and my parents began talking with my cousin’s parents about which of us cousins was heavier. I clearly remember them getting out a scale and weighing all of us girls (my sister and I and my cousin). I don’t remember where I fell into the lineup of weight but I do remember feeling shame associated with my body for the first time because I wasn’t the smallest and that apparently was disappointing to my family based on the way it made me feel. It was the first time I remember ever feeling shame about my body. Sadly, as I look back at pictures from that stage of life, I was just an average child. However, the image of not being good enough because of my body has stayed with me since that day.
Since that time, I have had a love hate relationship with food and my body. The messages I got as a child were so confusing. I was rewarded with treats yet shamed because of my body. I learned to use food to ease the emotional pain and brighten my spirits. I felt the pain of not being good enough because of my body. Thus, began the crazy cycle of my disordered relationship with food. As an adult, I can look back and see how those events instilled some misguided beliefs about myself; but it is still a struggle every day not to buy into those beliefs because they have become so ingrained. We live in a world that reinforces those negative messages to our girls, making it even harder to overcome them.
I am working on something new here at Origins Family Counseling that I am excited to be able to offer to my clients and other struggling with similar issues in the future. It is not ready to reveal yet; but I can’t wait to share it with you. Stay tuned for more information.