My body image is killing my soul


#1

I struggle deeply with body image issues. For me, berating my body and scrutinizing it's flaws happens probably 100x a day, maybe more. It's such a natural thing. I frequently compare how big I am next to another woman, from whole body to specific parts, and it seems like I daily try to come up with another plan to slim down, whether it be not eating any desserts, or drinking alcohol, or running, or whatever.

But here's the kicker: I'm an intelligent, faithful, objectively beautiful woman who has so many talents, gifts, and blessings. I can spend hours in Adoration, I go to Mass 3 or 4x a week, I'm eloquent about my faith and I love to encourage others. God has formed me to be a leader in my circles, especially spiritually, and He has given me the grace to not screw it up. What I'm saying is, I'm SO blessed and I'm SO aware that this is an issue that I need help with if I'm going to become a saint on earth, which naturally is my goal.

What I'm saying is, I recognize a deep need for healing for my obsession. From the books I've read and the conversations with guys that I've had, I'd say that my obsession is comprable to the hold that pornography has on (mainly) men in our culture.

*To this community of believers, what I am asking is for, not only your prayer, but also your advice - the tools you have found to help conquer this sin of pride in your lives. *

The reason I posted this in "Family Life" is because I know that if I cannot heal in this before I get married in a few years, it will greatly affect my relationship with my husband, and my children. Already, my wonderful boyfriend is at a loss on how to best support me other than prayer and a listening ear.

What can I do to better understand my beauty and my body? How can I learn to love it as God made it? Honestly, I am hard pressed to find some part of my body that I can't complain about, but at the same time, I know how INCREDIBLY wrong I am to be judging myself so harshly. I have not learned to love the physical me, though I have a healthy respect for the moral me, the spiritual me and the mental me.

My head knows truth where my heart vehemently rejects it.


#2

Honey, this isn't the sin of pride. This is a psychological issue you need to get professional help for.


#3

First I would like to say you are on the right track because you have all the basic intellectual knowledge so pat yourself on the back for that.

Now, my advice

The whole problem is your unrealistic goal 'To be a saint while here on earth'. We are ALL sinners and God loves us just the same. That is why He was given us the sacrament of reconciliation.

You expect WAY too much or yourself spiritually. Just the way you say 'God has formed me to be a leader in my circles, especially spiritually, and He has given me the grace to not screw it up' Go easy on yourself and join us in the human race.

One of these days, God may take that grace away, not because He doesn't love you but because He may want you to learn humility. You are so consumed with being perfect and since in the religious circles you have succeeded so far, the only thing you can find is to beat yourself up physically.

My advice, quit being a leader and start being one of the gang in the religious community. It will work wonders

Goc Bless

CM


#4

If we were (literal) neighbours or co-workers, I would feel grateful to have you in my life! :console:


#5

I'm so sorry you are suffering like this. I've struggled with unhealthy body image since teenage years. I suggest you go into councelling. This is a psychological problem - I can tell you this from personal experience. In my case It was my perfectionist father who would tell me I was fat and needed to lose weight and who started monitoring everything I ate. He also encouraged me to have plastic surgery when I was 18 to fix some of my problems. I'm 35 and still trying to heal from this damage.


#6

[quote="hmm, post:1, topic:246749"]
I struggle deeply with body image issues. For me, berating my body and scrutinizing it's flaws happens probably 100x a day, maybe more. It's such a natural thing. I frequently compare how big I am next to another woman, from whole body to specific parts, and it seems like I daily try to come up with another plan to slim down, whether it be not eating any desserts, or drinking alcohol, or running, or whatever.

[/quote]

Check out Marianne Kirby and Linda Bacon. Read everything by these women on body image.


#7

[quote="hmm, post:1, topic:246749"]
I struggle deeply with body image issues. For me, berating my body and scrutinizing it's flaws happens probably 100x a day, maybe more. It's such a natural thing. I frequently compare how big I am next to another woman, from whole body to specific parts, and it seems like I daily try to come up with another plan to slim down, whether it be not eating any desserts, or drinking alcohol, or running, or whatever.

But here's the kicker: I'm an intelligent, faithful, objectively beautiful woman who has so many talents, gifts, and blessings. I can spend hours in Adoration, I go to Mass 3 or 4x a week, I'm eloquent about my faith and I love to encourage others. God has formed me to be a leader in my circles, especially spiritually, and He has given me the grace to not screw it up. What I'm saying is, I'm SO blessed and I'm SO aware that this is an issue that I need help with if I'm going to become a saint on earth, which naturally is my goal.

What I'm saying is, I recognize a deep need for healing for my obsession. From the books I've read and the conversations with guys that I've had, I'd say that my obsession is comprable to the hold that pornography has on (mainly) men in our culture.

*To this community of believers, what I am asking is for, not only your prayer, but also your advice - the tools you have found to help conquer this sin of pride in your lives. *

The reason I posted this in "Family Life" is because I know that if I cannot heal in this before I get married in a few years, it will greatly affect my relationship with my husband, and my children. Already, my wonderful boyfriend is at a loss on how to best support me other than prayer and a listening ear.

What can I do to better understand my beauty and my body? How can I learn to love it as God made it? Honestly, I am hard pressed to find some part of my body that I can't complain about, but at the same time, I know how INCREDIBLY wrong I am to be judging myself so harshly. I have not learned to love the physical me, though I have a healthy respect for the moral me, the spiritual me and the mental me.

My head knows truth where my heart vehemently rejects it.

[/quote]

well, well, well, let's start:

  1. first think that you are not alone. I am a teacher and took photographs of all the whole of my school and discovered that rightly 90 percent of the people did not like his/her image.

  2. Then I discovered that most models dont like themselves. Claudia Schiffer did not like her body because she thought she was too tall (she is tall). But after earning millions with her stature, she discovered that she was not that tall !!!

  3. Funny: the prettiest of my students are the ones who feel worse about their bodies. The ugly ones seem to have no problem with it. I joke: "Blessed the ugly girls for they know that whoever loves them has got true love!" And hey laugh. Sometimes we discuss what is better: to be beautiful or to be ugly...Beauty attracts all kinds of pests around and you cannot distinguish between the person who loves you or the person who loves your beauty or else, your money, etc.

  4. I dont see any problem with your body preoccupation. I only see a problem on you seeing it as a problem. Some people have a hobby with cars, others fishing, others hunting, you have got your hobby solved it is your body. You dont suffer because you have such a body, you suffer because you make it a problem.

  5. And your suffering deals, as you told, with a simple thing called COMPARISON. I tell you a story: suppose you and 10 of your friends are around me. I give you 1 million dollars. You will be very happy, and you'll promise friendship for ever, no? And then, one by one, I give 10 million dollars to each of your friends. Would you still be happy? I think you are a good girls and you will keep your feelings inside and be polite. But, inside yourself, you will curse me asking why I did not give so much as the others, and you will be thinking what have you done to not deserve the same. You will end feeling miserable with you 1 million dollars.

  6. "Comparison" of intelligence, riches, beauty, body, houses, glory, fame, skills kills us. Moreover, Americans are more prone to that as I checked when I was there. They are competitive and competition means "comparison". You told that you compare... If I tell you that there is a tribe in Nigeria where all the girls must be very fat to get married, because it means the husband has got money to support her...and that there are clinics to fatten ladies, can you believe !!! Plastic surgery is common in Iran for they want to change their sexy (my opinion) noses to European noses ! If you compare your body parts (what a patience you have !) to other women, then you will find always someone who has got nicer, feet, legs, belly, arms. hair, nose, lips, oh! boy! no patience for that!

  7. Now the fashion is to be ultra-thin, and the models such as that are not sexy at all (ask your boyfriend). women to be sexy need to be a little "fluffy". I tell you what a doctor told me: A model got a contract when someone saw her coming out of a psychiatric clinic treating her anorexia ! I asked my students why is this so and one of them answered that the designers are either women or guy and so they dont care for woman's beauty they want to sell clothes and women very tall and very thin are the ones that shape a better dress. But girls keep imitating them.

cont...............................................


#8

[quote="hmm, post:1, topic:246749"]
I struggle deeply with body image issues. For me, berating my body and scrutinizing it's flaws happens probably 100x a day, maybe more. It's such a natural thing. I frequently compare how big I am next to another woman, from whole body to specific parts, and it seems like I daily try to come up with another plan to slim down, whether it be not eating any desserts, or drinking alcohol, or running, or whatever.

But here's the kicker: I'm an intelligent, faithful, objectively beautiful woman who has so many talents, gifts, and blessings. I can spend hours in Adoration, I go to Mass 3 or 4x a week, I'm eloquent about my faith and I love to encourage others. God has formed me to be a leader in my circles, especially spiritually, and He has given me the grace to not screw it up. What I'm saying is, I'm SO blessed and I'm SO aware that this is an issue that I need help with if I'm going to become a saint on earth, which naturally is my goal.

What I'm saying is, I recognize a deep need for healing for my obsession. From the books I've read and the conversations with guys that I've had, I'd say that my obsession is comprable to the hold that pornography has on (mainly) men in our culture.

*To this community of believers, what I am asking is for, not only your prayer, but also your advice - the tools you have found to help conquer this sin of pride in your lives. *

The reason I posted this in "Family Life" is because I know that if I cannot heal in this before I get married in a few years, it will greatly affect my relationship with my husband, and my children. Already, my wonderful boyfriend is at a loss on how to best support me other than prayer and a listening ear.

What can I do to better understand my beauty and my body? How can I learn to love it as God made it? Honestly, I am hard pressed to find some part of my body that I can't complain about, but at the same time, I know how INCREDIBLY wrong I am to be judging myself so harshly. I have not learned to love the physical me, though I have a healthy respect for the moral me, the spiritual me and the mental me.

My head knows truth where my heart vehemently rejects it.

[/quote]

cont.........................................

  1. I always felt ugly. But when the first girl told me that she liked me, the heavens opened and I realized that that was enough. Somebody liked me even how I looked. I never had any more problems. I eventually married another woman, my everlasting wife and I do not care that I may be ugly or not !

  2. Listen: beauty is comparison. If I elect the Class Queen, she is the most beautiful of the Class but she may not be the Queen of the School, and this one who is the most Beautiful of the School (compared to whom my Class Queen is "ugly"), may not be the Town's Queen, and so on, district, State, Country, World. Each one is ugly or beautiful "compared" with.....

  3. When people starts making comparisons, I change waves, no patience for that. Each person was made by God its own ways. One day, when my eldest missed school for 2 weeks for disease, returning from school, he said: "I am the worst of the class". And I said: "Miguel, someone has got to be the worst". Even if everyone is the best of the Universe! The teacher found the answer amusing and told him: "Your father...your father..." Do you realize that the worst of the 100 meters swimming free style is the 8th of the World. Nevertheless, there, he is the worst! Do you imagine a competition where the only competitor is the winner ? There must be a loser to have a winner! I know in America losers are despised, but that's and American problem, not found elsewhere...

  4. So, when I think that I am ugly, I say to myself: Boy, I serve as a measure for the other people's beauty. And I am happy!

12.Cheers, Girl! :thumbsup:


#9

Thank you all for your comments and encouragement.

I just got back from Mass, and of course it was helpful.

We're all called to be saints with Jesus (see Luke 9:23) and therefore, I am trying to be proactive in healing my wounds that hold me back, this being one of them. I sometimes get glimpses of what it's like to not worry about my body, and I ferociously try to hold onto the thoughts that brought me there mentally. Perhaps it's practices like that that will build the virtue of humility that I so honestly desire.

Perhaps seeing a counselor is a good idea for this sort of thing, but I'm skeptical, because I don't have an eating disorder, nor could I see myself developing one.

Something that lurks in the back of my head, unfortunately, is the fact that I feel huge next to my boyfriend. He and I are about the same weight, and he's a few inches taller, but he looks really slim. I fear that I look like a giant next to him, and that is the antithesis of femininity in my mind. I'm not fat (almost 5'10" and 165lbs), but my size seems to be magnified when I'm with him. Let me repeat, however, that he thinks I'm beautiful, curves and all, so this is not a testament of his lack of communication. Again, it's back to my original distorted body image.

*The worst part? Even while I write in this forum, I know there are so many worse things in the world that I could be affected with!! I've been protected from so much hurt and disease, but here I am, complaining (it feels like), trying to sort out this "problem." I mean, who do I think I am? *


#10

Seriously, 5"10, 165 lbs.?!? You are beautiful, normal and fine! Now stop worrying about that and get on with your life! :pshaw:

And, we all worry about something, even while we know other people have it worse. So don't kick yourself too much about that. Like I said, you seem like someone I would be happy to have as a friend. :yup:


#11

You are too self-absorbed. What difference does it make if you are large, small, tall, short, have curves, are flat, whatever, whatever, whatever. If you want to quickly learn to appreciate your body as it is and truly get over yourself, please regularly spend some volunteer time in a hospital. When you see how ill some of these people are, you will fall to your knees and thank God for your good health and the ways you are able to serve Him because of your good health.


#12

Try journaling therapy (see here). Keep track of when you compare yourself with other women, e.g., if there is anything that triggers it, how you feel during and afterward, etc. Do you find anything too painful to deal with, so you just turn away or turn it off? Are there any fictional depictions (books, TV shows, etc.) that remind you of your situation? Ponder any childhood memories that seem relevant. Anything that helps give you insight into your self.


#13

I may be reading your post in a tone you didn’t intend, but this did not seem edifying for the OP. She sounds perfectly aware of her blessings. :confused:

OP- My advice is decidedly non-spiritual: get some exercise. Find a sport or go hiking or something. If you can’t think of yourself as beautiful, then maybe you can appreciate the beauty and grace of a well-functioning body. When you’re out *doing * something, you don’t have time to think about how nice (or not) you look. It’s summer, too, so everyone is sweaty and gross and not looking their best, and there aren’t any mirrors out there, either. :stuck_out_tongue:

Re: unfeminine next to boyfriend- I can only commiserate, no advice. I’m about the same height/weight as you, and it’s awful to feel “thicker” than your SO. Play up the curves, a bit, maybe?

[quote=hmm]I mean, who do I think I am?
[/quote]

Google “first world problems”. It’s a hard life, you know? :smiley:


#14

[quote="amerrychase, post:13, topic:246749"]
I may be reading your post in a tone you didn't intend, but this did not seem edifying for the OP. She sounds perfectly aware of her blessings. :confused:

[/quote]

She is aware of her other blessings, but she is not sufficiently aware of her blessings in regards to her body. I'm saying, when you are around people whose daily prayer is "Lord, let me live", or "Lord, take away my pain", or "Lord, heal me, let me have a healthy body", then all this obsession with superficial bodily imperfections is being self-absorbed and also ungrateful to the Lord for His blessing of good health. People who have REAL problems with their body would gladly switch places with her. I'm sorry if it hurts her feelings to hear this, but she did ask for advice; and I'm suggesting that volunteering in a hospital will help her get her perspective straightened out.


#15

Again, hmm, you are making problems of problems of problems !

As much you fight those thoughts as much they will come to you !! If you let it go, if you dont worry about them, they eventually go away. Stop this "I ferociously try to hold onto the thoughts that brought me there mentally". My Master told me about the thoughts: "Dont reject, dont adhere, dont analyze, just let them go like butterflies that come and go".

It is nor up to you to judge your femininity. This is narcisism. It's up to a man to judge you. Myself I dont like skinny girls. But opinion does not matter. Ask you boyfriend and, you do not need to ask, it seems that he likes you !!!

Gosh, try to enjoy your thoughts, seeing how some of them are stupid, others intelligent, others funny, others disturbing and despairing and do not intervene. See them as a movie from another director.

You are not trying to become a saint for you are already a saint. Not canonized, yes, but you are a saint.

What you are trying is to become an angels, without a Body or with a Perfect Body and that, besides impossible, does not exist.

Be happy with what you are: a woman with many faults that you will never correct, a sinner who must ask forgiveness to God everyday.

Again, thinking too much: what has the famine in Ethiopia to do with your little problem? None can solve the other! And you have a right to have your tiny little problem. But, please, dont make that a problem because of a problem because of a problem. "famine in Ethiopia is a big problem, yours is a small problem". Period. dont analyze it till you drop exhausted to the ground...and solve neither problem with it !

Cheers:thumbsup:


#16

there is no sin involved, but since you yourself call it an obsession, it is a matter for professional help. certainly we are praying for you but you have also the obligation to seek that help. Imagining that there is something sinful is only going to make the issue worse.

one thing that might help while you are working through this, while at prayer, is forgiveness prayer. Forgive consciously actually saying the words out loud, I forgive my father, my mother, brother, sister, anyone else who has done this, for any comment, reference or criticism of my body and my appearance that has hurt me. I forgive myself for any way I have abused my body in the past. Most of all I will try to get ready to forgive, if I am not able to do it yet, anyone who actually has abused me (name them). the purpose of course is not to condone any harm that was done to you, but to lessen its hold over you.


#17

[quote="hmm, post:9, topic:246749"]

Perhaps seeing a counselor is a good idea for this sort of thing, but I'm skeptical, because I don't have an eating disorder, nor could I see myself developing one.

[/quote]

Many people who have a bad body image do not have eating disorders (myself included), but it still is a problem when it affects your life to the extent you describe. Having a chat about these things wouldn't hurt.


#18

We don’t get born with these problems. Who in your life was focused on body image? Think back and remember that person, and you will have your answer. You absorbed someone’s idea of what to obsess about - someone’s priority in life - whether it was their own body or yours - someone close to you was out of balance in this area.

You probably have other areas of perfectionism, if I had to guess. But this is the worst one for you. Of course our culture doesn’t help, but unless you grow up with someone who is constantly focused on external appearance, you probably wouldn’t be obsessed as you are.

Eating disorders aren’t the only manifestation of problems with body image. I would recommend counseling to start dealing with the person whose voice you are hearing when you criticize yourself.


#19

hmm or you're just being tempted with these false images.

imo there is way too much image focused on the body today and I don't think your alone with this haunt to your otherwise Godly life. Demons have found it to be a profitable chink in your armor.

If my daughter told me of this problem first I'd recommend 10 reps of the miraculous medal prayer, or a short invoking 'Jesus' name...like 'Jesus I trust in you'.

If the problem were 'temptation' I thinking the instances might be mitigated after a week of doing this exercise because of intercession and indulgences earned. And if not then perhaps if time to escalate to a pro counselor.


#20

I agree. You dont have a serious problem, but you have a problem. If you dont want counselling, ok. But it will do you no harm.

Isn’t this refusal par of the problem? You want to be perfect so you do not need anybody’s help which would be a weekness? just hypothesis:thumbsup:


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