Altering your image: Strategies from the trenches (Psychology Today, Jan/Feb 1997)
One of the major goals of "Psychology Today's" 1997 body image survey was to learn more about how people have remade their image. Some of the suggestions made for altering one's body image are presented.
One of the major goals of the 1997 Body Image Survey was to learn more about how people have remade their image. Though we anticipated receiving a few brief suggestions, we were inundated with your personal accounts of change. We have summarized your suggestions but kept your words. Try and discover what factors play a role in your struggle with your body. And be deliberate about creating a lifestyle that increases your chances for ending the war with your body.
1. Develop criteria for self-esteem that go beyond appearance. One way to make appearance less important is to develop other benchmarks for self-evaluation. A 51year-old woman from California summarizes the approach: "By achieving in other areas, balancing successes and failures, searching where positives are possible." A 53-year-old Washington man says, "focusing on succeeding at work, participating in sports, and friendships have helped me overcome my negative body feelings,"
2. Cultivate the ability to appreciate your body, especially how it functions. One middle-aged women writes: "I have often wanted to write an article called 'I Have a Beautiful Body.' No, I don't look like Jane Fonda. I look like a normal 46-year-old woman who has had three children. But my body is beautiful because of all it does for me. I have two eyes that can see, a large nose for smelling, a large mouth for eating and smiling, two hands that can hold and hug, two breasts that have nursed three sons, an abdomen that was home to three babies, two legs that can walk everywhere I want to go, and two feet to take me there."
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