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Choose to see love: addressing body dysmorphia

It's not uncommon for people to feel a bit lack-luster this time of year. This is when the battle with holiday weight gain continues, yet it's cold out and we still want to cozy-in and consume comfort foods... So I understand it can be difficult to feel good in your skin, which always feels better sun kissed and glowy (that's a real word;). But at what point is it in your head, and at what point does that become a major concern? This past week I had a heart breaking conversation with a dear client and friend who appears to 'have it all'. She's bright, kind, beautiful, charming, athletic... You name it. She's so wonderful to be around too and when she opened up to me about how she feels when she looks in the mirror, I was shattered. Body dysmorphia is a very real thing. Trying to convince someone that they look great when they feel like shit will not get anyone anywhere. Especially when the reassurance is mucked with resentment and little patience. The bottom line is there's something else going on. Often times we'll see it in people who have A LOT going on and have A LOT of pressure to be the best at everything. We are our own worst critics. Even when we do praise ourselves, it tends to be at a much lesser value than how much others would praise us. Loving oneself is a far cry from being an egomaniac. We can work hard, be proud, feel great, and look terrific... and that is all good. Better than good. In fact, it's the most important response we could possibly get from ourselves. The moment we allow someone else's reflection to enter our view in the mirror... it's much more difficult to hold onto the modesty. If it's always about the competition, nothing will ever be good enough because the fear of losing is much too daunting. If you can control every aspect of your life to perfection but wish you could piecemeal your body to look 'ideal' just know that 'ideal' does not exist. I can talk until I'm blue in face about how not to view ourselves in the mirror and in our heads, but the bottom line is that there's very little I can say to change anything. It's all about what YOU can say. How do you talk to yourself? Is it always: 'that wasn't good enough', 'I just can't do it', 'I'm not as fit, or as strong, or as pretty as...' You've heard me say it a million times, self talk is a very powerful tool. It's devastating when it's negative, but it can move mountains when it's positive. May Cause Miracles is a book that I read during a very trying time in my life. It really helped me change my approach to outcomes by starting with positive self talk, or mantras. In fact, she assigns a mantra daily and we are to trust that whatever it says, it's pertinent to that day. She also suggests we write it down and carry it with us to remind us of it's potential. That was 2 years ago and I still carry them with me. On days I feel like I need a little help, I pull one out. Actually, I'm running a little low because I keep handing them out;) So, I just reached in and grab one for you and it says: I choose to see love. Write it down and carry it with you. You may even forget you put it somewhere and have a pleasant surprise when you stumble upon it. If you know someone with body dysmorphia, I recommend seeing a good therapist. I'm a firm believer in therapy - physical and emotional. One important thing about therapy: if you don't like your therapist you can find another one, but don't give up on yourself. If you live in the Southcoast I highly recommend Robert Finn-Clarke, LICSW in Dartmouth, MA. He is a cognitive behavioral therapist and has a great network of colleagues. You can reach him at: (508) 994-1109 x5 Choose to see love. xolara
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