Thursday, March 4, 2010

Body Image

The main goal in my life is happiness. I strive to find complete contentedness in my existence, and to provide for my children a clear and open path to their own happiness. I feel that it is my duty to them to be an emotionally and physically strong, healthy and happy person. Most of the time I feel like I am getting it right.

There is this one issue that never seems to go away, though. These little tentacles of self doubt and self criticism that creep up out of the ground and wrap around me like vines, threatening to pull me down. This one thing that so easily moves in and strips away my confidence. My body image.

I am not technically overweight. I am at the high end of what is considered healthy for my height and frame. I am athletic and in good shape. I exercise regularly and I have run an average of 1000 miles a year for the last 4 years. So, why is the image in the mirror something that bothers me every single day?

I don't know precisely when it started. Sometime around jr. high, I suppose. I know I'm not alone. Many of my friends began to worry and stress about their bodies and their weight at the same time. And, just like me, most of them were not anywhere near overweight.

As an adult, I see these concerns and self doubts beginning in girls at a younger and younger age. Is it something we can escape? Can we teach our daughters to see that the true meaning of beauty lies not in their physical appearance alone? Can we free them of this burden that so many of us carry around?

I want to be released from these feelings. I try. I get there some days. Sometimes after a good run I feel beautiful and healthy. And, then there are the moments when my husband looks at me and bathed in the glow of his admiration and love I forget any negativity and feel only pure bliss.

But, then, I turn on the TV and the media tries to tell me what is beautiful and appealing. And, it is something that I am not. Or, a woman who is much, much thinner than I am calls herself a 'fat cow'. And, a senior citizen (who is also smaller than I am) says she has to diet. I begin to wonder, if this is how they see themselves, then how do they see me? How does the world in general see me? How do my children see me? How does my husband see me? What if I am not good enough?

It's just so tiring and I want to be free of it. I want to tear down this roadblock on my freeway of happiness. I want to spare my daughters the doubt and uncertainty, and have them only feel beautiful and confident. But, how do we get there?