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Body Image and the Never Ending Quest for Perfection

February 2, 2015

Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874 – 1939) - Girl with Earrings

Frederick Carl Frieseke (1874 – 1939) – Girl with Earrings

I was nudged out of my comfort zone last week when I read a post by a 37-year-old blogger which she titled We Hate Our Bodies and It’s Not Our Fault.  This is my response: Do You Hate Your Body?  This was a hot topic for me a decade ago and it still can rear its ugly head now and again.  In 2012 I wrote an article for HuffPost on the issue of aging and physical appearance that’s worth reviving:  Keeping Up Appearances: Who Would We Be if We Quit Talking About Aging.  That same year Women at War with Their Bodies appeared on my blog. I’ve worked hard to wrestle my demons into submission, but it’s an issue that we cannot let rest, and the painful memories will likely never go away completely and I’m glad they won’t. We need reminders, because we must take action to share our widening perspectives further until they reach every man and woman alive. Body image is a core issue of self-esteem for women and without solid self-esteem one cannot stretch one’s wings and fly. And, we were all meant to fly.

Most of us have fallen victim to cultural expectations perpetrated by the masses and by cruel and unwitting individuals. We have spent too many years denigrating and dissecting a vital and valuable part of who we are. We have not loved our beloved companion as she was meant to be loved. Aging has its advantages once again in this arena. I found that it allowed me to let go of the fantasy that I could always diet tomorrow, or change tomorrow, or that I had the power to change things about myself that I did not like given enough time.  It forced me to “get real”.

Coming face to face with our mortality nudges us toward acceptance at a far more rapid pace. When we come to understand how well our body has served us in spite of how much we have  hated and abused it, we can move toward gratitude and respect and put down our armor. Acceptance is the first step in, what may be for some, the long journey of setting down this burden.

Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes in her audio book The Joyous Body: Myths and Stories of the Wise Woman Archetype (The Dangerous Old Woman) expresses so beautifully what I have come to believe to is the gift of our physical nature. She shares a viewpoint that I did not acquire from my family of origin or from our culture. I highly recommend it to anyone who is struggling with body image issues, regardless of age.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 8, 2015 9:32 am

    This got me thinking about how perceptions are build on the basis of appearances. What is should be accepted. 🙂

    • March 8, 2015 9:44 am

      For sure! Accepted by ourselves. That is all we have control over. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. March 4, 2016 6:01 pm

    I have always resented the assumption that I hate my body or that I am automatically seeking advice on how to change it. My stock response is “Thank you, I am not trying to loose weight, I like myself the way I am” It was easier to say this before menopause where my metabolism is slowing; I can say with confidence that I like the way I look through all the changes….

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