Eating Disorder Therapy

Body Image & Mirrors – Building Self Confidence Every Day

I had no idea I was out of bed, I didn’t hear the alarm clock.

Transfixed, I was pinching and pulling at my body, judging what I saw.

Suddenly, I was jostled, my body shuttered and I woke up, staring in the mirror.

…”How did I get here?”

I hate waking up like this.

This is me. This is our family members. Who likes doing this? Yet, we do it. Staring, judging, questioning, and creating a dialogue with ourselves.

“What’s wrong with me?”Distorted Body Image Mirrors that create dysmorphia and eating disorder problems for men, women, and adolescents.

I don’t want to wake up like this anymore.

At that moment, I realized this was something that I never learned to do. Or maybe I forgot? I am so mean to myself. It feels like all the time and all I think about is my body, food, and wanting it all to go away.

This inner critic just takes control. Why would anyone deserve to be bullied before they even have breakfast? I always had reasons and they ruined my relationship with everything around me.

Is there even an answer to all of this? Everyone keeps telling me that I have to find a way to embody kindness.

“What the hell does that even mean?”

Looking into the mirror again, a shutter comes across the moment. This time it feels haunted. Ugh, is the mirror right?

It’s time to figure this out, it will only get worse if I ignore it.

Is it as easy as 1,2,3?

“Sure…”

seconds later…

“This is too hard.”

STOP. RIGHT. THERE.

If I could take a picture in this exact moment there would be sparks of change flying in the air, waiting for me to just stay put and not move a muscle. Fighting for a sense of self-worth, for the first time, I find myself doing just this.

Frozen, staring at myself in the mirror, my reflection stares back with piercing eyes.

I am scared out of my mind. My heart beats, I can’t get a deep breath. My thoughts eerily quiet as though my low self-esteem is just waiting. Body language matched at the helm like two western cowboys about to draw the first blow. I am stuck. I don’t want either side to hurt one other.

Watching myself watching me, in some sort of power pose eye contact does not waver.

A final shutter consumes the moment.

“I can’t do this.”

For a lot of people, this is the moment change begins. Yet, we back away. We need something to grab on too, what do you do when you can’t grab on to your thoughts?

First thing I think is if I stay right here, right now, I need something… new ideas, new things, new self esteem. Standing in the mirror, all I want to do is create more negative self-talk. There has to be a better way.

Do confident people have this problem?

It’s too much.

It all seems too intense and my comfort zone takes over.

“Maybe next time.”

What if this was actually easier to figure out and challenging our own thoughts isn’t impossible? What if a conscious effort is all you need? Do you have a fear of failure? Do you give up or do you continue to try and figure it out?

What if you can stop self-scrutiny?

Below are small goals to create a sense of independence in your own skin. Good qualities are possible to discover and all that negativity can find its way to the door. Building confidence isn’t about being a role model,……… a great way to stop self-deprecation, self-objectification and low self-confidence and allow you to build positive self-talk in any area of your life?

Strength. Empowerment. Embodiment

Here’s the deal, confidence-building doesn’t have to be weird. It’s not just about changing our thoughts and using a new language to convince yourself something you don’t feel in the moment. It’s figuring out what support is and working through a process of self-rediscovery in new ways with less time thank you may even realize. Identifying the little things, believing in the possibility of a positive attitude, learning communication skills and figuring out what everyday life means to you, not anyone else.

Here are five ways to stop self-scrutiny:

1. Awareness of Perspective: The hardest trick in the book; becoming aware of our perspective. It’s so easy to get trapped in the ruminating negativity that creates our own perspective. If you can put this constant experience into good use, by taking a moment to say, “I am having the belief that I [insert experience here],” you will begin to cultivate an awareness that your own life has it’s own narrative. What are the different ways this narrative informs your experience on a daily basis? If you are finding that the experiences and are repetitive, the good news is you now have a clue to understanding how our very own perspective can shape our moment to moment experience.

2. Identify Your Needs: Perspective is great and all, but nothing works without learning your own needs. The trick is to focus away from negativity in the present as our past experience informs each moment. When we can recognize how this happens and believe they don’t have to mold every moment going forward. This allows us to make decisions from a place of clarity; understanding what is important for our mental health and solidifying recovery. When it comes down to the hard decision-making, it’s hard to trust ourselves. Positive thinking feels miles away. How can we validate ourself when we struggle in the moment? Do we actually have to be positive or can we find a way to bring on new challenges of present moment awareness as discussed above?

You can regain self-trust

3. Validate the moment: THE hardest moment to capture. It comes in so many ways: emotions, stillness, and noise. Almost as though you have to lasso different moments, bring them close, and somehow start to believe that you’ll be okay. It’s okay to be negative, sometimes. Is there a way to build empathy toward the negativity?

We have to keep getting through what feels like ‘the next worse part’ because there may not be a golden key or a validating force to stand behind every move. Yet, this is the perfectly imperfect time to somehow shift attention away from whatever is creating negative thoughts and get real with what you got! Quietly, in the face of such worry and anxiety, there are hints along the way aligning somehow to help you eventually recognize that you are on the right path. Hints often lie alongside brief moments of believing in your strengths, recognizing skills, and owning your accomplishments no matter the intensity.

Don’t know what to do with this? When you are feeling particularly down, I dare you to try any of the following.

1) Write a list of at least 10 things you like about yourself or you feel proud of

2) Are you a corporate employee and smart goals work for you?

3) What confidence building activities are possible?

4) Is physical exercise too much? can you reduce it?

5) Can opening up to a good friend on a regular basis work?

6) Positive affirmations and mantra help many who like yoga and more eastern thinking.

7) Would a gratitude journal help build recall in moments where we feel alone.

8) Can you believe for 1 second you a good person? Build each moment as a scaffold to make the next challenge believing you are a good person for 2 seconds… then 3, etc.

9) Is cognitive behavioral therapy something that can truly help?

10) Recognize high school is a crazy time and no one knows whats going on around them!?

Yes, these actually work although you have to want it. You don’t have to be obsessive, think of it as a new hobby. Don’t expect it to take 5 minutes to complete and you are always learning.

Stopping the domino effect of negative self talk, poor confidence and body image dysmoprhia

When it’s too difficult to believe

3. Seek Support: If you ever thought about trying any of these, you probably also have a subconscious impulse to figure it all out on your own. Why don’t we consider asking for support? We don’t want to take the risk of being hurt or misunderstood. We don’t want to feel alone all over again and let’s be honest, the initial moment of realizing this is t.o.u.g.h. However, take a chance to reach out. Seek support from a mental health professional or someone within your circle of trust – someone who will be there for you unconditionally. This is a part of developing a strong sense of self-awareness, self-appreciation, and confidence.

4. Values… Huh?!?: Another option in all of this is to just take one big old step back. This stuff is intense and we often have to learn that doing everything all at once is impossible. Take some time.. take how ever much time as it possibly takes to believe you have values. This stuff doesn’t come easy.

Let’s face it, you deserve to have values and when you are working to discover a sense of recovery from something difficult, we have to take a moment and possibly just give the awareness space.. let it breathe.

There is a small opportunity for that particular moment to build.

5. Boundaries: Set boundaries the best your can without isolating yourself. For some, this could be the most difficult step, possibly the hardest, yet the most important part of detaching from judging yourself. Self-preservation is key and to do that, setting boundaries is essential.

According to the developmental theory of embodiment, “boundaries foster safety and connection because we can protect our personal space while simultaneously connecting with others.”

Set boundaries that work best for you, even if it means saying no when you want to say yes or asking for help when you need it. When it’s time to take a break from what triggers negative thoughts/behaviors there is a way to make it all work out.

How? That’s the journey. That’s Therapy.

Contact us to stop the cycle.