Feeling Squeem(ish?)

Tiffany Brown Body Image

 

whitecorsetThere has been a lot of recent discussion about waist-cinchers  & other similar products. Many of the discussions have reflected resistance to:

the idea that there is one desirable body shape for women

and

the product’s actual value in supporting people with achieving health, body satisfaction, fitness and athletic goals.

 

 

In a culture where body dissatisfaction has become common enough to be sometimes referred to as “normative discontent”,  resistance to unhelpful messages about weight, shape, and appearance can be an inspiring and powerful resource for supporting our own resistance and resilience. Living in a context where we often receive messages that promote body dissatisfaction, it can sometimes be challenging to stand up to product promises to change our appearance and influence what’s important to us. During these times we can  reconnect with our own inner wisdom to help us stand up to unhelpful messages and make informed decisions that reflect our values and help us nourish our well-being.

Self-Awareness & Inner Wisdom

When you hear or see an unhelpful message that appeals to you, take a moment to tune into your internal experiences. By tuning into our own experiences we can identify and move towards taking care of our needs.

Some experiences you might pay attention to include:

  • What are you experiencing in this moment? Where are you experiencing this in your body?
  • What was your body’s reaction or “gut reaction” to this message? What might it signify?
  • Do you notice any resistance come up for you? This could be thoughts, feelings, sensations and/or actions.
  • What are the benefits or values connected to this message that might be appealing to you?
  • Does the message that you need to purchase or obtain this product fit with your knowledge about health and well-being?
  • Do you think people have achieved their health, wellness, fitness, or sport-related goals without using this product?
  • If you’re an athlete, does it fit with your knowledge about a healthy approach to competition?
  • Does this product focus on altering your appearance to move towards what you value? How does that sit with you? Is it consistent with your experiences?
  • Does this message value one type of appearance over others? Do you agree with this?
  • What makes sense/doesn’t make sense to you based on your experiences?

 

Questioning Product Promises To Help Achieve Valued Living/Action

While our looks play a role in our lives,  appearance itself is limited in helping us to move towards living that reflects our values. When you hear or see a message that over-emphasizes the importance of appearance, you can reconnect with your inner voice to stand up to & resist the unhelpful message.

Your inner voice can help you to reflect on whether product promises make sense or how they sit with you:

  • Does this product focus on altering my appearance to achieve my values? Does this fit with my values for long-term health and well-being?
  • How might companies benefit from the idea that people need to focus specifically on their appearance to achieve health, wellness, athleticism, or certain level of fitness?
  • Do you agree with the idea that people need to alter their bodies with products to attain a narrow, limited body shape or size to achieve their values? Do you agree with this? How does it sit with you?
  • Is it possible that people have tried this product and not found it helpful in the long-term? (tap into your wisdom & experience about other products, diets that promise “quick effective” weight-loss or shape change).
  • What are some of the limitations and critiques that have been identified by others? How does this sit with your own inner voice & experiences?

As you connect with your inner voice to tap into your own resistance to unhelpful ideas, you can also begin to explore possibilities & actions that you feel reflect your values.

  • Moving away from focusing on using a product to alter appearance, what actions would help you to feel more comfortable in your body?
  • What actions do you think might support you with moving towards goals that reflect your values?
  • Do you think people need to use this product to move towards their goals?
  • If engaged in athletic competition, is it possible for people to get ready to compete without this product?
  • If you’re an athlete, what actions might you engage in  to help prepare for competing in your sport?
  • When you look back on this time in your life what actions will you have engaged in that will help you to feel good about the choices you made?
  • What choices can you make today that will support moving towards your values and related goals?
  • What choices are you making that support your health and well-being?

There may be times when you find it more challenging to resist unhelpful messages about appearance. During those times, you can ground yourself in your inner wisdom & reflect on your values to tap into your resistance and nurture your well-being.