Unlocking our obsession with body image

WIL Brisbane // February 2017 Event Blog

Picture this: a couple of two-year-old toddlers running around in nappies together. A pretty common sight in most family households at some stage, kids laughing and playing together. Neither child cares one iota what the other looks like, neither is paying attention to the shape of the other’s (nor their own) legs, tummy, skin or bottom, it simply doesn’t occur to either child to notice or care, let alone obsess over.

Yet chances are these children won’t always be this way, this carefree. So why not?

Why do we grow up to care so much about what shape we are, what we look like, if we measure up? How did we go from one beautiful way of being with ourselves to a very different way, a very controlling, critical, judging way of being? And the question I then have to ask myself is does it have to change? Is this just something to cope with, accept as part of becoming an adult because we are human?

This is why I just had to attend the Unlocking our Obsession with Body Image event last month (February 2017). It doesn’t make sense to me that we – men and women – invest copious amounts of energy, effort and money concerned (to put it mildly) on our external appearance that as children show us, was never in existence the day they were born.

I arrived at the workshop with a fledgling sense of why this is our reality, however I left with a far grander and comprehensive understanding, along with tools that I know will support me when I look in the mirror and don’t like my reflection.

Rebecca Asquith opened the presentation with what in the first ten minutes, felt like a bomb had been dropped. More a bomb of revelation rather than a bomb of gun powder, but you could sense that she had unleashed an understanding that would be very powerful, and this coming from a women who revealed she has spent a lifetime dissecting her own body parts.

Rebecca quickly explained that when we do this, you don’t or can’t see the whole of you, you segment yourself into the pieces that need fixing, zeroing in on any number of problems. I can see this then leads to forever trapping oneself in a merry go round of what amounts to body image issues. Every woman in the room was nodding.

Then came the bomb: we don’t have an issue with our body image, our issue is with what the body is reflecting about the relationship we have with our (inner) self.

Reacting to what we see in the mirror at the end of the day, making it about the fact we don’t think we measure up to the images and pictures we have of beauty, and living as if we are only three-dimensional – fingers, flesh and form, we will never get past the body image issue.