One way to begin considering any problem — including problems interacting with your body — is to name it, to come up with some word, or set of words, or a phrase, that captures exactly how you think about this problem Take a moment, close your eyes, and dig down in your mind deeply, to the center of the problem. What is at the core? What do you call it? How do you name this problem? Write it down.
Now that this problem has a name, take a moment and consider all the ways this problem has cost you. How has it hurt you? What opportunities has it taken from your life? Has it cost you money? Relationships? Work? A positive self-image? Other good things in your life? List all the costs – everything it has taken from you. Don’t leave anything out.
You may notice tears, or rage, or anxiety emerging as you make your list. If that happens, welcome those feelings in. This problem may have cost you a lot. This is a place to mourn those losses in your life. Write everything down.
What was it like to make your list? Was it easy? Difficult? Was the problem more costly than you had imagined? Did you feel any emotions as you made your list? Notice those emotions. They’re there for a reason: In a culture that prizes physical appearance, if your body has ever been in any way less than “perfect” in your own eyes, the eyes of people you care about, or even compared to people you see in the media, you may have paid a price. Perhaps even a very costly, painful price.
How expensive has this problem been for you?