A Woman’s Life Journey of Body Acceptance
Part 2 of 3: Teen Women Body Blues
The teen years present a mix of fears related to body image for girls. This is magnified with normal insecurities regarding self-acceptance. Mixed messages are present from society’s view of what is beauty. Girls are transforming into women as their bodies develop at different paces, sizes and shapes.
One memory that stands out to me in my body image journey as a teen was the way I felt around my petite friends. One friend was small and cute, a cheerleader, and did not seem to have any fears at all around guys. I “felt” the exact opposite from her….big, clumsy (I was NOT a cheerleader) and was insecure around guys. I equated all of this to not being beautiful as a woman. The main focus I remember was the thought that I was not good enough because I was too big, clumsy and fat. My body image dominated my thoughts, blanketing my insecurities about inner self-image. I was not accepting of myself, much less my body.
Messages about our bodies come from many sources and can be mean, and hurtful, staying with a woman into their journey of life. We begin to think abstractly around fifteen. We begin to have the capacity to understand our body image in it’s uniqueness at this critical time if we are educated with correct information to help us be more compassionate to ourselves and our bodies. We have the opportunity to make a positive difference in young women’s body acceptance and self-image.
Strategy: Continue a Life Map for the Teen years. If you are a mother of a teen girl, spend time looking at fashion magazines together and noticing what you and your daughter feel and think about the pictures of the women modeling. Talk together about your reactions and talk about healthy ways to look at body image.
A couple of books that promote positive body image are:
Health At Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon (May 4, 2010).
~ Author: Susan Miller, PhD, LPCS, NCC, BCPCC