My friend is struggling with body image issues, what can I say to help them?

It's shifting your ideas and belief that your body looks good... to believing and knowing that your body is good, regardless of how it looks.

iuri melo
iuri melo

My incredible friend, I'm so grateful that you're here.  Your willingness to be a positive force in this world; to raise the tide around you, just inspires me.  I love that you see others, that you are aware of them, and that you are willing to be a source of inspiration and compassion.

My friend, you make this world a better place to be.  If you or your friends are having body image issues, please take a minute to share this podcast with them, or take a few minutes to read or listen to this short podcast yourself, I promise you will not be disappointed.  I've given this episode a lot of thought and research, and I believe what I have to share with you here today, can free you... liberate you from a painful trap that, honestly, much of the world has fallen into.

Here's the trap:  the trap is that many have come to believe that your happiness, confidence, self-worth, success, power, relationships, and health are based upon how good you look, and how irresistible you are to others.

The problem with this trap, is that it doesn't matter the kind of person you are, or are attempting to be, your goals, objectives, life experience, your effort, your passion,your dreams, fun, adventure, friendships... The only thing that matters, is how your body looks, and how the world sees and evaluates your body.  Brothers and sisters, man alive, that is the definition of a mental trap that will create a lifetime of insecurity, disappointment, suffering, shame, and problems for you.  But you know what, that changes here today... My goal with you right now, not tomorrow, is to change that perspective, that mental paradigm.

My goal is to change your relationship to your body... today, and as a result to free you from this trap, and instead of this body obsession... this body hyper awareness, and constant judgment, evaluation, comparison, and body shame, I want you to see your body not as an ornament, but as a tool, as a vehicle, and as an instrument that is incredibly valuable to you, and valuable to the world around you.  

That changes today... it changes right now.  It's shifting your ideas and belief that your body looks good... to believing and knowing that your body is good, regardless of how it looks.

The problem of course, is that a lot of our culture today is body obsessed.  Not only are we constantly measuring, evaluating, comparing, weighing, ‘liking or disliking', approving or disapproving of our own body, but we are constantly doing this to others.

In other words, we are more focused on how we or others look, instead of focusing on how valuable we are, and on how we can bring that value to the world.  It's almost like we want the appearance of looking fit... which is our focus on being that ornament, or being an image... instead of actually being fit, able, capable, and enjoying the richness that our bodies can provide, the hobbies, the talents, the amazing things that our bodies can provide for us.  This is the shift.

You giving up on the idea that your body is an ornament, a decoration, an object to be looked at and evaluated, a figurine, or some golden calf to be worshiped, and instead, recognizing that your body is a tool, an instrument, and a vehicle to help you lead a life full of fun, value, gratitude, and incredible friendships and relationships.

If you've fallen into the ‘body image' trap, and you find yourself being ‘body obsessed,' ‘body hyper-focused,' caught up in constant comparison, critiquing your body, feeling badlly about it, always looking for validation or approval from others about your own body, please consider what I've already shared, and what I'm about to share with you seriously, because this obsession can create a lot of insecurity, fear, and anxiety inside of you... and fear my friends... fear is a thief.

Fear is a robber.

It's like you not going to the lake or beach because you don't want to put on a swimsuit, because you're afraid of what others will think.  Or you don't want to ask that girl or boy because you don't think you look good enough.  It's you not going or doing something because your body, physique, or appearance just doesn't look good enough... can you see why fear is a thief?  Because it robs you from living your best life.

Do not let fear and insecurity run your life, and make your decision for you.  You have to make your own decisions.

The very best part of you has to make the decisions.  The part of you that is intelligent, wise, courageous, adventurous, willing to take a risk, willing to succeed, and willing to fail... that is the part that we have to go into life with.

Look, your brain and body are the most sophisticated piece of hardware in the universe.  Our bodies are capable of running 100 mile races.  Of creating rockets that take us to the moon.  Of building the most incredible structures.

The body is capable of healing itself.

It grows, expands, dreams, invents, solves, and can create music, paintings, sculptures... really just about anything you can imagine.  It can climb Mt Everest!  Our body is simply miraculous and the most astonishing technology.  I'm in awe of it.  Your body is good.  It is remarkable.  It is extraordinary, regardless of how it looks.

So let's talk about your body, and what your responsibility to your body is.  I've shared with you that from this day forward, you will begin to see your body as an instrument, as a tool, and as a vehicle.

The purpose of your body is two-fold:

  1. It is to experience life in all of its forms.  From laughter, to joy, to awe, surprise, fun, excitement, hype, and enthusiasm... all the way to pain, sadness, nervousness, disappointment, grief, suffering, despair, anger, etc.  Most of your learning in this life will come through your experiences, good or bad, and if you are armed with the correct psychology, that learning will lead you to be wiser, more understanding, compassionate, intelligent, and successful.  In other words, your body is made to experience the beauty and richness of life, and to grow.
  2. The other objective is for your body to contribute to the richness and beauty of this life.  We must be valuable in this life.  We must create.  We must contribute.  We must invent.  We must venture out and stay curious, playful, and creative.   This is why you must shift your focus from being valued, admired, liked, approved of, irresistible to others, and instead find a way to be valuable to your mind, body, and others.

So, If your body is a tool, an instrument, and a vehicle, what do we do now?  What is your responsibility to your body?  I thought you would never ask:

  1. To care for it!  Look, we have to be real correct?  Any tool, instrument, and vehicle requires care.  They require attention.  Instruments have to be tuned.  Tools have to be sharpened and utilized. Vehicles have to be maintained.  This is what you need to do with your body.  I'm not talking about obsessing about everything you do, or everything that you put in your mouth, but you also have to be real, and know that if you feed your body a steady diet of crap and inactivity, that your brain and body are going to pay the price.  So yes, love your brain and body enough to care for them.  I'm less interested in saying "I love my body," and more interested in showing that "I love my body by caring for it."
  2. To use it!  Remember what I said about your body, and how it is made to experience life, and also how it is a tool, instrument and vehicle?  Well, we have to use it to do exactly that.  Your body and mind are made to grow, expand, learn, master, and to contribute to life and others in a valuable way.  We are not meant to be stale pools of water, we are made to run like a river.  We have to use this magnificent engine... we have to run it.  A good friend of mine that is a mechanic once told me, "the best thing you can do for an engine, is to run it."  Exercise it, run it, stretch it, climb with it, teach it new skills, hobbies, new patterns, new ideas... this is how your body becomes an awesome tool, this is how it becomes a magnificent instrument, this is how your body becomes a vehicle of opportunity and fulfillment for your life.  There is no other way.  Remember that in most cases, your body will become a physical manifestation of your choices, so choose adventure, choose fun, choose learning, choose kindness with others, choose the kinds of behavior that will keep your body ready and capable of doing whatever it is that you would like to do.  I've got 5 kids that are pretty active.  They want to climb, play soccer, snowboard, ski, run, exercise, hike, camp, surf, walk, etc... one of my personal goals is to ensure that my body is healthy enough to keep up with those crazies.  Make the kinds of choices that give you more freedom and that enhance your ability to do anything, instead of making the kinds of choices that diminish your freedom... know what I'm sayin?
  3. If you feel that your brain is a bit ‘stuck' and you're having troubles obsessing about your body image, or comparing, or feeling constantly insecure about your body, be patient and gentle for heaven's sake, but begin the process of shifting your brain away from statements like "I'm not tall enough, or skinny enough, or short enough, or buff enough, or whatever enough..." and instead of tug-of-warring with yourself, do something physical to care for your body or mind, and then use that body to build your intelligence, your hobbies, your interests, and find a way to sharpen that tool, to tune that instrument, and to use that body as a vehicle toward some awesome experiences and relationships.  

Well my friend, I hope these ideas have given you something to think about, and also as a way to get out of the insecurity, comparison, and obsessive pursuit to look good.  Shift your focus to being valuable, instead of constantly seeking the approval and value from others.  What do you think?  Let me know if this was helpful to you.