The Struggle with Physical Image

Body or Physical Image according to Wikipedia is a person’s “thoughts”, “feelings” and “perceptions" of the aesthetics of their own body. Struggle on the other hand means to labor in difficulty. A combination of both would give us something along the line of laboring difficultly with the feelings, perceptions, and thoughts we have about our body.

To start the conversation, all the words in quotation marks are a portrayal of things unreal. They are all things in our heads that have no real-life evidence—imaginary things we use to torment ourselves about our physical appearance when 1 Peter 3:3-4 urges us to attach more importance to the inward man.

Thoughts are powerful. Apostle Paul recognizes this in 2 Corinthian 10:5 where he admonishes us to cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. The knowledge of God regarding our bodies as contained in Psalms 45:11 TPT (God is ravished by your beauty), Genesis 1:26-27 (You are made in the image of God), Psalm 82:6 (ye are god's) 1 Corinthians 3:16 (you are the temple of God) and other beautiful scriptures spread throughout the Bible, is the knowledge we must embrace over what our minds tell us about our wonderfully made bodies.

No one was created to fit into a specific type. There are height variations, size variations, different shapes of head, colors of eyes, arrangement of teeth, complexion, straightness of legs, length of hair, and everyone’s body build is just not the same. Despite these known unique traits, the world has pushed us into embracing its standards and we forget to embrace our uniqueness given by God. We tilt, configure, and work on our bodies to conform to present-day fashion or body image trends and seem betrayed by God when we do not fit into society’s body standards.

Here are a few reasons why a person might struggle with their body image:

- Low self-esteem: If your self-esteem is in shambles, your perception of your body is just another box to tick on the list of things tampering with your esteem.

- Listening to and accepting the comments or remarks made about your body: Mark 8:24 (TPT) captures a popular yet interesting story. A blind man just healed by Jesus was asked to describe what he saw. He saw people as trees. Now, if they told anyone who was casually passing by on that day that they looked like a tree, they’d probably cry their eyes out and feel sorry for themselves about how plain, ugly, shapeless, and everything they look. Unfortunately, that was the level of his sight until verse 25 when Jesus corrected his vision. This is exactly how funny we look swallowing other people’s opinions of our bodies hook, line, and sinker.

- Ignorance of how beautifully you were made by God.

- Fine-tuning yourself to ungodly body standards: South Korea has the highest rate of plastic surgery in the world. 1 in every 3 women has gone under the knife for something ranging from double-eyelid surgery to more intensive surgeries— the number is also quite high for men. We see these people and envy the shape of their faces, the flatness of their stomachs or pronouncement of abs, etc. Unknown to us that most of those standards are not real. Hence, we begin to struggle with our perception of our bodies based on unrealistic worldly standards.

What the struggle can do:

- It keeps you from being all that God has called you to be: A negative body image will not allow you to develop a good relationship with God, let alone become all the awesome things He has called you to be. You pray like a victim since you believe God should’ve made you better, you treat others badly believing that life gave them an unfair advantage, and you jeopardize genuine opportunities for your lifting by being so focused on how you see your body, rather than marketing the potentials God put inside of you.

- Locks you into a state of perpetual self-pity which is pathetic and rather unfortunate.

- It waters down your self-worth, self-esteem, and self-value: If your self-esteem was not already struggling, your struggle with your body image will drag it in the mud.

- The struggle with your body image affects your mindset, thereby limiting you from doing so many positive things. Imagine a guy constantly being told he is short, but he has the potential to be the best basketball player of all time; a sport we know is predominantly for tall people. Or look at Messi who nearly escaped dwarfism and is one of the best footballers in the world.

- It affects your relationship with God. Failure to see yourself how God sees you is a problem.

How to build a positive body image or break free from the struggle:

- From the word of God: God’s word has beautiful insight on who we are, whom we should accept ourselves as, and whom we should aspire to be. Search through his word and embrace scriptures that boost your thoughts about your body.

- Words of affirmation to remember who you are: By reciting affirmative words intentionally and believing them, you are set to break free from the struggle. I am Beautiful, I am made in the Image of God for exploits, I radiate glory, I become all that God has called me to be and etc.

- Block out the shaming voices: People will always have something to say. You are fat, thin, too tall, too short, dark, fair, you have brown eyes, short hair, all sorts of things. They notice when your body looks better with weight or height, describe the shape and size of your body parts, and expose you to the wrecking feeling of insecurity. Do not listen to them or patronize them. Block out those voices and focus on maintaining a healthy body image.

- Treat your body like a temple: Exercise it, bathe it, preserve it, dress it up and maintain it. To break free from the struggle, maintain your body in all the best ways that you can. It will not only leave you feeling satisfied but your confidence to carry on will be boosted greatly (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

- Desist from the unhealthy body standards of the world.

- Look at yourself how God sees you. Genesis 1:31a (KJV) “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good”.

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