Body image distortion
Body image is determined by four different factors. How one believes they look, how others believe they look, a perception of the perfect body, and how one actually looks, are all lenses through which people view their bodies. Body image is directly related to one’s self-perceptions, and consequently one’s self-esteem. As such, and unfortunately, many people allow how they view their bodies to dictate their future happiness and success. The following is an excerpt of a story from AdvanceWeb.com about Sarah, age 55, who is grappling with her body image:
Sarah, 55, is launching a plan for the second half of her life. Divorced for 1 year, a mother of two grown children and grandmother of five, she says she’s determined to embrace the mantra “60 is the new 40” that baby boomers coined when the first wave of this trendsetting group turned 60 last year.
Even though Sarah is financially secure, she decides to work outside her home. Before she married and started her family, Sarah was a full-time accountant. For the past 15 years, she worked at home. Recently, she told her family she believes working in an office would meet her professional needs and serve as a social outlet for her.
Concerns About Body Image
Sarah knows she’ll be a viable candidate for an accounting position after completing a few refresher courses. However, as confident as she is about her career skills, this middle-aged woman recently confessed to a friend that she fears employers will evaluate her based on her looks-instead of her skills.
Action Point: With increasing pressure from images in media to have the perfect body, it is important for Pastors and others in the helping professions to be aware of the struggles that both men and women go through to “measure up.” One of the key elements in helping people to disclose about their struggle is to be accepting of the person and to express how common body-image distortion is. Disclosure could be the first step an individual takes towards obtaining professional help.