This post isn’t going to be very exciting; I’m just writing down what’s in my body image workbook because I think typing is so much more fun and much easier than writing with pen and paper.
When I assume that “by managing my physical appearance, I can control my social and emotional life,”
Then I focus on: making sure that I always look my best so that I make the best impression on the people that I come in contact with so that they don’t think that I am lazy by going out of the house looking less than perfect. Because of this, I spend a lot more time than I should into making sure that my makeup is flawless and that I am not repeating an outfit around people who have seen me wear it before.
And I think: that unless I look flawless and my absolute best, people will not find a reason to notice me, that I will just blend in with the crowd and be unappreciated.
And I feel: that unless I look my best, I look absolutely disgusting and extremely unattractive; that if I notice anyone looking at me that they are noticing only my flaws and not the aspects of my appearance that make me attractive (which I cannot see; most of the time I feel very ugly)
My new inner voice argues with this appearance assumption: by saying that if I was ugly I would not get compliments on how pretty my eyes are, or how pretty I look in my pictures online. Also, if I was so boring that no one would notice me unless I was my absolute best, I would not have gotten voted best dressed in high school. If I was a nasty, mean-spirited person with terrible personality traits, people would not vote me for a superlative regardless of how fashionable and stylish I am.
When I assume that “if I could look as I wish, my life would be much happier,”
Then I focus on: striving for perfection at everything I do and always making sure that my outward appearance is at its best.
And I think: that only good things come to those who are utterly gorgeous and any attempt I make at achieving something will be useless as long as I am ugly and unattractive.
And I feel: that my efforts are futile and that I should not try so hard to be perfect at everything because as long as I’m unattractive, I will make no achievements in my life.
My new inner voice argues with this appearance assumption: by telling me about all the achievements I have made in my life. I have gotten strait a’s in high school, graduated with highest honors, passed all my AP tests, passed all my college classes so far, got into every college I applied to, have a small yet wonderful group of best friends that I know would do almost anything for me, have been so successful at recovery and able to recognize things that will get in the way of recovery and separating myself from those factors.
When I assume that “my culture’s messages make it impossible for me to be satisfied with my appearance,”
Then I focus on: how I believe everyone in the world thinks I should look and I spend too much time trying to conform to ideals set by other people and ignore how I believe that I should look.
And I think: that as long as I am living and the standards for beauty in America keep growing, I will never be able to achieve a beautiful appearance because I don’t have the same resources as everyone else to make myself beautiful
And I feel: that the way I am is never going to be good enough, but I still keep trying to conform to the standards and ideals of beauty that are set by a select group. Then I continue to feel defeated and disappointed in myself for not being able to achieve the standards of beauty that only a small group of people have been able to achieve.
My new inner voice argues with this appearance assumption: by making me take note of all the people who are not drop dead gorgeous, yet that have achieved so much in their lives and have a large group of people who look up to them. Also, I need to remind myself that what Hollywood and the media propose as being the standards of beauty are usually all computer-generated and photoshopped images, which shows that the standards that are being set are unachievable by any natural means.
Talking back to my beauty-or-beast distortions
A typically activating event or situation is: looking at my naked self in the mirror
My distorted private body talk often says: I’m so ugly because I have no curves and no semblance of a woman’s body. I look like a pre-pubescent child. My legs are too skinny and bony. My thighs are dangerously close to touching; they are so ugly. I hate that I can see my ribs sticking out. If I can’t see my ribs sticking out, I must be too fat. My breasts are non-existant and therefore no one will ever be attracted to me. I hate the scar on my face, everyone will notice it first and foremost and find me unattractive. I hate the birth mark on my inner thigh, everyone will see it and think I am ugly and unattractive.
To correct my distorted thinking, my new inner voice talks back and says: I have beautiful blue eyes that I have been complimented on my entire life. I am getting my curves back as I gain more weight and replenish my body; before my eating disorder I had a nice hourglass figure and there’s no reason why I won’t again when I am at a more ideal body weight. The only reason why I look much younger than I am is because I have not been getting my period; when that happens, I will have a more womanly figure. I have nice dark hair that makes my eyes really stand out. I have a nice complexion that gets a gorgeous shade of tan when I lay out in the sun. I don’t have to be the skinniest person in the room in order to stand out, there are features about me that are attractive regardless of my weight.
Talking back to my unfair-to-compare distortions
A typical activating event or situation is: reading fashion magazines or watching movies
My distorted private body talk often says: there’s no way that I will ever be half as attractive as the celebrities and models that I see in movies or in magazines. No one will find me attractive as long as there are more beautiful people for them to pursue.
To correct my distorted thinking, my new inner voice talks back and says: people would not tell me that I am pretty unless they really meant it. There are always going to be people who are better looking than me and there are always going to be people who I am better looking than. I shouldn’t let myself feel down or unimportant and unattractive whenever I open up a magazine or watch a movie; I should use these opportunities to get suggestions for how I could improve my appearance in different ways, like doing my hair or makeup like a model that I see in a magazine. I also need to remember that the people who I see in magazines and movies have spent hours under the work of a professional and then even more time in photoshop to make their appearance look flawless.
Talking back to my magnifying glass distortions
A typical activating event or situation is: looking at my reflection in the mirror when I wake up in the morning
My distorted private body talk often says: god, you are so ugly, you can never let anyone see how terrible and unkempt you look right now or they will not want to talk to you again. Look at how many pimples you have, there’s no way anyone could thing that you are attractive. You better find a way to wake up looking better because when you get married, the way you look when you wake up will make your husband never want to sleep in the same bed as you.
To correct my distorted thinking, my new inner voice talks back and says: your parents see you almost every morning when you wake up and you don’t revolt them and make them want to shun you just because you don’t have any makeup on and your hair’s messy. I’ve had countless sleepovers before and no one has mentioned that I don’t look pretty first thing in the morning. Every time I’ve had a sleepover, I couldn’t care less about how my friends look in the morning, so why should it matter what I look like in the morning?
Talking back to my blame game distortions
A typically activating event or situation is: thinking about my relationships with people
My distorted private body talk often says: the only reason people are friends with me is because I am uglier than they are which makes them look more attractive. People only talk to me because they feel bad for me because I am so ugly. It doesn’t matter how nice I am, I will never have a boyfriend because I am so ugly. The reason that people won’t be friends with me is because I am so ugly and skeletal that they don’t give me a chance to show how nice I can be.
To correct my distorted thinking, my new inner voice talks back and says: maybe people don’t want to talk to me because they are just as self-consious about themselves as I am. People aren’t so shallow to completely write me off if they think I am not that attractive. Maybe the reason why I don’t have a boyfriend is because I have pretty high standards and I’m having a tough time finding someone who meets them all. People may be friends with me because they want to get tips on how to look like I do rather than so that I make them look better since I’m uglier than them.
Talking back to my mind misreading distortions
A typically activating event or situation is: being at a party or in a room with a new, unfamiliar group of people.
My distorted private body talk often says: People don’t want to talk to me because I am so ugly. Everyone who looks at me is noticing my imperfect complexion, my messy hair, how short I am, how my outfit isn’t perfect, ect.
To correct my distorted thinking, my new inner voice talks back and says: people may not want to talk to me because my body language (crossed arms, arms on my hips, looking at my phone) tells people that I don’t really want to talk to anyone. People may be intimidated by me and feel unsure of what to talk about. People may not talk to me because they are just as concerned about how people are judging them as I am about myself
Talking back to my misfortune telling distorions
A typical activating event or situation is: thinking about my future career
My distorted private body talk often says: there’s no way that I will ever have a successful career in fashion unless I am sickly thin. I will never get married as long as I am ugly. I will never be successful in fashion unless I am living in new york.
To correct my distorted thinking, my new inner voice talks back and says: there are plenty of people working in the fashion industry who are not underweight- the only people who generally are are the models and there will always be people of all weights in any career field. There’s a person out there for everyone and I will find someone who loves me exactly the way I am eventually. There are people who have made successful careers for themselves in the fashion industry that do not live in New York, like April.
Talking back to my beauty bound distortions
A typical activating event or situation is: Going to a party or the gym
My distorted private body talk often says: I can’t go to a party because there will be unhealthy food there that I will feel too tempted to eat and I will not be able to stop eating once I start. I can’t go to a party because people will pressure me to eat the things I don’t want to eat and then will think I’m strange when I turn down their offers. I can’t go to the gym because people will see me on the machines and how skinny I am and know that I have a problem with overexercising.
To correct my distorted thinking, my new inner voice talks back and says: I can go to a party and not have to eat everything in sight; I have done it before and if I just distract myself and enjoy the people that I’m around I’ll be OK. I can go to the gym, I need to be able to exercise in a healthy way that doesn’t burn more calories than I consume in one day. As much as I think people are paying attention to me, they probably are more focused on whatever it is that they are doing at the moment.