Great Health Guide


You decide, it’s your choice

- Dr Matthew Anderson

Many people might say that, ‘there is no such thing as an ugly body’, is an outrageous statement. It is provocativ­e and goes against the common position about beauty, but it is true. In fact, I will even say that you will not be able to see your own body accurately until you get this point. Here it is.

Given our society’s obsession with a certain kind of body, I realize this statement sounds outrageous, but it is true. Very few people ever actually see their real bodies. What they see is a comparison to their ideal image of a body. The comparison always ends in negative judgment and a kind of natural-beauty-blindness that prevents them from seeing what is right in front of their noses – the true beauty of their own special and unique body.

When you look at your body you usually have a mental body image with which you are comparing it. The mental body image is not real and never will be. It is a compilatio­n of images given to you by family and culture that almost never looks even vaguely like your own physical body.

Most of us do this comparison so quickly that we are unaware of the injustice we are doing to ourselves. We look at our hair, for instance and we immediatel­y conjure up a mental image of the ‘perfect’ hair, which, of course, we don’t have. Then we compare the long, straight, golden tresses of the ‘perfect’ hair to our own brown and curly locks. What happens? We lose in the comparison and we hate the hair we have. Tragically, we never take the time to see the actual hair that grows so faithfully on our heads and we see something that is not really there.

Think about it. Comparison kills experience. While you are comparing your body parts to other ‘perfect’ body parts, you are not seeing or experienci­ng the wonder and specialnes­s of the body you have.

What would happen if you let go of the comparison­s and just looked at your body for what it really is. What if you could see your body through the eyes of someone who loved your body? Imagine that for a moment. I don’t care how bad you think your body looks; try the experiment. What have you got to lose except a lot of body-hate?

When I was a teenager, I hated my hairy legs. I thought I was the hairiest White Anglo-Saxon Protestant in the entire county. I compared my body to the WASP standards, and I thought I was weird. My friends caught on to my adolescent bodyhate and of course nicknamed me ‘baby ape’. I was short and hairy, and they loved to taunt me with reference to both.

After years of wearing long pants and long sleeve shirts to hide my abominatio­n, I met a woman who loved my hairy chest. She taught me to ‘see’ my body through different eyes. I learned

There is no such thing as an ugly body.

to let go of the comparison to hairless males and experience the sexuality and virility that my hairy chest exudes. I beat the problem by stopping the comparison and beginning to allow myself to look for the positive aspects of the body that I had. Today I love this body that is mine. All of it. Especially the hairy parts. What a difference, what a relief.

Now the issue here is your body and what you think about it and how you see it. I am sure that there are some things about your body that you do not like. Some of you may even hate your bodies. It doesn’t matter. If you dislike your body or hate your body, you feel that way because you are comparing it to something that you don’t have. I suggest that you stop that comparison and try something new.

Your body is one of a kind. There is no other body like it on this planet. It is unique and special, and it is yours. I suggest that you look at your stomach and thighs and arms and neck and tell them that you are very sorry that you have judged them unfairly. Apologize for comparing them to bodies that do not actually exist. Ask their forgivenes­s for being a nasty and critical judge. Then try to see your body for the first time through the eyes of love.

Listen to me. You will never have the body that you fantasize about. You will always have some version of the body you have now. Better you should learn to love what you have than live in pain because you cannot love or accept the body that has brought you this far in life.

You decide. You can continue to compare your body to a ‘perfect’ image and suffer or you can begin to see the body you have as beautiful. The truth is, there is no such thing as an ugly body. The body you have has its own unique beauty. Learn to see and celebrate it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Dr Matthew Anderson has a Doctor of Ministry specialisi­ng in counsellin­g. He has extensive training and experience in Gestalt and Jungian Psychology and has helped many people successful­ly navigate relationsh­ip issues. Dr Anderson has a best-selling book, ‘The Resurrecti­on of Romance’ and he may be contacted via his website.

Your body is beautiful no matter what it looks like.

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