Self Image


Self image is a roller coaster

I’m good, I’m bad

 Incomplete, or am I whole?

All of this nonsense can’t be true!

I have parts it seems

and they are not me

And the me that is me

defies definition

Ineffable I am

Just like the creator

Yet persist in my folly

To know what I am

Like a symphony orchestra

I make beautiful music

The sum so much better

Than the parts might suggest

Standing further back

The parts less defined now

The interaction is clearer

And magic is revealed

The coaster is optional

It’s terror a choice now

And when I am conscious

I exit the ride!


What do I see when I look at myself either in a mirror or from the vantage point of the observer in the corner of the room watching my life as if watching a movie? The truth is that I see lots of different things. And if I stopped at the seeing all would be well. There is no harm in seeing a thing no matter what it is. However, I do not stop there. I go on to judge what I see as good or bad. And therein lies the problem.

And as human beings we are wired to find the “bad,” or a better word would be dangerous things first. This is a survival instinct which once served us well and is part of the reason human beings still populate this planet. Once upon a time, seeing the dangerous things before they saw you meant you got to live another day. Today however the situation is not the same and our life and death situations are few and far between. Yet our focus on the negative possibly dangerous things persists and we look at those things as if life and death are in the balance.

So back to self image – what do I see? Again lots of things and I focus on the negative. One of my obvious negatives is that I am fat. I could pretty that up – in India I would be a hefty man – sounds better somehow. And the fact is I am fat. I have been for many years now. And I judge myself harshly in this regard. I know, there are many good reasons why I created this body. Actually it has served many wonderful purposes beyond the scope of this discussion and I still see mostly the negative. And because I have time on my hands since I am not in a life and death situation, I have time to add shame into the mix. “What’s wrong with me? How could I have done this to myself?” And then I go on to believe others must see me this way as well.

So my negative self image is alive and well. And it could lead me into all sorts of negative self behaviors if I let it. Could lead me to eat more and increase my weight. That sure would be helpful! Could cause me to give up! These types of thoughts are certainly the types of thoughts out of which a suicide could arise (and just for the record I am not suicidal today).

Thank God I have choices. My recent choice has been to just be with my pain (as discussed in my recent blog on Being) and not let it define me. I also choose not try to run from it. Then I choose to know the beauty of my being on all levels without allowing the minor imperfections to draw my focus. I know this (whatever “this” is on a given day) is my current situation and I choose, “Where do I go from here?” Around my weight, my recent choice has been to drop some off and use my dislike of my fatness to fuel that process. And I sit here writing this morning after my one mile walk which is my sixth such walk in the last seven days. YAY ME!

When it comes to self image then, the process is clear to me. Whatever part of me I might focus on in any given moment, I need to remember that it is a small part of me and not the whole. I then can choose to step back and see the beauty of my whole being and rejoice in that rather than letting some small flaw define me. From that place, a full range of possibilities are open to me and I can choose to be the best me I can be in that moment and move forward into another beautiful day! I no longer have to let the lows take me too low or the highs take me too high (I have talked here about deflation that can occur from self image – inflation can be just as problematic). I, at last, can get off of the self image roller coaster! Man I am tired of that ride!

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