Dear Therapist: The big question! What’s the line between caring about your appearance in a healthy way, versus having an unhealthy preoccupation with it? It seems normal to want to look good. Right? We are told to love ourselves after all!
Frame Therapist Allison Lieberman weighs in...
Great question! We are all preoccupied with our bodies and looks in one way or another. Mostly because social media and television focus so heavily on either body shaming or body acceptance. When we have a ton of exposure to appearance (whether positive or negative) talk, we will absolutely focus on it.
The line where it goes from health to unhealthy is really where you say “preoccupation”. How long is it taking you to get ready? How many times have you changed your outfit in a day because it didn’t look good? How much of your day is consumed with what you look like?
I would say if you are distracted and always late because you are embarrassed or thinking about how you look, you’ve crossed over to the unhealthy preoccupation. A great practice is to start changing the narrative. When you look in the mirror, what do you see that you like? Do you have any war wounds you are proud of? (stretch marks from pregnancy, that scar from saving your sibling from falling down the stairs, etc.) Learning to love the good, bad, and ugly about your body can be life changing!
About the Therapist: Allison Lieberman is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in postpartum anxiety. She is a mom of 2 and the host of The New Mama Mentor® Pod. Follow her for more content @rootedinharmonycounseling
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