Lately I’ve been looking at my body a lot in fear of gaining weight. As I get older and notice the signs of aging, I become more fearful and obsessive about my body and how I look. If looks had no value in our society, then it is really unlikely that I would be so obsessed with the way I look, because the only reason I am obsessing is that I fear losing my ‘good looks’ because I believe that good looks will get me what I want – sex, status, and ultimately money.
It all falls within the accepted design of what is a ‘successful male’ in our world. He is good looking, because good looks are supposed to somehow imply good qualities/attributes to a person, like for instance being smart – which is no wonder why we actually use the word ‘smart’ to say someone looks attractive. The ‘successful male’ also has a girlfriend or wife who is beautiful, and by virtue of her also being beautiful – female beauty being extensively valued in this world – the successful male will feel great and special if he has a beautiful female to have sex with, and even possibly have children with.
It has all been for these reasons that I have always been obsessed with the way I look and maintaining this look – so that people will ‘love and admire me’ and I can be successful and basically, survive.
This however has been extremely limiting, because this is not necessary to survive in fact – it is something that in my fear, I noticed was able to be utilized for my survival, and over time I came to believe that I need this and became dependent on this to survive – and rather than expanding myself as a being, I clung to this character of a ‘good looking person’, trapped in the obsession of being and maintaining this character from which I could not really grow or expand myself. I mean it is like, ‘well I have what I need to survive, I’ll just stick to this, this is all I need’. Because of this, I have lived a life of dissatisfaction with myself because I allowed myself to be trapped within a character, only concerned with pursuit and maintaining the projection of this character.
I say ‘pursuing’ because I will then want to fulfill this character to the greatest extent possible, and as I began to discuss above, this character is part of a greater life design of a character, who has the perfect wife, job, home etc. Within this realm of fearing for my survival and only seeking to attain that which I fearfully believe will keep me alive, I have become consumed by this fear and pursuit of apparent happiness – even though it has made me miserable.
Now I’m beginning to see there are other ways to survive – but more importantly, that the fear of survival is no way to live at all, it is not a starting point from which I can truly exist and express myself. It is absolute stupidity as I am attempting to escape the inescapable, just as everyone seems to be doing this, to the extent where it is like a huge competition to beat and cheat death – but who are we kidding when this is a game that everybody LOSES – and in this game we lose ourselves on our way to the inevitable end of time. How can a REAL life be based on the fear of DEATH? It is from the fear of death that all characters are made.
I have seen that being given value for looks or giving others value based on looks, will inevitably lead to abuse because what is being valued is not the real person – but a societal construct which myself or others believe they will also benefit from by recognizing or utilizing this value.
By limiting myself and others to these characters, I have limited my self-expression, the self expression of others and even the interaction I have with others as who I do or do not interact with is based on these values – that is very limiting and creates a very ‘small world’ where so much is left undiscovered and misunderstood, just because of a value judgment placed on a picture – I have missed the depth and humanity of so many around me.
So, every time I become concerned with my body image, I must stop and realize – this is fear, fear of death. I and many around me have used other excuses, like healthcare for instance, or there has also been the more apparent reason that it is because I am looking for sex or a partner, but at the bottom of all of these reasons is one simple point – fear of death. It can be justified in all kinds of ways – but the simple question remains – how can a life that is only based in fear of death be a life worth living?
In part 2 of this blog I will continue with self forgiveness statements and self commitment statements on body image and fear of death.