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Keeping A Sense Of Your Whole Self


Having a negative body image is more than just an idea – it is a view of the self that is permeated with painful or uncomfortable emotion.

These emotions can be overwhelming, drowning out other aspects of life and giving us a distorted view of ourselves. It is important to routinely separate fact from feeling and to look at the self as a whole.

Your 'Whole Self' Chart

An easy way of putting life into perspective is to – either mentally, on paper or on a computer – draw a large circle and divide it into six equal pieces. This pie chart represents your whole self.

  1. Let one slice represent your current view of your body. Write down at least two or three words that you typically use to describe your looks. Also write down three or more of what you consider to be your weaknesses, such as "procrastinator" or "impatient." If you have an eating disorder, jot it down here.
  2. In another slice, write down the many amazing things your body does for you, or allows you to do, such as dancing, breathing, daydreaming, walking, swimming, laughing, hang-gliding and so on.
  3. In a different slice, write a minimum of seven strengths or things you like about yourself – things not related to food, looks or weight. For instance, you may like that you are kind, clever, can carry a tune, are a good friend, read books, are organized, or whatever else describes you.
  4. Choose another slice and write down at least five things you have done in your life that you are proud of. This could be treating people with respect, learning to play the piano, reading Don Quixote, organizing a friend’s birthday party, getting an A in Spanish, or forgiving someone that has hurt you.
  5. There are two empty slices left. In one of them, write down at least seven things that you are grateful for.
  6. In the last empty slice, write down the names of people who support or inspire you. You do not have to personally know those who inspire you. If you have any goals, jot them down as well.

The point of completing a chart like this one is to remind yourself that no matter how immense and overwhelming your feelings and emotions may be concerning your body image or eating disorder, those feelings are not the big picture. Never lose sight of the whole person you are.