Changed Directions

I was worked with a client who had a lot of complaints about her weight. When she found pictures of herself, she would say things like, "Oh, I used to be so heavy", or "I don't know how I got to be so big!", "Oh, God, I hate these pictures of myself, I'm so fat". She talked about needing to lose weight. There was a disappointment with herself. The tone of her voice was that she should have been doing better. It made her dejected and hopeless.

She told me that she didn't fit into a lot of her clothes. She had to buy new clothes so she would have something to wear. She lamented about how nice the old clothes that were too small for her looked, and how plain and unappealing the new stuff was. Her eyes were glazzy and her voice was quiet and sorrowful. She began to worry out loud about how she appeared to her friends and family.

I said, "It's not a problem. No one notices. We think people notice the things that we think are wrong with our lives. But they don't. Chances are they are busy worrying about how others think of them. The only one who is seeing this as a problem is you. You have a very strong critical eye that relentlessly sees faults. And it does nothing to help you. It kicks your ass and leaves you weak and unable to take good care of yourself...I think it would be more useful working as a parts inspector on a car assembly line. Then it can find faults all day long and get paid for it."

She laughed. She stopped talking about her weight. She automatically started to be more positive. She said, "You know, I think mostly I want to feel more healthy. That would make me happy."