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Breasts, body parts and self image concerns

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

by Gary Craig

Hi Everyone,

Body parts, particularly women's breasts, often grab the self image spotlight. A common concern is the loss of breast size that often occurs with the loss of weight. It is often a Catch-22 issue where a lady's self image is in jeopardy no matter what she does.

So, what's a gal to do? If she keeps her weight she will feel good about her breasts but will feel inadequate about her weight. If she loses weight she will feel good about her slimmer body but will feel inadequate about her "sub-par breasts."

Does the size of one's breasts (or the "beauty" of any body part) really have that big an influence on one's self confidence? Or is it just the current focal point for broader self image issues? This message will explore those questions.

We will return to these issues in a moment but first, let's explore some pros, cons and pressures regarding those "body trophies" known as women's breasts. Think about it....

...They hold a prominent place in our economic system as they are used to sell everything from beer to magazines to automobiles....They have a unique power. With a well exposed cleavage, a woman can get a roomful of leers from men (and jeers from women). Further, if a woman wants to reduce an otherwise macho guy to a stuttering, slobbering fool she need only bare her breasts at an unexpected moment....They attract playful names like boobs, boobies, b'zooms, hooters, titties, noogins, knockers, Major Maracas, Big Mommas, meatlings and jugs (a thank you to my creative Stanford fraternity brothers for some of those names). By contrast, an elbow has but one name and no one cares about its size or other features....They are the objects of men's fantasies. I shamelessly confess that, as a hormone filled teenage jock, I would have given up baseball (my passion) in exchange for being Sophia Loren's bra for an hour. Although no one has admitted it, baseball has been surpassed by breasts as the national past time...They are the subject of adulation. In the words of a male friend of mine, "All breasts are magnificent...and they go up from there."...They bring about a wide array of emotions at the mere mention of them (such as in this message). Some find discussions about breasts to be stimulating, erotic, playful and otherwise pleasant. Others consider such discussions to be in poor taste because, after all, breasts are private body parts and the subject of sinful preoccupations....They are a major health concern to most women. Thus breasts are frequently checked for lumps and are periodically smooshed while undergoing mammograms (I wonder how men would react if they had to go through peni-grams). Losing breasts through mastectomies can be psychologically devastating for some women. By contrast, losing a toe doesn't have near the impact as losing a breast--yet both are just body parts....They often need to be "just right." Some women worry that they are too small, too big, too far apart, too close together, too soft, too firm, too saggy, not saggy enough and so on.

To a point, of course, the desire to be attractive is both normal and laudable. Without it, we would tend toward being a world of slobs. However, there is a line between "I prefer to be attractive" and "I'm seriously defective if my body-parts don't meet certain criteria." It is the latter attitude, of course, that I'm taking aim at.

For example, I would prefer to have a full head of hair but I'm not about to have hair transplants. Further, I would prefer that my two front teeth were closer together but you won't find me going to a dentist to get braces. While I would prefer these body parts to be otherwise, they aren't self image issues for me. They're just parts of 'ol Gary....and so be it.

Do I really need to change my body parts to feel better about myself? If so, aren't I equating myself with my hair or my two front teeth? Does it make sense to say... "If only I had more hair or prettier teeth, then I would be a more worthy person." For perspective, try this. Write down a list of attributes of a "worthy person" and notice how many body parts are on that list.

When someone considers "better body parts" to be the SOLUTION to their self image concerns, a flag goes up for me. Why? Because to me this is not a SOLUTION. Rather, it is a SYMPTOM of a more global self image deficit. Often, new body parts don't solve the problem. They are only an excuse--a convenient thing to blame for deeper issues. When the new body parts become a reality, the focus shifts to something else. It's easier, of course, to blame one's body rather than look inward for guilts and inadequacies to resolve. I'm not always right on this, of course, but in these cases I'm likely to go right by the symptom and start digging for underlying issues. I might ask questions like....

"Who else would you be pleasing if you had better (body parts)?""Why do you need to please them?""Why SHOULD you get better (body parts)?""If you had better (body parts), who would you no longer be like?""If you had better (body parts), who would you be better than?"

These, and other questions, can lead you to core issues--very important. Then it's time to get out your fingertips and start tapping. For your perusal, here are some possible EFT phrases. Please note that some of them contain built-in reframes.

"Even though my new breast size would be inadequate....""Even though I think others judge me by my breasts...""Even though, because of my breast size, I should be more outgoing and self confident that Goldie Hawn..."

There's an opportunity here for big breakthroughs in self image work. The obsession with body parts as the reason for one's self image problems supplies a useful barometer to assess how well we are applying EFT. It's a way to measure how well we are doing. As the true issues are successfully neutralized, the obsession with one's breasts, scars, hair, ears, nose, etc. will fade in importance. The obsession barometer will fall as the "big deal" becomes a "so what." And as the "so what" becomes more prominent, the self image automatically takes a useful spurt upward.

We might even call that emotional freedom.

Hugs (with most of my body parts),



I was curious about the reaction to my recent post entitled, "Breasts, body parts and self image concerns," so I corresponded about it with some friends. To my delight, most of them got the main message. However, one person got lost in the humor and couldn't remember anything but my comment about the peni-gram. A few, to my dismay, remained persuaded that a woman's self image is permanently tied to her body parts (particularly her breasts). To them this is a given--a fact of life--a non-debatable certainty that is a daily "in your face" reality.

So let me comment some more...

First, let me acknowledge the ever present pressure that "civilized society" puts on us to be beautiful. You get points for being slim, buffed or busty. People pay more attention to you if you have clear skin, perfect teeth, lustrous hair and great buns. Your "beauty" influences your job possibilities and promotions. The more sex appeal you possess the more abundant your romantic life. And the list goes on.

Do you know what's interesting about this? Only a tiny percentage of the people in the world measure up on all fronts. Let me be VERY generous and assume that 5% of the world's population have perfect bodies, intellect, financial status, etc. That leaves the rest of us poor, slobby 95%'ers to feel "lesser than" and grovel at the feet of the chosen few (slight exaggeration there--but you get the point). Therein lies an obvious, self- deprecating emotional issue which, thankfully, can be addressed by EFT. This may be the first time that one's small breasts, sub-par penis or other "deficits" can represent an opportunity for emotional advancement.

It's one thing to have one or more "inadequate" body parts. It is quite another to spend unnecessary emotional energy on them. Did you ever admire someone who, despite a "lesser than" body part, seemed completely free of it? Refreshing, eh? This is reflective of the type of emotional freedom we strive for with EFT.

Here are some more possible EFT entry points for body parts issues. Advanced students may recognize subtle reframes within some of the languaging.

"Even though I feel inadequate about my (body parts)...""Even though I'm convinced others spend a lot of time thinking about my (body parts)...""Even though MY (body parts) are more important to other people than their OWN (body parts)...""Even though spending all this emotional energy on my (body parts) has yet to solve the problem...""Even though I think my problem is my (body parts)...""Even though I feel inadequate when someone mentions (body parts)...""Even though my mother used to say_____(about body parts)..."

Let me conclude with a standard EFT observation that often eludes even the seasoned pros, namely, that these body image issues are basically the same to EFT as any other negative emotion. In essence, a thought or other stimulus results in a limiting emotion to which EFT can be applied. The tapping procedure is the same in all cases. Only the languaging changes so that the process is pointed toward the limiting emotion. This is simple, of course, but easily forgotten.

Sometimes we make things too complicated.

Hugs, Gary


Explore our newest advancement, Optimal EFT™, by reading my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™. More efficient. More powerful.