Case #2: Who am I to be perfect?
Margaret had the kind of life that others envy. She was a brilliant economist, had a devoted and loving husband, two great who were excelling at school—even her dog was well-behaved and a joyful companion. Margaret and her husband traveled to exotic locations when on and entertained friends often in their beautiful home. Being a compassionate, smart and insightful individual, family and friends came to her for advice all the time.
The only area of Margaret's life that she did not seem to have under control was her weight. She carried 30 extra pounds on her that she had been trying to shed for many years. When we worked together, she tearfully said, "I've got everything I could possibly want, except a body I am comfortable in. I know what I need to do, and often do exactly that. But after a while, I fall off track and begin to self-sabotage. I find myself eating junk when no one is watching, and telling myself I just don't care. But I do care! This extra weight is making me miserable!"
I asked Margaret to spend some time visualizing herself as successful, to close her eyes and imagine a future where the self-sabotaging behavior was no longer a problem, and she was living her life in the body she desired. I told her to think about and even journal about the thoughts and feelings that come up when doing her visualizations. A few weeks later Margaret reported, "At first it felt fabulous. I imagined being in form-fitting clothing that was beautiful, looking in the mirror and feeling proud, being lighter and more energetic. But when I imagined my friends seeing me, I began to think they would be put off by the 'new' me or feel intimidated. After all, who am I to be perfect?"