How Big Are You?

August 6, 2011
By , River Vale, NJ

It’s no secret that we often perceive ourselves as bigger than we actually are. We can never fit into that size we want, never have the number on the scale that we want, or erase that existent or nonexistent fat on whatever body part is concerning us that week.

In January of 2011 I was hospitalized for anorexia. My self-image was extremely skewed, and I felt much larger than how other, I realize now, saw me. I know now that many others, even those who don’t have eating disorders, have these same feelings, whether they are underweight or not.

While I was in the hospital, the therapy was mildly helpful at best. But, there was one exercise that stuck out the most for me.

I was with a girl, Meghan, and A boy, Brian, that day in the small, one window classroom. There were a couple of desks and a squared, average sized white board to write on. Ronnie, a plump, curly-haired woman who worked with us, sat in a chair in front of the three of us.

She placed two chairs in front of us, a few inches apart. “I want you to leave yourself enough space between these two chairs so that you can just squeeze through.”

When I stood, I gave the chairs a measured glance, and began to inch them apart, leaving enough space for my body to walk through. When I finally felt there was sufficient room, I walked through them, and realized that there were inches of empty space on either side of myself.

Ronnie raised her eyebrows a bit and looked at Meghan and Brian. “What do you notice?”

“You left way too much space,” Meghan said and Brian agreed, both of them sharing the same amount of awe as I had. Ronnie’s chair game rendered the same results for both of them, as well.

I want those of you reading this to challenge yourself to “play” this chair game. See how you perceive yourself. Leave yourself the exact amount of space you think you need between the two chairs. Try to be as accurate as possible or you won’t get the correct result.
Those of who, like me, have extra space, take a look in the mirror. You may not be seeing things quite so clearly.

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