T Nation

Negative Self Image: Isn't It Scary?


Dude, just rewrite it next time and include your major point in words.

And what if no one wants to stay in line with your original post?

Wouldn’t be the first time people hijacked a thread and turned it into a dumping ground for cat memes.

You wouldn’t have to worry about that though if it were a stronger “article”.


Yeah, I get the security thing. I just don’t consider being intimidating a good characteristic. I know some guys who are retired SF, Seals, and Marine Recon. You’d never know it or get the slightest feeling of intimidation from being around them though. They’re really easy to be around, hang out with.


I remember around 8 years ago i was at a bar and grill i frequent, talking with this dude about ufc , we have local kid ( des moines ) at 155 who just knocked out a guy with a superman uppercut in a ufc bout .
Anyway some jackass who weighed around 250 or so said if he could get hands on *******, he would get on top of him and tee off.
Well the guys i was talking ufc with before the fat boy jump in and started talking shit, apparently knew ******* and said they would give him call, he was in town , i dont know if they knew him or not, that guy slid out of chair and scurried out of bar like a ninja.
Funny. The guy apperently though his 315 bench and 100lbs of flab would trump, professional mma fighter.


In this post, you’ve shown you used intelligence and stood up for yourself. I don’t think you intimidated anyone, unless I am misinterpreting this all because I wouldn’t be intimidated by someone reasoning with me.

I in no way say this to be antagonistic, only because I am truly curious–maybe even nosy–about someone who gets satisfaction from intimidating others, but I wonder what circles in which you travel considering there are men with enormous resources and connections out there, and maybe a tiny few of them are also tall, muscular, and handsome. In fact, despite being an ordinary guy myself, I have, and do work for such men, some of whom have egos that wouldn’t even allow you to get over them with such logical reasoning (and some of whom are very physically nebbishy appearing). Nor would they be intimidated by much besides serious consequences, not some intelligent dude with muscles.

You really think you’re at the top of the food chain? I’m not the most worldly guy, and again, I stress that I don’t want to be antagonistic here. It’s just that I’ve witnessed great socioeconomic inequality in the city in which I live. I actually read somewhere that the inequality here is worse than South Africa’s during apartheid. So when someone says they’re at the top of the food chain, it stirs some curiosity.


It’s an interesting topic. There’s so much you can talk about. It’s great that you are finding your studies so interesting, and the topic is going to resonate with lots of people here, so thanks.

Your article attempts to cover too much ground. You could focus on young men involved in BBing. That alone could be the subject of many articles. Citing a study of obese women who showed increases in body image satisfaction as BMI went down, or talking about how some female athletes had an increased appreciation for body function after participating in sports begins to detract from your point.

Talking about how female athletes in specific sports like gymnastics, cheerleading, or dance may have more body image issues or eating disorders than girls in traditional sports is really interesting to me. Increased perfectionism, groups like cheer camps or dance clubs supporting and reinforcing the development of eating disorders in their participants, etc… Increased perfectionism and it’s relationship to these behaviors. Comparing these issues in adolescent men and BBing would be a great article in itself.

Let’s say most internet readers are going to skim and read maybe 300 words, so you really want to stick to one main idea. I think you’re overestimating the ability of your audience to understand where you’re going, and what the research means, after only giving them a really brief mention to the studies you’re talking about.

Tons of things to talk about. Keep it up!

Edited to ad, you did inspire me to go look a bit. This is really interesting.


Sure, but you’re also not an Olympic athlete or a fitness model (as pretty as you may or may not be).

People that get really, really, really good at something generally have something slightly wrong with them in some other category of a well-rounded person. There’s just not enough time in the day or room in the brain, they have a concern they seek to improve, or the like.

This supposed study in the OP posited that people really into fitness often don’t like their bodies. Well, yes, that’s why many got into fitness. I got a good career and invested wisely because I didn’t like to be poor and considered poverty a threat to the survival of myself and my children.

I don’t see any cause and effect between getting into fitness (or whatever) and the underlying concern.

It’s a correlation, not a causation.

More to the point, I reject that having an underlying concern (a supposed dark motive) as particularly a bad thing, for the reason that such underlying concerns are the most common cause of great achievement.

Jet engines were perfected in the West because of concern with the Soviets.
Steve Jobs created Apple because he was a neurotic and insecure bastard.
Mother Teresa did great works of charity because she considered herself unworthy of G-d’s love.

Long way of saying, the OP has internalized a peculiar upper-class WASPy belief that fear/concern of whatever is a bad thing. It underlines the entire thesis.


I agree with you. Necessity often spurs creativity or hard work. Trying to be well-rounded might be a luxury in those circumstances, and is rarely a concern of anyone who is really driven or passionate. It’s a good thing, since the rest of us benefit from the discoveries and inventions these “not well-rounded” individuals have made.

I was just coming at it from another angle. I dislike the assumption that this hobby comes from a place of brokenness, unhappiness, small-man syndrome, guy must have a small penis, inferiority complex, woman trying to be a man. OR that it’s inherently something that will wreck your previously healthy self-image. It’s none of those things for me. The OP can put that in his list of anecdotes.

As far as motivations, it’s always about trying to be better. Striving to be mediocre, or just like everyone else is not inspiring. Even for someone with mostly internal motivations, we want to rise above where we are. Self-improvement and progression. We want to be better, not equal. I’m sure that sounds unhealthy to some people, but it’s what drives so much of human endeavor and achievement. People who think there is something wrong with that are in denial about basic human nature, IMO.


“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

George Bernard Shaw

(Disclaimer: Quote offered as an encapsulation of some of the sentiments expressed above; not intended to imply a blanket endorsement of everything GBS stood for/espoused.)


I dont mind, you dont seem like the sensitive type like my friend @yogi :slight_smile:

To answer your question: It isn’t one thing in particular - it isn’t about being muscular, or being tall (I’m not tall at 5’9" if that is what you were insinuating), or good looking, intelligent, etc, it is about the “package” as a whole and how you present yourself.

Consider meeting someone for the first time, they are huge like The Mountain, but speak at a 6th grade level. You’d probably think to yourself “Damn this guy is strong but he is an idiot.” Now consider someone as intelligent as Stephen Hawking, who is hesitant when they speak and physically frail, you might think “Wow, this guy is a friken genius, but boy is he a wimp”. In either case you wouldnt want someone like those two in charge of making decisions for a project. But if you are someone who has a good combination of those two extremes - who is physically in great shape, good looking, speaks intelligently, and knows their stuff, you are more inclined to listen to them and do what they say.

Now to clarify, but intimidation I don’t mean being a bully, I mean being someone who can take charge in a given situation. I suppose I used the word “intimidating” because Ive had 2 bosses, a few friends, and one doctor tell me I was. Personally I don’t feel very confident around people most of the time. Hell, when I look in the mirror I see myself as small, but when Im in a picture with friends I realize my torso is about twice the average persons size. People call me big, even when I dont feel that way.

When it comes to doing work/business, I am a completely different person: I am very direct, see the big picture quickly (more specifically what needs to be done, how long it will take, etc), and make it a priority to be one of the most knowledgeable people in the room when it comes to my tasks, I find it easy to take charge and delegate, and I am not afraid to speak up. I think that, coupled with being in decent shape (I still need to lose another 20lbs) does project some kind of authority. But when I am not working I am pretty silly goof off a lot.

And you ask about being associated with influential circles. It isn’t that complicated, but comes down to doing what other people are afraid or wont do. Ill give you a short example: 3 years ago I was at one of the lowest points in my life - I had no job, my family wasn’t doing well, I was out of shape, and I dropped out of school (very long story there). I had no choice and needed to move back home. I needed a job badly. I would go to a local book store, 5 days a week, and look for jobs on the internet. After reviewing the jobs I would then craft my resume and cover letter to these specific applications. But I would carry out one more step which most people cant be bothered to do: I cold called employers, many, probably 30-50. I spoke to them professionally expressed my interest in their organization, offered to forward my credentials, and requested to schedule a phone interview. The overall process was very painful; it is draining getting rejection after rejection. Some nights I would go home feeling like a loser. But there were a few really bright moments. Because I carefully picked who I would call (smaller organizations that had specializations in my field) and had some sample work prepared, I ended up speaking to two CEOs/presidents/founders, and they are both in my contacts. One guy who started his business in his garage now expanded his network to a few thousand people. Another guy was working on developing a 747 refit facility on the east coast. The point I am trying to make is, to be surrounded by high profile people, you have not be afraid to talk to them (not in the business sense, but like fellow human being), and if you really do have some kind of skill they like, you’ll probably be welcomed.

And in terms of the food chain remark, note that I said I “feel” like I am sometimes, whether or not I actually am can be debated. But in some respects I think this is true. I wouldn’t say it is true in terms of being sensitive and empathetic, or being calm, or being really attractive, but in terms of some other traits, yes.

And one more remark, being intimidating is useful. Using the example I made in my earlier post, if I never had the audacity to walk into the financial office, sit down and basically tell them “If you don’t get rid of this fee I am going to walk off your project and cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars”, I would still be a regular employee getting screwed by the"system". If I walked in there, hesistating, feeling like I was expendable to the project, theyd have probably told me “sorry there is nothing we can do.” But if I tell them, “good luck replacing me!”, they think twice. They made an exception for me because I used my leverage to negotiate: highly skilled labor. Most people don’t think to do things like that, but that is how this world works: you are either going to be a fighter and take what you want, or you are going to be submissive and work on other peoples terms.


I agree. I started wrestling at a relatively young age. You don’t drill all season, or for years, restrict diet, cut weight by running sprints in the balcony of the pool, or anything else that people do to prepare- to go out on the mat and end it in a tie.

I would postulate that in higher performing athletes especially, it isn’t a social pressure to obtain the perfect body that causes a negative self image, it is coaching practices and the requisite pressure to win at that level that can be damaging to the athletes body image. Being told that you have to cut weight, get stronger, leaner, etc. by an influential figure like a coach- year after year would have to carry a lot of weight in self image formation of an adolescent.


mon then ya fat cunt


I like nearly everything he espoused, though he was not a fan of my kind. :grinning:


I get you now. I think it’s apparent I don’t think of myself as seriously as you do of yourself and others here. There is no sarcasm intended here. Ah, the life of an Average Joe…


I have seen a lot of different things in my life. I have never seen a man of small stature, who did a long prison sentence, with multiple friends (who are in a historically tough lifestyle) be innocent of any physical altercation with another single man in a bar.

What I am saying is what looked like to you as a guy picking a fight with a smaller guy, was almost certainly not the case.

The profile is as follows: A Guy who spent a long time in prison, hanging with a group of “tough” guys, in a bar is 9.9/10 not up to a lot of good. Especially if he is of small stature. Fact…Science


Normally I would agree with you, but I watched this particular event unfold in full AFTER I denied re-entry to the guy. He was hell bent on finding trouble, and he had great success in this endeavor.

The felon was just having a smoke when this guy decided to get in his face.


Buddy, I can assure you, you are not intimidating


I believe that is probably what it looked like, and I wasn’t there.
People like the felon you described are very good at making things appear different than what they are.

Makes me think something happened earlier, prior to the smoking incident that set the guy off, and he obviously didn’t know what spider web he was getting caught in.


Read over the OP. A few thoughts.

The study that found trainee’s who were pursuing a functional based endeavor, were more concerned with how their body functioned compared to the trainee’s who were pursuing a appearance based endeavor were more concerned with their appearance.

Yeah, no shit

When you stated that a person should train in a manner that is addressing all 3 phases of their being physical, mental, and spiritually. You are correct, but when a person who is living their life by that standard it is important for them to try to reach their GOD givin potential in those areas. So, when it comes to the physical aspect it is important for a person in a quest to reach their potential to have a plan to address their weak areas. This means analyzing where they are at, and what needs to be addressed. This in no way indicates that they have a negative body image, it just means they are not where they feel they need to be.


So, if I was to have to answer a person conducting a survey if I was “happy” with where I was at physically, I could not honestly answer that question with a “yes”.

So, that data would be entered in as a “no”.

But, I do not suffer from a negative self image. As a big picture analysis, it would state that I am motivated? Encouraged? Pleased? Even happy with what I have been able to do so far physically. But, in am not “happy” enough to stay here physically. I want to improve. Always improve. The end result might not be attainable. Because the end result is perfection. But, the journey is the reward. Because I enjoy this shit


Your instincts would be correct about 9 times out of 10, but not in this case. I actually made note of this particular event in my log of lifting and occasional tales of bouncing mayhem. As to not derail the thread further, you can read about it here.