Akram Alashari, MD, is a trauma surgeon and motivational speaker who helps college students make their dreams a reality. Dr. Alashari grew up in a difficult home, got involved with a bad crowd, and overcame a parent who relinquished paternal rights when he was 15. These challenging experiences taught him that self-image impacts your success more than what others think.
Given that Dr. Alashari had to grapple with his own self-image and has worked with so many traumatically injured patients, he has a unique perspective on self-image as it relates to body image. He says:
“As a trauma surgeon, I have had the unique privilege to take care of and save so many precious lives. However, many times the person I save is left with a permanent disability or completely disfigured. This includes burns to the face, loss of limbs, hernias, and much more. After speaking with many patients, I realized that there are certain psychological factors that distinguishes how they handle the trauma, both physical and emotional.”
It was an honor to interview Dr. Alashari and here is some of the wisdom he shared:
BodyPeaceUniversity.com: Dr. Alashari, you have worked with accident victims and people who have had major trauma to the body; including permanent disfigurement. How have your patients learned to be happy with their body when it no longer functions as it once did?
Dr. Alashari: The main factor that leads to happiness with our body is to cultivate gratitude. Since we largely do not choose our looks, we can consciously decide to be grateful for what we do have, rather than be miserable because of expectations set by our own minds. Gratitude is essentially the opposite of entitlement. Discontent occurs when there is a gap between expectations and reality. Gratitude closes this gap as it removes entitlement. There are countless studies demonstrating the beneficial social, psychological, and physiological effects of gratitude. Utilize it to increase your well-being and improve your self-image. Repeat affirmations and record your grateful thoughts in a notebook - review it regularly.
BodyPeaceUniversity.com: That is a great suggestion. In fact, our journals have a section where you write a thank you letter to each part of your body to put you in a state of body gratitude. That works! However, you then go out into the world where advertisers and mean people insult your body, attack your insecurities and intentionally make you feel inadequate. How do your patients deal with it when body gratitude does not stop body bullying?
Dr. Alashari: Those who are happy with their body image focus on what they can control, and do not focus on what they cannot control. They fully understand, both intellectually as well as emotionally, that you are in complete control over how you respond to situations. You are not in control of what happens, but you are in complete control of how you react to it. In addition, they make a conscious decision as to how they want to respond, as opposed to having a visceral reaction to the first thought that comes to mind. Most importantly, they accept the fact that there are plenty of things in which we have no control over.
BodyPeaceUniversity.com: We have no control over mean and rude jerks!! That’s true. So, then, what are some of the specific things that your patients do to respond to body bullies in an empowering way?
Dr. Alashari: They believe that everything that happens is serving them in some way, and that you can learn from it. One of the best ways to create an empowering meaning is to ask empowering questions. For example:
· What is good about this?
· How is this making me stronger, or smarter?
· What is funny about this?
· How can this help other people?
· How can I use this for future experiences?
Wow, these suggestions are amazing and really work. Dr. Alashari has amazing insight and helpful tools to help everyone of any circumstance value and work with their assets. Check out his book “The Power of Peak State: Massively Enhance Your Personal Potential.”
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