The Miracle Question

The Miracle Question

The Miracle Question

This will be an odd question, but go with it. It is called “The Miracle Question.”[1]

Write your answer on the Body Image Scale pdf underneath “Week 2: Miracle Question.”

This evening, you are home and doing whatever you normally do, such as taking care of your kids, cooking dinner, helping with homework, doing their bedtime routine, watching television, reading a book, and so on. Eventually you go to bed. Everybody in your household is quiet (that in itself would be the miracle, but read on), and you are sleeping in peace. In the middle of the night, a miracle happens, and your body image issues are gone!

But because this happens while you are sleeping, you have no way of knowing about the overnight miracle. So, when you wake up tomorrow morning, what might be a small change that will make you say to yourself, “Wow, something must have happened.” What would your family notice?

I’ll give you a peek at part of my answer:

I’d wake up and not even notice my belly as I was getting breakfast for the kids. I’d listen to them talk about their dreams or nightmares or whatever. They would notice that I was still sleepy and not super energetic, but I’d be nicer than usual. When I got dressed, I’d pick out comfortable clothes that made me feel confident, but I wouldn’t feel compelled to hide my belly. Maybe I’d wear a tank top in the summer. I’d workout and feel strong. I’d walk with confidence and wouldn’t glance down at my belly throughout the day. Overall, I’d be more mindful and focused on individual tasks.

The key to the MIRACLE QUESTION is asking yourself, can I DO my answer?

For example, in the morning, I can listen to my children, rather than think about my body. I can pick out clothes that make me feel good. I can work out.

(I answered The Miracle Question a few years ago. Today, I don’t think about my belly in the mornings. I don’t worry about finding the right shirt to hide my belly. And I follow through with most of my planned workouts. Therefore, I no longer have to act “as if” the Miracle is true. Over time, it became true.)

The trick is coming up with an answer that is relevant to your circumstances. I can’t pretend I’ll wake up and skip out of bed, showering mommy happy pixie dust in my wake. The answer has to be tangible and realistic, while still aspirational.

Your answer may be obvious, or it may need to percolate. I had to sit for 10 minutes just visualizing my day before it clicked. I kept on wanting to make the miracle a negative, as in I wouldn’t be thinking about my belly (which is still in there) or wouldn’t be looking dejectedly in the mirror. This is true, but I had to come up with an action that wasn’t simply the absence of something. My answer is pretty boring actually. Still, at the height of my body image discomfort, a boring answer was what I needed.

Remember, fill this out on the Body Image Scale underneath Week 2.

Return to Week 2

  1. “The Miracle Question” is taken from Solutions Focused Brief Therapy, a type of therapy developed in the 1980s by Insoo Kim Berge and Steve Shazer. I have adapted it from Steve Shazer’s and Yvonne Dolan’s book More than Miracles: The State of the Art of Solution-Focused Brief Therapy. New York: Haworth Press, 2007. REMEMBER, I AM NOT A THERAPIST. PLEASE SEEK A REAL THERAPIST IF YOU LIKE THIS APPROACH AND WANT MORE HELP.  ↩

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