What do you think about your body image? Attractive, ugly, sexy or below average? Our minds can twist our perception of reality and make us believe we look hideous when that is not the case. Let’s understand this subject and learn how to achieve a healthy and real body image.
What is body image?
Body image is influenced by two factors, first, the mental picture (body proportions) one constructs of oneself and second, one’s attitude (thoughts, feelings, beliefs) towards their body. When a person has a negative or unhealthy body image it could easily lead to low self-esteem causing distress. Most people would modify their appearance and these perceived imperfections do not cause them any anxiety or duress. They will cover freckles with makeup, workout, etc. These actions do not necessarily imply one has a negative body image. That type of person accepts the fact that their body is not perfect. Then there are some who have a negative or unhealthy body image. They are preoccupied with distorted body flaws that their own mind wrongfully conceive. They may be uncomfortable in their own skin, hating the way they look and wanting to make drastic modifications at any cost.
Over the years the media has influenced the way body image is perceived. Television, advertisements, pop culture icons, and other media can all have a powerful impact on how people regard their bodies. Conventionally attractive people with idealized features and bodies seem to present an “ideal” body type, and advertisements often suggest everyone can achieve a similar body, face, or look if they only make the effort. These messages can be dangerous because some physical features cannot be modified. A person can dye or cut hair with relative ease, use colored contacts to change eye color, and attain a more toned physique at the gym. However, other characteristics such as facial structure, body shape, and voice may be more difficult to change, and costly procedures may be required in order to do so. Some aspects of a person’s body, such as height, are unable to be altered.
Body image and self-esteem are related but distinct concepts. Body image describes one’s attitude toward a single aspect of the self, namely the physical body, while self-esteem relates to one’s view of the self as a whole. Self-esteem may involve an evaluation of one’s overall worth and is generally not limited to the physical body. Nevertheless, the way people think and feel about their bodies is often strongly connected to their overall view of themselves.
What you can do about your body image
You can engage in self-monitoring, often by keeping a diary, in order to become more aware of both the negative and positive thoughts and emotions regarding your body, as well as the factors that trigger them. When you can identify negative thoughts and the triggers that cause them, then you can begin the road to overcoming negative thoughts with positive ones. Just remember you are not alone and you also need not suffer alone. Talk to someone you are comfortable with and share your feelings with them. Not only will you feel better but your friend will have the opportunity to show how much he or she loves you! Learn to love and embrace YOUR body! Remember, you have to notice your beauty first before others will!
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