What is the truth about body image and self-esteem? Body image is the way a person perceives his body and it’s also made up of a person’s beliefs.
Body image and self-esteem is the systematic, cognitive, affective, conscious as well as unconscious perception that an individual has of his body, a perception that he acquires during his development and through his social relations.
A person who is dissatisfied with his body has a negative body image. A person who is satisfied with his body has a positive body image and self-esteem.
This perception may include negative thoughts and feelings about:
- Skin color
- Physical maturation
- Any other physical characteristic
Factors That Influence Body Image And Self-Esteem
Different factors can influence our perception of body image and self-esteem. We have power over some of them. On the other hand, people do not all have the same susceptibility to these factors. Our way of responding contributes to the development of our body image and self-esteem.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these factors.
Fashion Models And The Beauty Industry
Every day, we are bombarded with “perfect” body images by the beauty, fashion, slimming and fitness industry. Many of us compare to these ads, which can affect our body image and self-esteem as these messages and images circulate on the internet, social media, television, radio, and video games influence our perception of ourselves and others.
Athletes And The Sport Community
Let’s talk about the athletes we admire so much. The current beauty ideal of being thin and muscular can be seen in athletes, models and actors, both men and women. Some of us may want to reproduce this new “standard” and try to look athletic by doing things that are harmful to our health.
Media Also Influence The Body Image And Self-Esteem
The media takes a lot of space in our lives. Movies, music, television, video games, magazines, and social media all influence our vision of ourselves and our environment. This influence begins to exert from the youngest age. It is good to question the messages conveyed every day about beauty and the body.
The List Of How To Learn To Love Your Body
1. Appreciate just everything your very own body can do each day – smile, walk, swim, run, kiss, and hug. Your own body enables you to be who you are and do what you do.
2. Make a list of things you like about yourself, things that are not related to your weight or your image. Read this list frequently and add more things as you discover them. Remind yourself often that “true beauty” is not simply on the surface.
When you feel good about yourself and who you are with, you develop a feeling of trust, self-acceptance, and openness that generates well-being. Beauty is a mental state, not a form.
3. Look at yourself as a complete person. When you see yourself in a mirror or in your mind, choose not to focus on specific parts of your body. Observe yourself in the same way you would like others to see you, as a whole person.
4. Surround yourself with positive people who make you feel good. It is easier to feel good about yourself and your body when you are around people who support you and who recognize the importance of loving yourself as you are by nature.
5. When voices appear in your head that indicates that your body is not “correct” or that you are a “bad” person, realize that they are simply “voices“, and not absolute truths. You can try to let them go, like leaves carried by a river and try to replace them with a kind phrase that helps you feel good, like “beauty is in all shapes and sizes“.
6. Clear out your social networks: Facebook, Instagram, YouTube are full of references to body image, healthy life, beauty ideals that may not go with your values and make you feel bad about yourself or with your body.
Take a moment to cleanse everything that makes you feel that you are not enough. Protest before these messages: you can write a letter to the advertiser or publish your opinion on social networks.
7. Do something good for yourself which sends the message to your body that you appreciate and care for it. Take a bubble bath, take time for a nap, to read on a terrace, boost social relationships, find a quiet place to relax, paint or walk. Anything that really makes you happy.
8. You want to wear clothes, which are actually comfortable and the types that make you feel great. Work for your very own body and not against it in any way.
This body image and self-esteem list will not automatically change the way you relate to your body, but the more you practice these new patterns, the better you will feel about your body and what you already are.
Body image is a complex phenomenon strongly influenced by the environment (family, peers, teachers, media, etc.). A negative body image can come from a perception (real or not) that one has of one’s own figure.
Thus the above solutions will help you a great deal as regards to body image and self-esteem.
By Mariya M.