How many of the people that you know are truly happy with their bodies? Be honest: Are you satisfied with yours? If not, you might have issues with your body image.
Body image refers to the mental picture you have of your own body as well as your thoughts, feelings, judgments, sensations, awareness, and behavior.
Our relationship with our bodies is ever changing—sensitive to changes in mood, environment, and physical experiences—and not usually based on facts. We view our own physical attractiveness based on cultural expectations learned from the media, our family, and our peers.
Your relationship with your body influences your behavior, self-esteem, and psyche. When we feel bad about our bodies, our satisfaction with our lives decreases. This might cause a myriad of difficulties affecting sexuality, work, relationships, and other important aspects of life.
There are several steps you can take to shift towards a more healthy and positive view of your body.
Question Messages Portrayed in the Media
Many of the images of celebrities and models presented in the media have been heavily digitally enhanced and airbrushed. Start questioning images depicted in the media, and question whether you should feel compelled to live up to such unrealistic standards of beauty and thinness.
Recognize Body Misperception
Perhaps you are truly not as fat as you believe. You might be blind to your true figure because of your distortion of reality. It is important to recognize this misperception and label it as inaccurate. Judge your size according to the opinions of people you already trust until you can trust your new and more accurate self-perceptions.
Be conscious of the ways you are mentally discriminating against people who do not fit the norm of what is deemed beautiful in our society. Work on accepting people of all sizes and shapes. This will help you appreciate your own body.
Not only is dieting unhealthy, but also it creates mood swings and feelings of hopelessness. While the objective may be to feel better about yourself, you may lose your self-esteem and energy. If you feel pressure to lose weight, talk to a loved one or seek professional help.
Befriend Your Body
Recognize that you do not have to compare yourself to other people. There might be several areas of your body you cannot change. However, you can modify the beliefs and attitudes that influence how you feel about yourself. Focus on overall health and not size.
A negative body image is a serious problem and has damaging effects on self-esteem. When you can smile back at your reflection in the mirror, you are well on your way to self-love and respect. Most importantly, love and enjoy the person inside.
© Copyright 2010 by Dr. Martha Tara Lee. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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