Consider the following statistical findings:
In your local area and community, what views do people have towards their bodies, whether it is shape, size or complexion? You will likely see one reoccurring trend - many people are uncomfortable with their appearance and would like to change it if they could.
Body image is a major thing which you'll probably hear talked about a lot. With so many different bodies around us, included those displayed by the media, people are wondering if theirs is good enough.
Body image is your relationship with your body - it encompasses issues such as your thoughts, feelings and perceptions as well as actions pertaining to your physical appearance. It's multifaceted and complex.
Body image affects people in different ways. There are those who are somewhat discontented with their physical appearance, but their discontent does not cause them considerable distress in their everyday lives. For others, their dissatisfaction with their body is extreme and is associated with a range of emotional and behavioural problems.
What about you? What is your body image? Here are some questions that may help you find out.
You might ask yourself the following questions:
Think about the answers to the above questions for a moment. These questions are incredibly personal, but really help you to get a sense of where you stand in terms of your body image. So now let us discuss why body image is important and why you should pay attention to it.
Body image is very much linked to self-esteem. The way you view yourself impacts the amount of confidence you have. For instance, the above questions demonstrated the way a person may shy away from certain activities with other people, because they are worried about what the others may think/say.
If we think we are lacking something in the way of physical appearance, we are likely going to have lower self-esteem as we believe that something is wrong with us. We then place a higher value on the physical traits that we think we should possess and those who possess them. Studies even suggests that up to a third of your self-esteem is linked to how positive or negative your body image is.
Body image often plays an important role with our perception of how well we fit in with our peers, particularly those of the same gender. Your body image affects your feelings of masculinity or femininity.
For males, traits like height and muscularity may come into play, and for women it may be being thin or having delicate features. If you feel as though you need a specific set of physical features to look like a 'real' man or woman, then you will likely get discouraged if you don't have those traits.
A negative body image can cause interpersonal anxiety. If you cannot accept your looks, you most likely assume that others do not like your looks either.
Why do you think girls and boys are interested in beauty at a much younger age than ever before? It is generally related to what they see in the environment around them. Kids watch TV and see pictures of beautiful celebrities and models everywhere. The girls are usually thin and pretty. The boys are usually tall and have big muscles. They are just perfect.
These kids start to admire these figures and want to be like them. The result? They feel bad when they compare their appearance to the perfect images that are portrayed by the media. Even at a young age! Sadly, it is not just children that experience this same reaction to what they see in the media.
How can you develop a positive body image and feel good when you look in the mirror? Here are some helpful suggestions:
Show some respect.
Treat your body respectfully. When you know you are taking proper care of your body, you will have a better view of your looks. Keep things in moderation, including what you choose to eat. You do not need to be extreme. Be mindful of the nutrients that your body needs to function and have a balanced diet. Working to have a positive body image is an active thing and will require making good decisions when it comes to food as well as personal fitness.
Your conversations related to body image:
How do you talk about physical appearance and body image? What you hear said about how people should or should not look will ultimately affect the way you feel about your own body. Steer the conversation in a more positive direction whenever you hear someone talk about the way they look in a disparaging way. Sometimes people talk negatively about their body image in order to get attention and have someone tell them they look perfect. Try not to be this person. Self-confidence comes from within. Avoid negative conversations about body image and make sure your words display a balanced view of one's appearance.
Stay away from offensive material in the media.
Some of the videos and shows related to physical appearance on the internet can be quite shocking. There are many unwholesome thoughts and ideas that are promoted by some people. Be alert and be careful. Remember that what you watch and read has a huge impact on how you feel. Fashion and gossip television shows can at times portray a discouraging view of how men and women should look.
If you find yourself continually comparing yourself to those who are said to have 'perfect' figures, then you would want to step away from media like this. Of course, you cannot always avoid advertisements that emphasise appearance, but you can make sure that you are not engrossed in following and accepting all the beauty and fashion ideals that are presented to you by the media.
This body image workbook on Amazon contains an eight-step program to help you see your body in a new light and discover your personal body image strengths instead of worrying about and criticising your appearance. It offers a sensitive and sympathetic voice to the complicated issue of body image.
Thanks for reading this article on body image and why it is important. What are your views on this? How do you keep a balanced mind-set? Comment below.
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