What is Body Image?
How we see ourselves is not always how the world sees us. Body image can be either positive or negative and is determined by many different factors: from our upbringings and the people we live with, to what people say and the kinds of media we consume. Body image is the mental representation that fits inside our head which can influence our daily actions, thoughts, self esteem and desires for change.
What Is Good and Bad Body Image?
Having a healthy body image does not necessarily mean that you think you are subjectively more or less attractive but rather how happy you are with what you perceive to be your body. On the other side, those who have a negative body image might think themselves attractive yet concentrate on one or more pieces of their body that they find disgusting. There is usually a correlation between one’s body image and the general view of how attractive they are. As such, those who have a bad body image will often say or do the following:.
- Avoidance of social situations
- Trying to hide what they perceive as a deformity
- Saying things like “I am hideous, ugly, repulsive”
- Needing of the constant reassurance from others when it comes to how they look
- Pursuing constant cosmetic work and or surgery
- The need to keep comparing themselves to others
- Looking in the mirror or taking excessive amounts of photos
- The view that they are unattractive or physically repulsive.
How to Overcome a Negative Body Image?
A negative body image can begin at a very early age and have deep and impactful consequences throughout the course of a life. Everyone deserves to feel happy in their own body even if it contradicts their personal view of beauty. We seem to live in an increasingly superficial world, where social media and the internet are constantly bombarding us with often unrealistic images, videos and depictions of beauty. As we allow social media to dictate the value of how attractive we seem to be, and gauge our happiness and well-being accordingly, those who don’t mirror these images often fall into states of depression. Body image is a mental projection (or overlay) of ourselves where even those with positive images may not visualise themselves as others do. The journey to a positive body image comes from within. A good first step is realising all the good one’s body can do outside of its aesthetics. Arms can hug, hands can gesture, ears can hear and life would be much more difficult without these things. Being thankful for what we have been given can start to change body image. Tastes and even the definition of beauty have changed significantly, both historically and culturally, over time This would suggest that just as our mental projection of ourselves if subjective, so too are the standards with which we compare.