Body Image and Self-Esteem
A healthy body image is vital for a healthy self-esteem. It means being comfortable with your own body and it's your own perception. A poor body image can be damaging in so many ways. It's often associated with eating disorders, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and a range of other issues. The reality is that many people don’t like, or are ashamed of, their bodies.
What Causes Poor Body Image?
There are many factors that can cause poor body image. For example, messages about body images in the media, parents, teachers, peers, life experiences, abuse, negative thinking and societal expectations. We’re influenced a lot by what we see and hear. We often see images of models and celebrities with perfect bodies and faces. We’re conditioned to believe that people should look a particular way to be attractive and that is damaging.
It's important to note that your body image is what you think. It’s not defined by what others think, say or do. Other people can’t make you feel inadequate unless you let them.
Tips for a Healthy Body Image and Better Self-Esteem
- Focus on being healthy rather than on body weight or appearance. Make health your focus and the rest will come. Healthy is beautiful.
- Respect your body. Eat nutritious, whole, nourishing foods. Drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, sleep well and relax.
- Avoid diets. Instead, focus on developing healthy habits that last.
- Realise that healthy body weight can vary for different people. What matters is being in your healthy weight range.
- Let go of perfectionism. You don’t have to be perfect or look a certain way to be beautiful. You're beautiful as you are, flaws and all.
- Embrace your individuality. Your uniqueness makes you special.
- Realise that beauty is subjective. You will never please everyone so focus on being comfortable within yourself.
- Challenge your negative thoughts about your body and replace them with positives. Affirmations can help with this.
- Know that the images you see in the media are usually enhanced. They distort the real picture. Common enhancements include removal of blemishes and making women look thinner. Conversely, men are often enhanced to look bigger.
- Realise that many images in the media are not a picture of good health. Stick thin is not healthy for most people.
- Take responsibility for your own perception. Only you can change the way you think.
- Get professional help, particularly if your body image is interfering with your quality of life or if you’re experiencing other issues. Poor body image can be a serious problem and it's very common. There’s no shame in seeking help.
A healthy body image gives you better self-esteem and gives you the freedom to be yourself and to live life to the fullest. You deserve to be confident and happy and you can do it.
Agathangelou, F. (2015, January 13). Body Image and Self-Esteem, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 23 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2015/01/body-image-and-self-esteem
Author: Fay Agathangelou
Thanks very much for your comment. Fear of criticism and rejection definitely interfere with self-esteem in a big way. They're key issues for a lot of people.
I love your words "the only thing that makes a difference in the end is whether or not you accept and love yourself." Very well said, thanks for sharing.