I don’t think there’s a day that goes by when I don’t look in the mirror and think what I would change about my body. Today, we can’t pick up a magazine or watch a commercial that doesn’t promote a thinner, younger, or more attractive “us”. I’m an advocate for doing all that I can to maintain or enhance what I have naturally, but how do we truly learn to truly accept ourselves and have a positive self-image?
As women, I think it’s hard not to compare ourselves to other women that we come into contact with everyday. I think women have a true appreciation for beauty and when we see a woman who has a physical trait that we would like to have, we become self critical.
We extend compliments to those individuals and are often surprised when we receive a compliment in kind. I’m not sure if men deal with this dilemma as often or if at all. I would be interested to hear from those who do. Coming into contact with individuals of all shapes and sizes each day, I have found an approach that seems to work for improving my self-esteem, or at the very least gives me some comfort.
When I see someone, who possesses a physical trait that I wish I had, I focus on the best physical attributes about myself. I tell myself that although I may not have that particular trait, I have ______ which is just as beautiful. This prevents me from criticizing myself while boosting my moral and a positive self-imagine.
According to the National Eating Disorders Association, a negative body image is: A distorted perception of your shape while perceiving parts of your body unlike they are.
These distortions may also include:
- Being convinced that other people are attractive and that your body, size or shape is a sign of personal failure.
- Feeling ashamed, self-conscious, and anxious about your body and
- Feeling uncomfortable and awkward about your body
Having a positive body image consists of:
- A clear, true perception of your shape/ seeing the various parts of your body as they really are.
- Celebrating and appreciating your natural body shape and understanding that a person’s physical appearance says very little about their character and value as a person.
- Feeling proud and accepting of your unique body and refusing to spend an unreasonable amount of time worrying about food, weight, and calories.
Learning to have a positive body image starts with loving ourselves for who we are and how we were created. No two individuals are alike, and we all possess unique qualities. We have to be willing to tap into our belief systems and challenge those unhealthy beliefs.
At times, this may require help from a professional. The dangers of not challenging negative beliefs about our body image can lead to unhealthy and unsafe practices. Be kind to yourself and most of all “do you”.