How do you feel about your appearance? Do you feel unworthy because of your body shape? Do you get frustrated because of your looks? Your attitude, perception, beliefs, and thoughts of your body, hair, skin, shape, and size are part of your body image. Body image encompasses so much more than your mirror reflection.
Having a positive body image is a learned habit. Everyone can go picking out issues on their body. Whether it is your teeth or nose – there is an error somewhere needing correction. For many, their body image is a pendulum swing from either extreme. The shift is influenced by internal conflict and external pressure.
The media, culture, and society determine the standard of a perfect body image. Those who fall short either succumb to the reality that they do not measure up or fix their appearance to fit into the mold. The change often comes at the expense of their health. From eating disorders to depression, and anxiety, perfection is driving the world insane.
The good news is, a positive body image is not a perfect look. Most times, it does not even meet those unnecessary societal standards which do more harm than good. Body image is how you perceive your body. The noun here is you – not society. What do you think about your appearance? Does your weight, height, or shape bother you? How do you treat your body?
Additionally, a positive body image stems from recognizing your self-worth. Self-worth should not only stem from your waist size, eye size, or the shade of your skin. A healthy body, regardless of size, height, and shape, is the best achievement. The rest is the noise that needs to be silenced.
Here is how you can develop positivity and stability in your body image.
The Enemy is Comparison
Comparison is a source of dissatisfaction – it disregards your strengths, turns a blind eye to your beauty, and focuses on the impossible. There is just one you, a rare species and an indispensable one too. If you try to be somebody else, you will become extinct.
Comparison is also a source of inadequacy – even when you are not. It places importance on the wrong body. You will always fall short when you define yourself according to another individual. Their authenticity makes you an imitation.
Instead of giving someone else that much power over your image, focus on you. Celebrate your beauty, abilities, and skills. It is time to shift your focus to you. Reflect on your tenacity, resilience, and determination. You are a force to reckon with, and that is what matters.
Beauty is Skin Dip
Nothing shows how inner beauty is significant more than entertainment. The cast always has beautiful people. However, the storyline always sets the distinction. It lets you adore the breathtaking protagonist and loathe the captivating villain. Their looks do not influence where your feelings lie – their personality is the compass.
Instead of obsessing over your outer frame, strive to build your inner self. The radiance of your inner beauty oozes externally. It contributes to the aura around you. After all, everybody loses their charms in the end because external beauty is fleeting. Inner beauty remains. It touches souls rather than eyes.
Fix Your Thoughts
A negative mindset stifles life out of everything. A negative body image is built from negative thoughts. They are the fuel that flames the fire of self-loathing, comparison, and low-self worth. It becomes almost impossible to do anything with negativity.
You could be excited about an event, and your thoughts betray your confidence causing you to cancel. Your thoughts also augment the issue. What started as a pimple ends up being the third world war.
Get through the doom and gloom mindset by rationalizing your thoughts. Question the authenticity of your thinking. Cancel the effect of a negative thought by thinking two positive thoughts about yourself.
Alternatively, refuse to engage by taking a pause from thinking. Keep your mind from entering into a free-fall of negativity. Additionally, watch out for the triggers. What leads you toward the path of rumination? Keep off or face these stressors to weaken their effect on you.
Embrace Your Appearance
Accept yourself as you are – your shape, size, and height are perfect. A healthy you is the best version of yourself. Having curves or muscles is not what perfection is all about. Muscles become flaccid with age, and curves soon respond to gravity. Youthfulness is elusive, and those who chase it pay an arm and a leg for maintenance.
In the end, everybody gets wrinkles, and our hair turns grey. The fountain of youth does not exist. The most you can do is develop regimens to keep your body healthy at every stage of life. Wellness is all-rounded. It covers the external, internal, and mental states. Focusing only on the outside may compromise other areas of your well-being.
Surround Yourself with Positive People
If the people around you are constantly picking on your flaws, you will learn to scrutinize your imperfections. Worse still, you will begin to interpret other people’s appearance through that defective lens. The company you keep influences your thinking, beliefs, and attitude toward beauty.
Therefore, stay around positive-minded people. Pick friends who call out the good they see in you – those who do not use your vulnerability against you. Choose to walk among people who uplift you and help you work on your weakness.
Negativity is toxic to you and those around you. It kills every good thing about friendship. In that relationship, nobody prospers. The association becomes a disparaging, mocking, and belittling fest. Look for a company that excels in encouraging, admonishing, and building one another.
Work on Your Weakness
Capitalizing on your strength is good but dealing with your weakness is even better. Improving your body image requires self-evaluation. Be honest in pointing out what you excel in character-wise, personality-wise, your skills, talents, and so forth. Note your struggles, fears, mental blockades, and shortcomings, and work on them. Turn your weaknesses into strengths.
Do not let your deficiency take hold of your life. Do not let it hide your greatness or disregard your potential. Additionally, do not let failure deter you from working on yourself.
Ignore Your Inner Critic
Nobody is perfect. Everyone is struggling with something. People know how to mask their weaknesses or wear them well. Just because they are not breaking down or cowering to their insecurities does not mean they do not have a load on their shoulders.
Instead of being hard on yourself or condemning your shortcomings, congratulate yourself for making it this far. You are still standing despite the hurdles you have faced. Acknowledge your journey. It is unique and relevant for your good.
You could also silence your inner critic with compassion. Cut yourself some slack. Do the best you can and be satisfied with the results. If there is room for improvement -by all means, go for it. Do not be pulled into anybody’s standards or opinions not based on facts.
You can take constructive criticism – that is what you do through your internal reflections. Where you admit, “I have areas that need refinement.” However, reducing criticism to fault-finding, comparison, and pure hate is not healthy for the receiver and giver. The beauty of self-awareness is knowing when criticism is destructive and irrational.
Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
Look for something in you to appreciate every day. It could be your sense of humor, intellect, determination, or endurance. Celebrate the way you smile or the way your eyes light up. Simple things that bring you joy are great esteem builders.
Become your own biggest fan. Learn to bank on your self-admiration and let the world around you follow. Everyone is going through their own battles and so don’t just rely on the approval of others to lift you up. People are very dynamic. One minute they will praise you, and the next minute they will ignore you. Building your esteem on their opinion creates uncertainty, anxiety, and unhealthy dependency.
Do not Give Power to Nay-Sayers
People sometimes project their insecurities onto you. The hate they spew is not a reflection of you. It shows who they are and what they are struggling with inside of them. The person picking on your appearance, maligning your capabilities, or undermining your contribution is simply flexing their weakness.
Learn to ignore those remarks and comments. Do not let them interfere with your progress – they are just opinions. Do not validate them. Internalizing such information can wreak havoc on your stability and esteem.
Go Ahead and Do It
Improving your body image requires changing your thoughts, and destructive habits, focusing on your health and strengths and working on your weakness. It also means evaluating the company you keep. The process of building your image requires patience and determination. It does not happen overnight.
Remind yourself daily that you are strong, worthy, and capable. Do not give up when the going gets tough. If the process is proving difficult, you could always reach out to someone you trust for support. A therapist is also capable of helping you find yourself. Start today, do not wait until the damage is done to start building yourself.
New Dimensions Can Help!
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit www.mhthrive.com to learn more.