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No-Body is Perfect!

Get your body image and self-esteem in better shape

Woman measuring her waist with tapeDo you feel comfortable with your body image? Do you like what you see in the mirror?

If your answer is “no”, you are in good company.

What is body image?

Body image is how we see ourselves when we look in the mirror or when we picture ourselves in our mind. It encompasses how we perceive our own appearance, e.g. our shape, height and weight, and also how we feel in our body.

Ultimately, it is not how you actually look that matters, but rather how you see yourself in the mirror.

If you consider yourself reasonably attractive, you will think more positively and interact better with others. If you see yourself as unattractive, however, your negative view may have a harmful impact on your mental and physical health. In a worst case scenario, people with such a negative self-image may even develop severe eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia.

A Distorted View

Many women, young and mature alike, are unhappy with the way they look and may even feel depressed or worthless due to their distorted body images.

They permanently benchmark their own appearances with those of the world of media – advertisements, magazines, film and television, etc. – populated by extraordinarily and flawlessly beautiful personalities. As a result, ordinary women may have below-average body images and may even feel “fat” and “ugly”. Many feel self-conscious and some even avoid drawing attention to their bodies, such as by not exercising at a gym or swimming in a public pool, due to their insecurities. No wonder many women cling to all kinds of costly cosmetic interventions!

Surprising to many, men may also be afflicted with body image concerns. More than a quarter of men, for example, are dissatisfied with their physique. Many feel inferior to the chiselled models in the media used to suggest that only muscular hunks with “ripped” six-pack abs and bulging biceps can be successful in life.

Delighted or Disappointed

Why is it that so many ordinary people are dissatisfied with their bodies, while others have a positive body image? The answer has to do with their individual levels of self-esteem.

People with low self-esteem often believe that an important criteria of self-worth is a person’s ability to live life without caring about their looks. This is a myth!

The truth is that people with a healthy self-esteem do care about their appearance. However, they look for neither perfection nor irrelevant body flaws – their primary concern is maintaining a healthy body and happy mind. Their simple secret is not being afraid or embarrassed to look in the mirror. They simply accept their body image reflections.

People with a healthy self-esteem do not feel inferior or unattractive due to deviations from these artificial and construed beauty and youth standards set by the media. Women and men with a healthy self-esteem understand that these body images are entirely unrealistic – the individuals are typically in the prime of their lives and are layered in make-up, and the images are Photoshopped. Based on their self-evaluation and understanding, they can be more relaxed and content with their body image. They believe themselves to be more attractive and likeable and, therefore, make better impressions on others than they would otherwise. The fact is that when you believe you look good on the outside, you feel good on the inside too!

Woman trying clothingWhat is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is our own evaluation of ourselves with respect to how likeable and valuable we see ourselves as human beings. It is how we judge, feel and think about ourselves. If you judge yourself positively, you will appreciate yourself – and others will appreciate you too! On the other hand, if you have a negative attitude towards yourself, others will not respect you either!

The Power of Positivity

Fortunately, anyone can take very simple steps to increase his/her self-esteem and improve his/her body image, and thus become happier and more self-assured:

  1. Change your perspective. You do not need to change the image in your mirror – just change how you look at the mirror. Look for your inner and outer strengths and not your supposed “physical defects”. Do not look for the negative, because then you will certainly find it!
  2. Focus on inner beauty. Work on staying attractive inside and healthy outside. Say “yes” to your body in spite of deviations from the so-called beauty norms. Develop your other qualities and learnIch habe gelernt, charmant, freundlich und humorvoll zu sein. to be charming, friendly and humorous.
  3. Don’t go overboard. Be nice to your body and stay healthy within medically recognised standards! You know the saying: “In a healthy body lives a healthy mind!” If you are worried about your weight or size, check with your medical doctor to verify that everything is normal. Do not engage in dangerous practices to control your weight and size.
  4. Accept your body. Recognise that you cannot change your body type. Whether you are skinny, bulky, muscled or well-rounded, you need to appreciate your body and work with your genetic inheritance.
  5. Stop comparing. Don’t compare yourself and your body to others. Your physiology is unique to you. Frequent comparing tends to increase negative body image. You will always find someone who is more beautiful or fitter, etc., thus compare yourself only with yourself!
  6. Exercise for the right reasons. Develop a healthy body image. Exercise regularly because it makes you feel attractive, emotionally well-balanced and energised.
  7. Confide in someone. Sometimes, low self-esteem and body image problems are too much to handle alone. If you are feeling this way, talking to a counsellor can help. These health professionals can put your body image in perspective and give you positive feedback about your appearance, abilities and skills.
  8. Be realistic. Most importantly, remind yourself: No-body is perfect!
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Dr Wolff von Auer is a well-known SAC-registered Counsellor and Certified Hypnotherapist. He also is a passionate and acknowledged keynote speaker cum trainer in the field of Soft Skills and Mental Wellbeing. For more information, please visit www.CHH.com.sg.
Posted by ezyhealth on Jan 8 2015. Filed under Mental Health. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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