Throughout history, we’ve observed that the idea of beauty changed. From Marilyn Monroe’s hourglass shape to the heroin chic of the 90s, we’ve given importance to the beauty of the human body. From the European paleness in the Elizabethan era, which symbolized opulent indoor living, to the fake tanning trend of the early 2000s, the symbol of endless trips to the sun. Many tell his experiences under the heading I Hate My Body.
We live in a society in which we are constantly asked to change – and unfairly so. Therefore, it is no wonder that many of us dislike their physical appearance or struggle with their appearance.We all have imperfections, but we don’t take them seriously and tend to disregard them as they don’t matter to our sense of self, our personality, and intrinsic value as a human being.
Others, however, become overcome by negative thoughts about their bodies or appearance, negatively impacting their self-esteem, self-image, and how they view themselves and interact with their world.
The National Institute of Health defines body image as a psychological experience of embodiment that varies in significance depending on whom is experiencing it. Essentially, body image is what you think about yourself and how you feel about the way you look.
- What do we think of our bodies?
- How are we perceived by other people?
- What we feel about ourselves: height, weight, and shape?
To be comfortable with who you are, you do not need symmetrical features on your face, perfect noses, or a body like Gisele. It is simply a matter of accepting who you are.
Speaking of having a positive body image, a strong sense of self-worth rests on our ability to separate our value from our appearance. When we become confused with our self-worth, we get into dangerous territory.
How do body image and self-esteem relate to one another?
Self-esteem and body image are related, but they are also different. Our body image represents just one aspect of ourselves—our physical body. On the other hand, self-esteem encompasses how we view ourselves as a whole.
Because of this, having a negative self-image diminishes self-esteem because how we feel about our bodies will influence how we view ourselves as a whole.
When we are less confident in ourselves, our quality of life suffers. When we lack self-esteem, we turn our energy inwards and feel confined. We start doubting ourselves. We get self-conscious and worry about what others think about us.
Therefore, having a good body image and self-worth is an important part of living a happy, fulfilled life because they enable us to become our most authentic selves.
Why do I hate my body so much?
Firstly, we need to get rid of any self-blame. If someone is willing to tell us they ‘hate’ their body, they will probably be very harsh on themselves.
Poor body image isn’t something that happens overnight. Frequently, it’s a reflection of the kinds of voices and messages we’ve received when we were growing up – whether it was from society, family, or friends.
We all are unique – and beautifully different – and can’t all be cookie-cutter. There is no kind of ‘perfect body’ that we all have to attain.
Poor body image can also result from growing up in a very critical family, or having a lot of emotional instability in our lives. Or from spending a lot of time in a very appearance-focused environment, where we put importance on looks over everything else.
How to overcome poor body image?
As a result, it’s really important to seek the right support so you can start feeling better as soon as possible. You can struggle with poor body image for a long time, particularly if you have been criticizing yourself for a long time.
Until then, here are a few tips for getting started:
Call attention to what you see.
They’re common these days. A lot of the photos we end up comparing ourselves to are heavily photoshopped and do not even show real bodies.
We only see other people putting their best foot forward when they wake up tired and puffy-eyed. It’s normal for everyone to have off-days and to have some things about themselves you don’t like. Remind yourself next time you find yourself comparing yourself to someone else.
Choose what you look at
Make sure to unfollow any brands and magazines that suggest anyone can change themselves or improve their appearance on social media. That’s how subliminal messages sneak into our subconscious without us noticing it.
Fortunately, people are starting to change their behavior and promote a healthier body image through hashtags such as #bodyposi. Remember: there is no perfect body or bikini body – just somebody’s body!
Begin loving your body for who it is, no matter how hard it feels.
Sure, getting in better shape will make you happier with your body. But the truth is you’re going to love your body a lot more when you love it. So start by loving your body – that’s true self-acceptance.
Being easy-going is the most attractive thing there is. No one expects you to be perfect, so just be yourself. And when you’re comfortable with yourself you shine. Authenticity is the best quality.
Find a vibe or a look that suits you and disregard everything else. Trends mis-sell the notion that we need to dress a certain way to be attractive. The best thing you can be is you.
Celebrate your body as an instrument, not an ornament
Take time to run, swim, dance, and laugh! You deserve to celebrate all the amazing things your body does for you every day.
Indulge your body
Try something different and indulgent that makes you feel good, whether it’s a relaxing body massage or a trip to the nail salon.
Stop your inner critic in its tracks
Often we are much more critical of ourselves than we would ever be with a friend. Next time your inner critic rears an ugly head, call it out and put a list together of the things you love about yourself.
Body dysmorphic disorder occurs when our body image blurs our perception of ourselves.
Poor body image can have dangerous consequences and is often indicative of an eating disorder or an anxiety disorder known as body dysmorphic disorder. People with body dysmorphic disorder see themselves primarily in terms of appearance.
This will cause them to have distorted perceptions of their appearance and negative feelings about any of their perceived flaws. BDD and OCD share many similarities, such as the repetition of compulsive behaviors.
These are some of the signs and symptoms to keep your eye on:
- Constantly comparing yourself with other people’s looks
- Frequently spending time in front of a mirror, analyzing your appearance, or avoiding the mirror at all costs.
- Spending an excessive amount of time covering up a perceived defect on your face or body
- Picking at the skin
- Feeling unhappy with an area of your body or face
- Feeling anxious when out in public and maybe even skip social situations altogether
- Fearing appearances of vanity or self-obsession.
- Dieting and exercising excessively
You do not have to suffer through any of these negative emotions alone – with the right support a full recovery is possible. Therapy will help you see that every part of you is worth your love and care.