We are bombarded with images of what beauty should look like everywhere. From the signs in department stores, to the shows we watch, to the tiktoks and Instagram posts that fill our phones. It feels like society upholds the worth of a woman by the way she looks and the figure of her body.
However, for women, it is time that we take this power back into our own hands.
Your body image is how you mentally perceive yourself. Like other types of cognitive processes, our body image can be distorted and may not reflect reality.
Media as well as the way people around you talk about beauty, bodies, and health influences your body image. If the people in your life are constantly critical of their own or others’ weight and body size, you will consume some of that negativity onto yourself.
Body Image and Self-Esteem
Your body image also affects your self esteem and how you see yourself. If you have negative body image, you may feel that your unhappiness is due to your weight, or that if you looked different, you would be more successful. It may even feel like you are different, people may love you more.
What do I do?
Know You are Not Alone
First, and most importantly, if you are struggling with body image, know that you are absolutely not alone. Many women and young girls struggle with body image issues, regardless of weight, size, or skin color. In fact, it is one of the prominent mental health issues for women in our time.
There are many support groups that help with body image. Also, if you feel like your body image severely interferes with your health, self-esteem, self-worth, and relationships, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional.
Limit your screen time
While we’re sitting at home, scrolling through our phones, it is more likely than even to fall into the comparison trap.
We sometimes forget that Instagram photos are usually heavily edited and people often wear make-up or pose or angle the camera in ways that accentuate their figures. Though it is okay to admire pictures, remember the people in the photos are normal people too. They look normal without makeup and in different clothes.
Positive Self Talk
Sometimes we adopt our negative body image by what we hear around us. But as we are trying to change our perception of ourselves, it is important to change the way we talk about ourselves.
Consciously create a more image-positive environment. Whether it is reminding yourself you are beautiful in your own skin, or remembering people that you admire as role models that maybe don’t fit society’s standard of beauty. Tell your friends and family you’re making this change and don’t allow negative comments about body image around you to go uncorrected.
Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend in need. Imagine if your friend was hating on themselves and degrading themselves. If this is someone you love, you’d definitely comfort and support them. You deserve to treat yourself the same way!
Get comfortable with looking in the mirror. Notice physical qualities about yourself that you like. Practice gratitude for all the things that your body parts do for you. You can even say out loud that you are grateful for your legs or for your stomach.
This exercise can start a positive relationship between you and your body.
Focus on Non-Material compliments
Focus on Non-physical compliments about yourself. Take note of the way you laugh, or perhaps how caring and generous you are. These are all very important aspects of your worth!
Unlike our physical bodies, these aspects of yourself never age and change as time goes on.
Women Support Women
Remember one of the ways to overcome societal views is to support each other. Don’t allow fat-shaming and degrading comments about other women. This is one way to change the social dialogue and show that women are worth more than our appearances.