What is body image?
Body image is how you feel and think about your body. It is also how you think other people see you. In teenagers and young adults, body image can be closely linked to self-esteem. Who we are and how we see ourselves is influenced by many different sources such as family, friends, culture, media, magazines and the television.
Negative body image
Negative body image is when you do not like the way you look. Most people feel like they don’t measure up – especially when they measure themselves against the standards of beauty commonly seen if the media. You start to feel uncomfortable and self-conscious about your body and may people cannot even see for themselves who they truly are.
Having a positive body image is how you feel about the way you look. Accepting yourself for who you truly are. Many people with a positive image know that their bodies are not perfect but they accept, appreciate and even love the differences.
Positive or negative what do you have?
Realising if you have a positive or negative body image will help you to understand who you are and help you become a stronger person. Ask yourself these questions:
- How do you feel when you look in the mirror?
- How do you feel when you see pictures of attractive people in magazines, on TV, or online?
- What do you think other people think about how you look?
- Do you ever avoid activities like exercising or having sex because you are uncomfortable showing your body?
- Do you often feel critical about the way you look?
- How do you usually reply when people compliment how you look?
- Can you list your three favorite things about your body?
- Do you often feel jealous of other people for the way they look?
It’s normal for everyone to think or have negative feelings about themselves some of the time, but when those feelings are negative all the time it is a sign for you to ask for help.
How to improve your body image?
There are many ways of improving your body image without changing your body. Below are some tips to help create a healthy body image.
- Accept and value your genes – everyone may inherit traits from family members. Love your traits like you love your family.
- Keep a list of your positive qualities that have nothing to do with your appearance.
- Surround yourself with people who are supportive and who make you feel good about yourself
- Treat your body with respect and kindness
- Remember everyone is beautiful and you should love yourself no matter what. You have the power to create a better and stronger you.
JESSICA CUTHBERTSON – CYP VOLUNTEER