OWN YOUR OWN BODY - The (Im)perfect Guide To Positive Body Image
How many times do you look at yourself in the mirror and go – Yes, I’m positive, I’m beautiful both inside and out, and there’s no one who can tell me otherwise! Think?
Most of us have thought “Ah, those dark circles, those pimples, and scars, those frown lines. Why do I not have the perfect body?!” The implications of a negative body image are hazardous, more so in teens.
It is said that you begin to create a personality and conjure an identity for yourself right from the age of three. At that age, you are more inclined to mimic what you see from those around you. Setting unrealistic standards and unattainable body goals is not only unhealthy but also deleterious towards the overall development in the long term.
So what exactly is BODY IMAGE?
Your body image is how you perceive your body. How you think and feel about your body. How you OWN it. How you flaunt your perfections and flaws.
There is no ideal or ‘perfect’ body image, it all lies in how you accept who you are and live with it. You can either have a positive body image or a negative (read unhealthy) one.
Are you happy and comfortable with the way you look? Are you satisfied with what you see in the mirror every day? If yes, congratulations! You’re a superstar with a healthy body image. That’s the way it should be!
But what if you are mortified with your appearance, always picturing a perfect being but seeing an imperfect one? Do you want to change the way you look? Maybe lose a few pounds or gain some, or turn a shade lighter and a zillion other “beauty standards”? Welcome to the group! You join a lot of us here at the unhealthy body image club.
Here are some factors that influence your body image:
Your family, friends and colleagues: It can be difficult to have a healthy body image if you do not have the support of those people with whom you spend most of your time. If they do not emphasize on you having the perfect body, they look at you positively and don’t pass comments, however subtle, about your body, it’s going to help to have a positive body image.
Puberty: Ah, those teenage years! You get taller, gain weight, discover another phase of growing up. It’s a whole new you and a lot to take in at that time.
Social media: The big bad wolf. Social media has taken over our lives. An unimaginable growth, the internet is brimming with innumerable content, freely available. You’re glued to your mobile or computer screens most of the day. Interacting with influencers, perfect pictures of a person in a glossy magazine can all leave an imprint that can actually mould your body image.
How does having a negative body image affect you?
You are obsessed with the way you look, constantly seeking validation from others and this makes you lose your confidence and self-esteem.
You are always on a “diet”- which paves the way to an eating disorder
You’re not satisfied with yourself and slowly you start withdrawing from the outside world – may lead to psychosocial problems and depression, anxiety and stress.
You own it- you flaunt it! (The (im)perfect guide)
It’s quite the task trying to steer clear from all the images and advertisements that portray the ideal body, but there’s a lot that can be done in garnering a positive body image.
Your body is yours to show off! Accept it the way it is and then work towards maintaining a healthy balance between your body and mind. Do not be fazed by the ridiculous standards (who sets them anyway?). Do what makes you feel comfortable and not give in to pressure. Cultivate a habit of thinking and speaking positively about your body. There’s absolutely no room for body shaming, not from you, not from others.
Instead of critiquing every part of your body, try praising it. Appreciate the whole essence of being you, beautiful both inside and out. Focus on the good things and let that shine through. Take those funny, crazy photographs, attend the grand celebrations and face everyone with confidence. You don’t need that cosmetic surgery!
Enjoy a healthy, well-rounded meal instead of going on those crash diets. Exercise to be strong and not for the perfect shape you have in mind. Don’t neglect your health in the pursuit of a perfect body.
UNWIND AND UNPLUG
From all the unhealthy comparisons of the quintessential beauty. Take some time off from social media to reflect on yourself. Get your self-esteem and self-confidence up by relaxing and having that quiet time.
Have meaningful conversations with your family and friends about a positive body image. Focus on valuing people as they are. You can also simply listen and help others who are having insecurities and reassure them.
We are all familiar with the emotions we pass through when we try so hard to become someone else and the events that follow. So why go into that trouble?
Be comfortable in your own skin, strive to have a healthy body and a healthy mind.
“Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder- Yours!”
OWN your body because you are FLAWSOME!
This guest post was written by Nandita Ranjit of the DosaDocDiary.