Alongside self-confidence, body image concerns leave behind disastrous remnants.
You likely suffered from such worries while young. Perhaps you were bullied in school. Maybe your parents or another influential loved one antagonized these feelings. It’s possible a family member did this by making snarky, offhand comments about your appearance.
“Oh, you’re going to wear that shirt? Honey, you should really stick to the blouse I picked out for you. You’ll squeeze right out of that other one!”
Perhaps your concerns were — and still are — internal.
If this is the case, your suffering is based on public influence. Your ability to maintain composure is severely aligned with your surroundings. Magazines, news outlets, television shows, peer pressure — body depictions illustrated through such associations are intense.
This notion of an ideal body type has led to crippling self-confidence.
People follow unhealthy, fad diets to fit in with this unfortunate mandate. Those with little meat on their bones are viewed with distaste. Folks with naturally thin bodies are decreed unhealthy.
Body Image — Why Is One Type Ideal?
Where exactly did this notion originate? Why does society decree a specific body type ideal?
The notion of body image has changed drastically. As civilization advanced, judgment ensued. From tight corsets to skirts — as popular clothing changed, the idea of how a body should look became far too important. Corsets allowed the appearance of a full, yet small figure. Skirt length altered as public opinion changed.
Around the mid-1900s, the slim ideology began to peak.
At first, the notion of being exceedingly thin wasn’t terribly vital. Take the famous Marilyn Monroe as a clear example. Her curvy, well-rounded figure was surely worth the attention it gained. Though not prominently thin, Monroe’s figure was, during her lifetime, considered ideal.
During the latter part of Monroe’s life, the slim mantra gained strength. Still, the public’s favor of curvy, slim-like figures persisted for decades.
Once the 1980s hit, diet and exercise became crucial components of daily life. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle became increasingly important. Though commendable, this new routine began the search for the new ideal figure. Slim, toned, and highly athletic — society craved this result.
By the early 2000s, thin was in.
Unfortunately, this push to be thin has resulted in increased steroid usage, bodily harm, and a steady decrease of self-confidence.
Fitting In Isn’t Just For Kids
Sure, you may have been a confident kid. But you still likely harbored some body image concerns. If you can’t recall such issues, it’s probable your mind is unwilling to realize the full impact of those problems.
As you age, the push to fit in with some previously moral standard is less easy to avoid.
The rope around your wrist to follow the crowd gets even tighter. Dressing professionally to fit in at the office — or to not get fired due to dress code violations — becomes the norm.
You take in and emulate the appearance of others not because you want to, but because you are programmed to.
That desire to imitate the looks of others, from celebrities to peers, continues to surge within you. Though you are no longer a preteen, you are still prone to body image concerns.
Being an adult doesn’t mean your desire to fit in suddenly decreases.
Society is a constant influence. The collective’s stance on the appropriate body type influences everyone. If your body doesn’t match this ideal figure, you will feel degraded. This feeling of contempt towards your body is, sadly, normal.
Modern stories of ill feelings towards one’s body type are common.
Those who are large wish to be thin. Those who are thin wish to be larger. The story of a child breaking his glasses to fit in because, “No one else wears them!” is too universal to be ignored.
While such a negative outlook on body image exists, it doesn’t have to play such a pivotal role in your life.
It may be difficult to detract such thoughts from your mindset. But rest assured, there are other, much more important things worth focusing on.
Heal your body dilemma. Consider the following steps as part of this process.
Think about the root of the issue.
Like a mental disease, the first step is admitting you have a problem.
Did these feelings begin from a persistent bully? Were they caused merely from the damaging, societal viewpoint inflicted on everyone?
Realizing the origin of these harmful issues will help you come to terms with the damage they have caused. You will be one step closer to healing yourself of such toxic thoughts.
Meditate on your thoughts.
You don’t have to do yoga at the beach to achieve this. Although, if that works for you, go for it!
To meditate on your body image concerns, you must know of their origin. Once you’ve got that down, you can then begin to heal yourself.
Go for a run. Write your frustrations down in a journal. Lay on a blanket outside, play some chill tunes, and really think through your past experiences.
This activity should be soothing. Meditating on your concerns in a safe environment will help you better understand them. Jumping into a solution that worked for another won’t work. You must first realize how said concerns are influencing your daily life. Are they disrupting your personal life? Can you maintain professionalism while working? How emotionally distressed are you?
Conclude just how deeply these issues are harming you. Afterwards, the remainder of the healing process will be much easier to withstand.
No, you needn’t emulate the celebrity who lost 10 pounds with a new, fad diet.
Is your body image issue weight related? If so, help yourself out in a healthy way. Nurture yourself — incorporate a healthy diet into your lifestyle. Take up a new activity, one you truly enjoy. You won’t help yourself by practicing strenuous, harmful fitness activities.
Do you need to copy the extensive makeup application sponsored by an actress to cover up your flaws? Not by a long shot. Wear makeup if you like, but don’t do so to cover up the beauty underneath. Don’t apply it for anyone but yourself.
After all, our flaws make us unique. Don’t hide them because you have too many freckles.
Catch yourself when you begin to criticize your image. Those feelings of doubt and self-loathing aren’t worth your contemplation.
Surround yourself with people who encourage self-love.
There is a stark difference between a mere friend, and a healthy companion.
A person who practices self-love exudes a positive attitude. This person doesn’t allow hateful comments the opportunity to stick.
Rather than discussing things like weight loss, regrets, and lost opportunities, such a person will encourage motivational conversation topics. Clearly, wrongful actions in one’s past must eventually be discussed. But to retain a good self-image, you can’t hold such ideas above positive reinforcement.
So befriend those who boast of encouragement, and let loose those who bring you down.
If that means you end up with merely a few, close friends — so be it. Eliminate that unnecessary stress from your life. You will be much better off.
Let’s work together to fix this mantra.
Why aim to imitate another when being you is so rewarding?
Spread the love. Help those suffering from body image constraints see the light. Don’t sit idly by while others rip apart their body image.
A little love can do wonders for a battered self-image. ‘