Knowing and believing that you are enough, beautiful, healthy, smart, capable etc. It is not as easy as it may sound. Especially when you are convinced otherwise by your surroundings or other external forces.
I found myself asking the question: What is a perfect body image? And if there is such a definition of “perfect” body image. Who gets to decide that notion? Of course, the answers from these questions are debatable.
When I asked a handful of my friends, I was fascinated by the response from two people. A female and male – 23 and 25 years, respectively. The former said, “definitely not slim because when I was slim, most people would always ask me why I am so skinny. It made me uncomfortable because it was like confirmation of my insecurities which made things worse. At first, I hated my body, but eventually, I started praying to love my body, and my confidence increased slowly.”.
The latter said, “a perfect body image is the one that boosts self-confidence and esteem. And therefore, wellbeing as a whole.”.
Studies emphasize that insecurities associated with body image are more common in young women than in men. Although men also have pressure in building muscles and looking a certain way (or pressured to date a woman built in a particular image). Women still fall under the highest category of body image dissatisfaction.
If you ask most women about body image. The responses are more likely to be about the description of their external appearance. Or the comparison of themselves to others. Which is right but incomplete.
The concept of body image is multifaceted. It refers to the way you see yourself as an individual. The perception, beliefs, and emotions involved when you look at your body. Some people may look at themselves and feel hate towards their reflection. Some may feel like they are overweight, although it may not be the case.
Most of these issues arise as a result of body image dissatisfaction whereby cultural, social norms and influence from the media are the most significant contributors.
The ideology that thinner means beautiful has pushed many young women into the edge of depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa. The problem of negative body image is not only a recent issue. However, with social media taking over the world, it has amplified the effect to levels that to reverse or counterfeit will require self-introspection.
It is important to know that you are born unique and with a purpose. That you have the power to choose what to focus on. What to believe and how to react to negative aspects such as criticism. Our subconscious mind is capable of storing images, reactions, and messages that we choose to focus mostly on, and ultimately, they manifest into your reality.
If you are in a process to change for someone and not for your growth, you may want to step back and do some self-introspection. Beauty is confidence, and it is from within. It comes in different forms, shapes, shades etc. Embrace it.