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BeYOUtiful: Harmonizing Body Image Issues And Self-esteem

How often do we dream of perfection?

How badly do we crave a perfect body?

According to a 2021 journal article based on a study in the UK, the pandemic may be contributing to an increase in body image concerns for people of all genders.

It is widely believed that body image and self-esteem start in the mind, not in the mirror. They can alter the way one understands self-worth and value. It can ruin the relationship with oneself and even potentially lead to various illnesses. 

How to Develop Love for Your Body 

Feeling stuck or hopeless in one’s own body is common, but it doesn’t have to be how the story ends. One can do many things to commence the journey of love, or at least acknowledging and accepting the body.

Here’s your guide to developing a love for your body.

Tame Your Inner Critic 

We look at the existing beauty standards and judge ourselves even for small issues. Our internal dialogue changes to a more negative one and it starts affecting our self-worth. We need to slow down and understand our body and its metabolism. Explain to yourself how your body type is different and aiming towards a fit body is better than a perfect body.

Create Boundaries Around Body Discussions 

We live in a society where slyly commenting on each other’s weight or bodies is common. Be aware of how one talks about the body with family and friends. Ask yourself, do you often seek reassurance or validation from others to feel good about yourself? Are you part of conversations revolving around judging others based on their body weight and how they look?

You can set clear boundaries to protect yourself from getting triggered. This will involve letting them know if one is not comfortable with being commented on looks. It is important to leave such conversations to make it clear that you are not okay with it and maintain your sanity.

Make a List Of What Your Body Can Do 

Sometimes we get so caught up in feeling like our bodies aren't good enough, we completely forget about all the great things our bodies are capable of. When you feel disheartened or are in a state of feeling hatred for your body, it can be helpful to make a list of how your body is succeeding.

This will aid in feeling proud of the body and realise that it's doing the best it can. Maybe you can appreciate your body's immunity to diseases, and maybe it helps you carry out difficult physical activities. These may seem like small things, but it's always better to appreciate yourself and keep adding to the list.

Check your social Engagement 

Social media is a complicated thing. On the one hand, it can help us stay in touch with others and up to date on information. On the other hand, we are constantly exposed to unrealistic body images, body shaming, and just people showing their perfect life.

It is imperative to realise that people only share parts of their lives they want others to know about, leading to an unrealistic representation in other’s minds. One has to be mindful of messages they hear and see in the media. Recognize and challenge those stereotypes.

Stay connected with people who inspire you and not make you feel worse and insecure about yourself. If you constantly compare yourself to them and feel upset, it's time to unfollow those accounts.

There is a need to stop internalising the likes and comments on your social media handles and holding onto them for too long, irrespective of whether they are appreciative or negative comments. Let’s just tell ourselves that there's nothing perfect, and it’s high time that we realise, real perfection lies in the imperfect.

Believe in body neutrality 

Accepting your body and also loving it aren’t mutually exclusive ideas. Body neutrality offers a middle ground between the two. It propagates that one may not always love their body but can still live happily with that fact.

It is a notion of accepting one’s own body and appreciating it for what it can do. This has to be regardless of how it looks. It is just about valuing the facts of what your body does for you over how it looks.

Body neutrality helps one recognize and prioritize how one feels. It encourages us to look beyond physical appearance and break the habit of connecting the way one looks to the sense of self-worth. It aids in appreciating the unique abilities of one’s body and valuing it for what it does, instead of just criticising it or dealing with oneself harshly. 

Seek professional help

Sometimes our body image issues and self-esteem can take such a hit that it might get challenging to manage it ourselves. Are you following those crazy liquid diets or skipping meals? Are you following rigorous workout regimes and not maintaining a healthy balance? It's time to reevaluate. Check in with your nutritionist and know more about your body.

All this compromises our mental well-being as well, and it is important to deal with this stress. You can gain access to the self-help content available to learn strategies to destress. Seeking professional help is also crucial if you feel that you have serious self-esteem issues.