Body image is extremely important as it can affect women of all ages.
What is body image?
- How you see yourself when you look in the mirror
- The picture you have of yourself in your mind
- What you believe about your own appearance
It is reported that in North America today, almost 90% of women are unhappy with the way they look.
Those numbers are staggering and because I used to be a girl that disliked my body, I know how painful that is.
Your body has been there for you, serving you, taken you where you needed to go, pumping our blood, breathing the air….so remember to be grateful for it and take good care of it.
“If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?”
Every woman has done it. Uttered those words that undermine the image we have of ourselves and our bodies. I’m too fat. I hate the way I look. If only I my breasts were larger, or I were taller, shorter, had longer legs, had curly hair, straight hair, a smaller nose, bigger muscles …and the list goes on and on. Do any of these statements sound familiar? If so, you are not alone.
In our society, thin figures, youth, and fitness are considered to be more valuable. But throughout history, most societies valued fat bodies and fat diets. The fat people were rich, the thin were poor. Now in our Western society it is the other way around.
*Today, in 2009, if you were to travel to the Eastern parts of the world, Asia, you would quickly learn that the people in their culture that are thin and tanned are the people that are considered poor and unhealthy.
The media plays a role in this perception as women are being showcased in unrealistic ways.
Implying that confidence, success, acceptance and happiness comes with being thin, beautiful and Caucasian. These negative messages say that women are not desirable, healthy, normal or confident. As a result, most women believe that the super skinny and often extremely unhealthy bodies of models, actresses and celebrities are realistic, no matter how unrealistic and unhealthy they might be.
In addition to the media, peer pressure, lack of education, family history, stage of life, and cultural and social status also affect our body image.
All of these influences and pressures cause most women to be unhappy with their natural body weight, size and shape. This leads to:
- low confidence
- low self-esteem
- poor self-image
- severe eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia, compulsive eating)
- unnecessary dieting
- use of drugs to lose weight
- unnecessary surgery
Our society has now become obsessed with an addiction to perfection.
It’s all about instant gratification and being as perfect as possible. It is important to realize that it is not possible to be perfect and to live up to unrealistic expectations.
One of the first components of confidence is self-acceptance. In order to accept yourself, you must be able to recognize that you are a unique individual and accept the level and pace of your growth. It is also really important to try to avoid being self-critical. When you are hard on yourself and put yourself down, you are destroying your confidence.
The need to be accepted by and to please other people is very common. Cosmetic surgery is now more mainstream and popular than ever before. That is why we are seeing these astronomical reports for plastic surgery from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
More than 10.2 million surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic procedures were performed in the U. S. in 2008. That’s a 162% jump from the data first collected by the ASAPS in 1997.
The study indicates the most performed surgical enhancement procedure was breast augmentation. A shocking number with more than 355,671 reported procedures.
2nd most popular is liposuction
3rd is eyelid surgery.
With non-surgical procedures, BOTOX is most popular with 2,464,123 procedures.
2nd most popular is laser hair removal with 1,280,964 procedures.
92% of cosmetic procedures were undergone by women.
The amazing thing to remember is that these numbers are JUST in the USA and only in 2008.
It is extremely hard in our society to have a healthy, positive body-image. But the truth is that it doesn’t matter how we actually look, it matters how we FEEL about how we look. Other people might say that we don’t look a certain way or that we should look more like what society dictates as being pretty, but what they say or think about ourselves does NOT matter unless you think that they are right. And if you think they are right, you need to ask yourself why you think they are right and why you believe that you are wrong. This is where having a strong self-concept and having self-respect is crucial.
As Oprah said, your body issues are actually love issues. It’s important to figure out where in your life you are lacking the love you need. Let that love and respect for yourself be your motivation to love and embrace the body you’ve been given. When you feel good about your body, you will feel good about yourself!
If you struggle with negative body image and you need support, I CAN HELP YOU! You deserve to feel good about yourself and your body!
BODY CONFIDENCE TIPS:
#1- Learn to accept the way you look. You will feel better about your body, your confidence will increase and you will begin to carry yourself with confidence. How you carry yourself is ultimately more important than how you look.
#2- Avoid comparing yourself to other women. When we do so, we see all their positives attributes. When we look at ourselves, we see how imperfect we are. It doesn’t make you feel better. Instead use that energy and focus on accepting yourself.
#3- Learn how to feel pretty and experiment with make-up and cute outfits that compliment your body shape.
#4- Recognize that advertisements are sales pitches. Advertisers have women believing that there’s something wrong with normal bodies when the truth is that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes.
#5- Discover other ways to feel good about yourself besides physical appearance. Explore your talents, take a class, or join a social group and meet some new people.
#6- Focus on your health instead of appearance. Be sure that you are eating well, getting exercise, and taking time to relax.
By Suzanne Fetting
If you would like to discover your inner beauty and become the confident you, contact me today!