When it comes to ourselves, we’re often our worst critics. Noticing this “flaw” or that “imperfection,” we can easily convince ourselves that we’re just not up to par.
With these types of thoughts whirling around in our minds, body image often takes a nosedive. Add the many societal pressures and gender stereotypes into the scenario, and what may result is a negative view of a perfectly wonderful body.
On the one hand, it only makes sense for the inner and outer battery against our body image to impact us intensely. And on the other hand, it is possible to have a healthy body image.
What Is a Healthy Body Image?
To thrive in your own skin, it’s vital to understand what a healthy body image is. For starters, it really has little to do with how you measure up to the aforementioned societal standards.
Rather, a healthy body image is about how you perceive your own body—how you choose to feel about yourself.
It can be being satisfied with your looks while still working toward physical improvement goals. Or, think of it as walking into a room full of people and not having to compare yourself to others.
For some, having a healthy body image translates to feeling comfortable in intimate situations. And it can also mean not hating what you see in the mirror every day.
When you can create a healthy body image, you tend to enjoy dressing and styling your figure. You may also find it easy to focus on a nutritious diet, but you’re still comfortable allowing yourself a treat.
How to Develop a Healthy Body Image
As you may have imagined, developing a healthy body image is usually the hardest part of this entire concept. Yet, you can accomplish this in a few different ways.
Be Grateful for What Your Body Can Do
To truly appreciate your body, it’s important knowing exactly how amazing it is. No matter your gender, take stock in the things your body can do.
Some examples include hugging your loved ones, running a 5K, playing the piano, making a delicious meal, etc. These might seem like small or insignificant things, but consider that some people simply can’t do them.
Keep a Running List of Your “Likes”
In addition to being mindful about all the things your body can do, start a list of what you like about your body. Naturally, the things you can do and the things that you like might very well overlap.
Of course, your list of likes might also include parts of your body that you find especially attractive or even a talent that you’re proud of.
It’s also helpful to keep a running list of these likes. Refer back to it when you’re feeling a touch of negativity creep in.
Silence Negative Influences
With the media screaming at you how to be “perfect,” it’s not a bad idea to simply unplug yourself from the negativity. Take a break from social media, or resist buying that magazine.
Furthermore, surround yourself with positive people. Remove toxic people from your life, and establish healthy personal boundaries by teaching others how you want them to treat you.
Quiet the outside voices telling you what you need to change about yourself.
Be Kind to Your Body
You have this one body, so be kind to it. Sure, it might not be cast from the mold of your desires, but it’s yours, nonetheless.
Be sure to practice good self-care. Nurture your body and give it what it needs to feel healthy and strong. Taking care of your physical body plays such a significant role in your overall mental health—promoting a healthy body image.
Take the first step…
If you’re ready to address a challenge dealing with body issues that may be impacting your life, I would like to help. Please contact me via phone or email so we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda K. Laffey, MFT