Negative Body Image
Have you ever caught yourself excessively focusing on the way your body looks? Have there been times when you wore something baggier only because you felt negatively about your body shape or size? Do you think that you would be happier or live a better life if you were ‘thin’?
These are signs that you may have a negative body image; your perception and/or feelings regarding your body and body parts. A negative body image can be caused by many different factors, more prominently, your belief of what bodies should look like and how your body is perceived by others. How your society views size and shape, skin color, modesty, clothing, illnesses, age etc, can all heavily affect the image you have of yourself. For example, if those in your society look down upon dark skin, you may grow up believing that lighter skin is more beautiful, even though that is not the case.
Adding onto this, the people you surround yourself with such as family, friends or peers, and the way they view or discuss body image can also influence how you feel about yourself. For example, if you are surrounded by family that remains positive about body image and recognizes the unrealistic ideals and expectations surrounding it, it may be easier for you to accept yourself and your body the way that it is.
This just shows why body image can be problematic for so many people, considering the ever-changing standards of beauty. It is important to remember that all body shapes and sizes are beautiful the way that they are and socially constructed body ideals are unrealistic and unhealthy. One should never assume another’s health through their body. And most importantly, try talking to someone if you feel you have a negative body image and try working towards being more confident in your own, unique skin!