For many women, body image can be a life-long struggle that can start as early as childhood and affect self-esteem for a lifetime. While the media is beginning to embrace different body types, the image of the perfect body as it’s reflected in the images we see constantly is still largely unattainable for most. What can we do to start looking at ourselves in a more positive light?
The Perfect Body
When you think of the ideal body, what does it look like? Is it a model-thin image of perfection rarely seen in nature? Broadening your definition of beauty and admiring other people’s unique features can help improve your own body image and self-esteem. Be it curvy or athletic, tall or short, bottom or top heavy, soft and round or lean and trim, all body types can be beautiful. If your personal definition of beauty is a narrow one, you will spend a lifetime trying to live up to it no matter how close or far away you are.
Listen to your thoughts and become conscious of how harsh or kind you are to other women in your assessment of their looks. When you look at other women, find things to admire instead of criticizing. Some women look for negatives in others to make themselves feel better, but this can be a vicious cycle. Ultimately, the way you look at others will mirror the way you look at yourself. If you constantly look for “what’s wrong with this picture”, you are training your brain to practice a negative body-image state of mind. This can affect your self-esteem and how you look at and feel about yourself.
Healthy is Beautiful
Looking better does not necessarily mean feeling better – many women who carry some extra pounds might be healthier and in better physical condition than someone who is thin or appears to be in good shape. Exercising to improve your health, feeling good and physically strong can make anyone feel better about themselves. If you are unhappy with your physical appearance, focus on things that you can improve or change and let the rest go. No one is perfect – learning to accept and delight in unique imperfections can really change your outlook and lead to a happier life!