As the world continues to place overriding importance on physical appearances, the relationship between one’s body image and self-esteem pushes itself closer and closer. The value we place on our bodies highly influences how we see ourselves. The world continues to reinforce that narrative. We are always in a constant state of anxiety, always wondering about how we look and if there is a way we could look better. We catch a comment about our gained weight and curse ourselves for the last heavy meal we ate while wallowing in self-pity. And all this self-deprecating cycle deteriorates our self-esteem. We are constantly letting our bodies define who we are as individuals, and in the race to look better to feel better, we lose sight of our true value.
This article will explore why our body shapes and image can affect our self-esteem and overcome the influences of a negative body image on our self-worth.
Why a Negative Body Image Can Break Your Self-Esteem
A negative body image can stem from various sources, social media being one of them. Social media and advertisements impart unrealistic beauty standards, leading to a negative perception of one’s own body. People continue to compare themselves to others because of the constant marketing of what society views as beautiful. They are never content with how they look. They keep searching for ways to measure up to the unrealistic standards, and the struggle takes away from them the respect they place on themselves.
In their endeavors to fit into societies’ ideals of beauty, people adopt many methods that may inadvertently be harming them. Many people have become dependent on cosmetic surgery to look different. However, they don’t realize how it could be harming their body further. The use of biopolymers injections in cosmetic or surgical implants can cause severe damage to your body. Injecting materials that do not belong inside your body can lead to dangerous consequences, which may put your health in jeopardy. Most people are unaware that devoting time, money, and effort to sculpt oneself into a media-prized figure depletes their physical and mental health.
By the end of the day, being loved and appreciated is all that matters to us. People want to feel seen for who they are. But when your outside appearance becomes equivalent to your inside persona, you adorn the skin in hopes that someone would notice what lies within. Because of societal ideals, our appearance has infiltrated itself so deep into our self-worth system that it is no longer easy to separate the two.
Why a Positive Body Image Can Make Your Self-Esteem
People with a positive body image have better self-esteem than those who don’t. When you are satisfied with your appearance and body, you are more inclined to take care of it. A healthy body image involves accepting your body as it is and knowing that there are no changes you need to make to your natural skin. When you are comfortable with the body you have, you listen to its needs and spend more time nurturing it than punishing it. If your body is healthy, so is your mind. You are less susceptible to feelings of anxiety, irritation, and self-depreciation. Treating your body is only the first step to treating yourself with the respect you deserve.
Having a positive and healthy body image allows you to respect yourself for who you are rather than how you look. Once you realize that you are more than just your weight and appearance, you can appreciate the qualities that define your personality. Freedom from the pressure of beauty standards set by social media means that you can love and care for your body and appreciate your individual qualities and strength as well. People with a positive perception of their body can have a holistic perspective of self. Hence, their sense of self-worth is not limited to their looks alone.
How to Overcome a Negative Body Image
Each body is unique, and the shape of your body does not define your worth. The media and society can advocate specific body and beauty standards. Still, the truth of your body being nothing but a vessel for your thoughts, feelings, and capabilities is indisputable. Therefore, if you struggle with low self-esteem and a negative body image, the following are our tips to help you overcome it.
Stop comparing yourself to others
The main deterrent to feeling good about yourself is that you keep putting yourself up against others. Comparing your body shape with someone else does not make yours any less appealing or any more worthy. Bodies come in every shape and size, and yours is as unique and beautiful as the others. It is normal to admire someone for their beauty: you can appreciate another’s appearance as long as you don’t think less of yours. Suppose you don’t stop comparing yourself to other people. In that case, you will keep thinking of others as better than you and never value your unique qualities.
While it may be difficult to break free from excessive expectations in today’s world, making an effort to do so will only benefit your self-esteem.
Try to break free from your self-deprecating mental habits
Feeling good about your body is not as easy as it may sound. You will need a change of mindset (and consistent efforts to adhere to that mindset) to perceive yourself in a better light.
You may need to disentangle yourself from all the external forces that adversely affect your self-esteem. Unfollow the pages on your Instagram that showcase size zero models. Comparing yourself to the posts you see on your social media can toll your mental health. Instead, follow the pages and adverts that promote body positivity. Your body is a work of art. You will never be able to believe that if you continue to put yourself up against different canvases.
Shedding pessimistic feelings about yourself can be difficult, but it is not impossible. With patience and discipline, you can alter your view about your body and work on improving your self-esteem.
Focus on the good
It is easy to find stuff to not like about yourself. Most people can list down the various aspects of themselves that they would like to change. Why is that so? Answer: it is easier to focus on the bad than the good. Because we spend most of our time obsessing over all the ways we aren’t enough, we forget to appreciate ourselves for the ways that we are.
To gain your respect, you must recognize your good qualities first. Most of the time, we fail to realize how we conquer the little battles in our life and forget to appreciate our mind and body for all the work it does for us. Hence, whenever you feel low about yourself or your appearance, think about the one moment that you were proud of yourself. Think about the one quality of yours that you value. Focusing on the best parts of yourself can do wonders for your self-esteem.
Spend time with people who accept and value you
One of the underlying reasons behind negative body image is the fear of being accepted. It can be hard to believe people will genuinely like you with the way you look because the generally accepted bodies are vastly different from yours. However, love and friendships are not dependent on one’s outward appearance. People love you for who you are as a person rather than how you look outside. Therefore, be around people who support you and make you feel good about yourself instead of bringing you down or adding to your insecurities.
Try to steer clear from people who pass unflattering remarks about your body in the guise of humor or opinion. Many people judge others based on their appearance. You do not need that sort of negativity and toxicity in your life. Having good-natured people around you can build up your confidence in your body and general. Therefore, surround yourself with people who care for you and your well-being and accept you regardless of your physical differences.
Your body shape should have nothing to do with your self-esteem, but in the looks-driven world we live in, it does. A negative body image can have consequences on your physical and mental health. You will need to break free from the negative perceptions about yourself to thrive better and focus on the things that matter. Try giving your body the love and care it deserves. Everyone is different, and genetics, diseases, lifestyle, and age can all influence the shape and size of one’s body. Rather than worrying about the so-called “perfect body” that the media and society promote, celebrate yours for all it allows you to do. Your body does its best to help you every day. Its size or shape does not make it less worthy of appreciation.
The threads of self-esteem and body image may be tangled. Still, you only need to realize your inner qualities and capabilities to know your true worth. Your body is not a tool determining your value as a person; your self-esteem should always come from within.