How we perceive our bodies, or body image, is shaped by our mental representation of how we view ourselves in the mirror or pictures. Our perception may not align with how others see us, and these negative thoughts are often influenced by the messages we internalize from society and social media. Our thoughts and feelings towards our bodies can vary from positive to negative, and they may change throughout our lives. Both men and women may experience body image concerns sometime in their lives.
The content we see on social media showcases the seemingly flawless lives of various people we wish to mimic. We must be aware of the impact these images can have on our self-perception, as it's only natural for us to compare ourselves to what we regularly see. When we're bombarded with unattainable ideals, primarily centering on how perfect our bodies should look, it's easy to associate an ideal body with our self-worth mistakenly.
Some signs of unhealthy body image patterns:
With these factors in mind, what are ways an individual can improve their body image and work through their insecurities?
Take a moment to acknowledge the countless ways your body supports you every day and how you feel content in the ways your body is your temple. Instead of solely focusing on the appearance of specific parts, express gratitude for their functionality and how they work for you. Redirecting your thoughts in this manner can help you overcome your fixation on perceived flaws as you become more grateful for them to work and function properly.
Self-neutrality encourages you to view yourself objectively. You are actively shutting out the inner critic that lives in your brain. Explore the incredible journey of discovering and embracing the intricate and awe-inspiring capabilities of your body. You have no subjective opinion of how it looks aesthetically but objectively see yourself as a healthy, functional human being.
You don't have to look perfect to have self-respect and take care of yourself accordingly. A great way to boost your confidence is by looking inward and realizing that you will never look like anyone else but yourself. Develop self-care or wellness practices to help affirm your uniqueness and individuality.
How much do you really trust yourself? Building confidence requires building a solid foundation of self-trust, which means being there for yourself and following through on the promises you make to yourself, even on days when you’re feeling the most down. By changing our actions daily, we can change how we think and work on breaking free from negative beliefs that contribute to unhealthy behaviors regarding our bodies.
Realize that we are our own individuals and that setting measurable goals is critical. If you know you only can exercise once or twice a week, then that's more than acceptable. If you can’t make it to the gym but can complete a quick 20-30-minute workout from home, then do so. Getting your body to how you want it to be isn’t a race, and only competing with yourself will make you feel like your own cheerleader.