Accept Yourself: Dealing with Body Image
People are afraid of their bodies. They avoid mirrors, scales and eye contact with strangers; they are not confident when they walk down the street. Somewhere along the way, they realized that they are not pretty enough, or tall enough, or fit enough – and it is taking over their lives. It has become “cool” to bring yourself down, to shed light on the things you hate about yourself and toil tirelessly in order to get rid of them. This is a destructive habit that you need to break right away.
The media is one of the biggest culprits of this craze; by presenting us with paper-thin female supermodels and impossibly muscular male icons, these unrealistic ideals become something we feel obliged to live up to. That’s not to say there is anything wrong with the bodies of the people in the media. Every person is special in their own way. The thing is, people come in all shapes and sizes and by asking everyone to conform to a cookie-cutter ideal, the beauty industry is shattering the self-esteem of its subscribers all around the world.
There is absolutely no fault in looking how you look, nor should you ever feel that way. So what if you hate your freckles or you think your feet are too big? What you pick out as ugly may be someone else’s cup of tea. Diversity is beautiful and it is often our differences that make us stand out from the crowd. We only want what we don’t have, but our bodies are our selves and we’re stuck with them whether we like them or not. Everyone has assets and everyone has flaws – hold your head high and show off yours with pride.
Body image isn’t only about image, either. Consider your well-being and how comfortable you feel in your own skin. It is important to take care of yourself: while overeating should be avoided and exercise is important, excessive physical activity and calorie counting to the point of obsession is definitely not good for you. Find a balance because, ultimately, your happiness is the most important factor.
Look at your body in a positive light. Focus on what you like and don’t look to others for visual cues. Your appearance is your identity and you are free to do with it what you like. Why bother emulating someone else when you are unique? You can definitely express yourself using your appearance. If you decide to dye your hair, get a tattoo or start an exercise program, that’s great — but make sure you’re making these decisions for yourself, not just following the leader. If you want to make changes, these changes are up to you and you alone – don’t let others dictate what you should look like or how you should feel about yourself. After all, it is your body.
Accept yourself for who you are. Respect yourself and expect to be treated accordingly.