3 Ways to improve your body image
Is your Body Image letting you down?
Our body image is of course shaped by the way we perceive ourselves, and think about ourselves. Our body image is very subjective, and we are biologically wired to focus on the negative. Additionally, media still does not depict the beautiful diversity of our bodies, and we may be hankering after an unattainable ideal body, and make ourselves unhappy in the process. Your partner, family and friends may continually praise your looks, but do you really believe them?
Whole industries profit from body image issues
Gym programs, Diet products, cosmetic surgery for all parts of our outer body, cosmetics, and fashion put our poor body image to good use, and reap the monetary benefits. I count myself lucky that I grew up and was socialised in a different country, and a time when body image was not nearly as important as it seems today, with media images so prevalent. In Germany in the seventies, I was more of a tomboy, and completely missed out on all the Walt Disney princess stuff that I found much more prevalent England. Sometimes, I regret that, however there are good reasons to protect your little girls from this early conditioning.
Body Image, and comparing ourselves
Even though I have a fairly standard figure, I have of course been body shamed. Hasn’t every woman? Moving to Portugal in the nineties, with full body hair on display, made me adapt my grooming habits a little. Who likes to be stared at, for the wrong reasons? My German boyfriend disagreed. He thought I should stand by my nature and heritage, and he actually PREFERRED full body hair. You will always find somebody who prefers that you are you, in your natural state. Women’s bodies are so often the target for criticism, but then, there is our own inner critic, too, which can be the worst one.
How to deal with our inner critic regarding your body image
Don’t try to shut your inner critic up, which often results in a perpetual struggle. Be aware that biologically, we are wired to notice and remember negativity stronger than positive experiences. Knowing about this bias can help us putting our inner critic into perspective. Thank him/her for the critical thought, and then consciously move on to self appreciation.
Words that Hurt
Ten looks and words of appreciation can easily get obliterated by just one idiot making an impolite remark. If uttered by men, please be aware that they may just be using the popular pick-up technique of ‘negging’, saying something demeaning to throw us off balance, and ‘get through’ to us. It’s a power game. More often, the offender may have a very strong inner critic themselves, and criticising others makes them feel better about themselves. Don’t let your body image be affected by a this. Look the offender in the eye (only if you must), breathe, and wish them enlightenment in your mind. Then, move on to friends who are respectful and appreciative of you.
Body image, and the Bathroom Mirror
When applying face cream or your make-up, or removing it, make it a little feast of self appreciation. Feel your skin. Give yourself a caress. Never forget to close with a look of appreciation, being it with make-up on, or simply admiring your freshly cleansed bare face. You are worth it! Enjoy.
More on how we can use pleasure to enhance our body image in the next post/video.