Body confidence and its barriers
Body confidence is a mental construct that dictates what we wear, where we can go and what we do once we get there.
Of course there are financial, cultural, political and moral factors that impact the validity of that opening statement but body confidence cannot be ignored.
Body image, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is “the subjective picture or mental image of one’s own body”. Simply put, body image is a combination of how we think we look, how we judge our body and our actions towards our body.
Let’s dive deeper into body- image components and real comments made by fellow citizens of this beautiful slice of paradise.
Body dissatisfaction is self-explanatory and a completely normal feeling or thought. If you happen to be harboring self-loathing thoughts about your character as a result of your body dissatisfaction you should stop it now.
How, you might ask? Reach out to a positive friend or family member or an amazing psychologist to discuss this issue.
Overvaluation of weight/shape
Is your self-worth affected by your ability to control your weight or shape? “I am just fat and I will always be fat.”
This is a comment that was made nonchalantly and completely unprovoked. Can this possibly be a maker of self-worth issues?
What can be done for this individual? you might ask. Confirm with your general practitioner that you are indeed healthy. Educate yourself on the factors that led to your current body composition and identify which factors you can alter in the short and long term.
Body image avoidance
“When I step on the scale and I see no change, I feel depressed.”
Body image avoidance is the elephant in the room of body confidence. Body image avoidance includes wearing clothing to mask your shape, a refusal to be weighed; to avoid photos and, in extreme cases, mirrors.
There is a fine line between cutting out negativity from your life and avoiding accountability, transparency, change and ultimately, growth. If you see this behavior in yourself you can make small consistent changes to combat each issue. Remember that repeated exposure to certain truths often normalises the contentious topic, which in turn placates anxieties and fears.
There are additional factors that are under the body image umbrella, such as body preoccupation, excessive body checking, body dysmorphia and muscle dysmorphia — each of which is worthy of their own article.
We all have or will wrestle with one or more of these issues. The degree to which each body image factor affects an individual differs drastically depending on your age, sex and preferences.
That being said, it is very important that we understand the anatomy of body image as we strive to achieve our own personal version of a healthy body and a confident vision of ourselves. It is very important to be honest with yourself, accepting yourself while still making improvements — yet never hating yourself.