There is a strong relation between body image and self-esteem. Your body image is the way you see yourself in the mirror. It can have a large impact on your self-esteem , as what you see may not always reflect reality.
The media promotes a certain body type as the only ‘good’ one, causing men and women alike to doubt their own attractiveness, and by extension their self-worth. Upgrading your body image and embracing yourself for all your qualities, not just your physical ones, will raise your self-esteem more than any other single method!
We all go through fluctuations in the way we look. Getting older, discontinuing a sport or other activity, having children - these are all things that can cause changes in our bodies. The trick is to accept those changes and not give way to negativity. Alternatively, if we need to change our bodies for health reasons, we need to be sure we don’t let that need drive our entire image of ourselves.
When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see? And are you seeing a true reflection, or a supposition based on your fears? Many anorexics look in the mirror and see a distorted view of their real state. Their body image is flawed, and their self-esteem suffers.
Fortunately, body image is not carved in stone. The connection between your body image and self-esteem can influence your attitude and well-being. You can learn to look at yourself differently, and focus on the positive things you can see, while teaching yourself to be thankful for all your parts, inside and out!
For an extreme example, let’s take a look at Jessica, who was terribly self-conscious of her nose. No-one could give Jessica any type of compliment - if they said her hair looked nice, she would respond,
“It’s the only way I can wear it so my nose doesn’t look funny.” She was so focused on that one aspect of herself that it had become her whole body image. Nothing else even counted!
Finally Jessica realized that she was missing out on feeling good about her shiny hair, her beautiful voice and her generous heart. She made herself a pact to look in the mirror each morning and name five things she loved about her appearance, then five things she loved about her inside person.
She would end each session by being specifically thankful for her nose - even if she wished it looked different, it beat having no nose at all! As Jessica began to focus on her whole person rather than one small part, she adjusted her body image and gained back her self-esteem!
Daily affirmations, surrounding yourself with people who make you feel good about the person you are, treating yourself with respect and kindness - all of these are steps you can take to change your thinking about your body image and self-esteem to create a better atmosphere to yourself. Your mental picture of yourself will improve, and you will feel more self-assured!
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