When a woman feels good about her body – the way it looks and the way it functions – she generally has a healthy body image. Having body confidence plays an integral role in one’s self-acceptance, self-worth, and self-confidence. A lack of body confidence can negatively impact one’s day-to-day life.
Before one spends loads of money on special creams and tonics, it is important to note that body confidence is key to looking and feeling good. Here are some things every woman needs to know.
Your body image
What does body image really mean? Sure, everyone can look into a mirror, but is the reflection looking back one’s body image? Well, yes and no. Body image is the way in which a woman perceives her body, regardless of how other people may see it. Body image is not always tied to reality. For example, even if you have the body of a supermodel, if you feel yourself to be ugly and overweight, that is how you will perceive yourself.
Body image can affect almost every aspect of one’s life – from self-worth to external relationships. Those suffering from poor body confidence typically also have problems accepting themselves as they are. Self-acceptance is the key. It doesn’t mean that you think you are perfect, it just means that you do not hate yourself. A woman with good body confidence might be aware that she isn’t perfect, and that there could be reasonable changes for improvement.
Body confidence has been linked to a number of emotional and mental problems, such as anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. Having a poor body image can lead to emotional distress that might eventually contribute to a fear of intimacy, low self-esteem, and hamper personal relationships. In the most severe cases, lack of body confidence has increased the risk of suicide.
Working on body image – on the outside and within
The saying that ‘beauty is only skin deep’ is very well-known, and very true – one’s inner beauty plays a significant role on the outside appearance. However, for many women, this can be hard to remember especially during puberty and development, during pregnancy, after childbirth, or during a break-up. Media and outside images can also affect one’s body image issues. But, just as one can learn to change unhealthy habits to improve the body, there are ways to help improve self-esteem.
From a wellness perspective, positive self-esteem is essential in improving physical attributes. When a woman feels good about herself generally, she is more apt to communicate with others, take on challenges, have good levels of energy, and maintain stable moods. The important thing to remember is that a woman doesn’t have to necessarily change the way she looks in order to feel good about herself – though a fresh haircut or a new color lip gloss can often help!
The first step in improving one’s body confidence is to recognize that no matter what shape or size the body is, it belongs exclusively to that person. Focus on how amazing the body can be – what it can do, not what’s wrong with it and what might need to change. Speak to a doctor to learn what the ideal size and weight is in order to set realistic goals. If there are things that one wants to change, set realistic goals such as an exercise regimen that is easy to stick to or vow to cut back to only one cup of coffee to get started.
Remember, start slow and be realistic. No one will overcome their negative body image issues overnight, but with a little work and positive thinking, anything is possible. If things get serious, it is perfectly acceptable to seek the advice of a professional to develop healthier thinking – which will inevitably lead to a healthier body!