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Dealing with body image issues: Here are the essentials Do's and Don'ts

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

There’s a reason we “love ourselves” and it has to do with something self-care. We need to take care of the way that we feel about our bodies, so that we can be healthy and happy. This includes how you think about yourself, how you talk about yourself, how you treat your body (through what you eat and drink as well as staying active), and other aspects of your life.

It might sound like a lot of work, but it’s understandable that when somebody says they have self-image issues many people shrug because we don't often talk about them openly or consider them commonplace. However, as many people struggle with them as those who don’t.


You may not even know that you have an image problem if you don’t know what self-image issues are. Just like anything else, it requires some level of understanding to know what’s going on and how to fix it. In this article we will cover everything about self-image issues including the effects it has on your life in addition to how to deal with them.


What is self-image?

Self-image is exactly that: the image you have of yourself in your own mind or through other people’s eyes. It is you, yourself, and your body. You are the lens through which you see your own body and its size or other physical attributes.


The way you see yourself is affected by a number of things that you have little control over, but there are some things you can do to help improve aspects of it.


What are some effects of self-image?

There are a number of general effects of not having a good self-image that can affect your life in many ways.


1. Social:

The way you see yourself can affect the way others see you, and that has an impact on your social life. This means you may be shyer overall which may make it harder to connect with people and join groups. Some physical attributes are easy to notice, but others are more subtle; sometimes it takes someone else to point something out before you can notice it yourself without support.


2. Health related:

Your self-image will also affect your health if it’s negative. For example, if you think you’re fat and unattractive then you might skip the gym because you don't want to be seen. On the other hand, if you think of yourself as strong and fit then you will be encouraged to get up and get active.


3. Career/Educational:

This one is a little harder to see, but a bad self-image can affect how far in your career or school work you go or how motivated you are to do it. If things aren’t going well at home or your personal life is not up to par it may directly affect education or your career.


4. Relationships:

There are many relationships and closeness issues that can come from lack of self-image. Even if you think you’re attractive, fashion savvy, and socially savvy, once you begin to see yourself as unattractive or lacking in those areas, it can cause you to shy away from others. It can be hard to maintain good relationships since nobody wants to put up with someone who doesn't approve of them. There are a number of ways this can manifest itself in your life such as not being able to have intimate relationships because it is just too difficult for you to see yourself as attractive enough.


Almost every aspect of your life will be affected by how you view yourself and your body. As you can see, it’s not a small issue but one that most people will grapple with at some point in their lives whether they are aware of it or not. We need to make sure that we work on our self-image so that we can stay healthy and happy overall.


Do's to improve your self image

It’s okay to work on your self-image. Everybody is going to go through things in their life, whether it may be a bad job, a move, or breakups. But it's important to remember that this is something you can work on and fix as well. You don’t have to stay stuck in that place forever. In order to improve your self-image you should take the following steps:


1. Getting some perspective - It might seem far fetched at first, but taking a step back and looking at the situation with some perspective can help you see things more clearly. You can look at the big picture of your life and see how the small things are taken out of proportion.


2. Talking to someone - The second step is to reach out to somebody that you trust such as a family member, friend, or even therapist. It’s important that you don’t keep this within yourself because it will only keep festering and cause more issues for you. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength and courage . By talking about it with someone else, you can get feedback from them so you know where your problem areas are.


3. Getting positive reinforcement - The third step is also one that might seem a little strange or counterintuitive. You need to surround yourself with good people and positive people in order to feel good about yourself. Aiming to act the way you want others to act towards you will help you grow as a person.


4. Changing your perception of physical attributes - Don’t let your life or the things happening around you affect how you decide what you are like as a person; it will only make things worse for you in the long run. Take an objective look at yourself and see if there is anything that can be changed.


5. Telling yourself you are good enough - You are worthy of the love, respect, and kindness you want to feel from the people in your life. It’s okay to give yourself compliments and tell yourself that you are good enough.


6. Overcoming negative self-talk - There is no need to beat yourself up over something that happened in the past; it’s okay not to be perfect, but it’s also okay to be honest about your mistakes. Admitting when you make a mistake will take the power away from what happened so that it won’t have such a big impact on who you are as a person.


Don'ts for protecting your self image

Here are some strict No-Nos when you’re working to improve your self image.


1. Don’t surround yourself with negative people - We already talked about the importance of surrounding yourself with positive people, but it's important to focus on avoiding negative people as well. Even if they knew you before you started having a self-image problem, it is still better to avoid them because they will only cause you more pain.



2. Don’t judge yourself - Don’t punish yourself for something that happened in the past. It will just make you feel worse about yourself and you won’t be able to change your situation. Try not to let things slip, but don’t beat yourself up over them either; this will only hurt you in the long run.


3. Don’t make assumptions - Sometimes people are really good at reading others and they can get a lot of insight into what a person is thinking without their permission. When this happens, it can lead to a lot of unnecessary criticism and hurtful words coming from someone else that can cause more problems than solving them.


4. Don’t compare yourself - It’s okay to be you, but not okay to be someone else. If someone is doing something that brings you down, try to look at it from a different perspective and see how silly it really is or let it go.


Takeaway

The main takeaway here should be that everyone is going to go through problems in their life and they are not always going to be easy to solve. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try, but that you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it either. Having a low self-image can cause a lot of problems in your personal life and also at work. It can prevent you from succeeding, having good relationships, and reaching your full potential in whatever you are trying to do. If you have very low self-image issues then it's important for you to seek out help from a professional therapist who can give you the insight and tools necessary to improve your self image.


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