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Embrace The Mirror, Remember, Each Body Type Is Different

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We are living in a society that promotes unrealistic body goals. In this world of social media, it is almost impossible to not get caught up in comparing ourselves to these unrealistic standards.

Before we proceed, ask yourself these 10 questions:

  1. Do you find yourself obsessing about one or more body part wishing you could change it?
  2. Do you constantly seek reassurances about your appearance from others?
  3. Have you ever cancelled a social event, meeting, etc. because of the way you look?
  4. Do you compare yourself to others on the basis of looks?
  5. Do you constantly find yourself attempting to hide the “flaw(s)” by means of make-up, clothes or styling?
  6. Do you feel that your relationship with your friends/partner would be better if you looked different?
  7. Do you feel that you would be more successful if you could change the way you look?
  8. Do people around you disagree with you on your perceived flaw about your appearance?
  9. Do you envy the body of a friend, relative, celebrity?
  10. Do you find yourself over restricting your diet or over-exercising to change the way you look?

If you find yourself answering yes to one or more of the above questions you may be suffering from what we can term as Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a mental disorder where self-comparison to the body standards leads one to obsess about one or more perceived flaws in their appearance leading to anxiety, depression, anger and self-loathing.

 

What is ?Body Image

Body Image starts developing in childhood. It starts with the society’s perception of attractiveness, health, beauty, etc. and it progresses with age and receives feedback from peers, family, members, coaches, etc. and only gets exaggerated by social media.

Body image issues can impact us all and can start at as early as six years. It is alarming because apart from impacting mental wellness adversely, leading to isolation and depression, it also leads to substance abuse as well as eating disorders in the form of Anorexia, Bulimia, Overeating or stress eating.

It starts with the society’s perception of attractiveness, health, beauty, etc. and it progresses with age and receives feedback from peers, family, members, coaches, etc. and only gets exaggerated by social media.

Embracing your Body Type

While most of us might be victims of body image issues, it is imperative that we take a look at the other side of the coin – are we causing it in others or simply put, are we body shaming others? Each time we make a remark consciously or unconsciously to someone on the basis of their looks, we are contributing to the development of a poor body image in them. Most of the times these remarks passed as a joke, without a second thought, but this can stay with the person. It can make the subject scrutinize their appearance to the extent of forming a negative relationship with their body. Not only this, constant remark about appearance, complexion, weight or comparison with others in front of children lays down the foundation of developing a negative body image.

Each time we make a remark consciously or unconsciously to someone on the basis of their looks, we are contributing to the development of a poor body image.

It is the need of the hour that we start looking at ourselves and others as a whole and not on the basis of our appearance. Each individual has positive qualities which is what needs to be embraced and used to develop a positive attitude.

A few steps that can be taken to develop a positive body image are:

  • Make a list of all your positive qualities and remind yourself of them every day. Remember, that’s what defines who you are.
  • Embrace the mirror; do not shy away from the way you look. Remember, each body type is different.
    Surround yourself with positive people.
  • Make relationships on the basis of attitude, values and qualities rather than how the other person looks.
  • Do not indulge in body shaming, even as a joke and stop others from doing so.
  • Avoid excessive social media or beauty magazines. Most of these are highly edited pictures.

  • Focus on health. Exercise to improve your fitness levels. Eat healthy instead of crash dieting.
  • Manage your stress and work on achieving emotional stability. This can be done by means of picking up a hobby, meditation or even ensuring you are getting enough rest.
  • Be confident of who you are, work on improving yourself every day.
  • Give back to society in whatever way you can.
  • It’s time that we stop trying to turn heads by the way we look; we need to start turning heads by the beauty of our souls.

Shweta Rai Bajaj is a Certified Fitness Professional & National Director of Ms fitness India. The views expressed are the author’s own.

Feature image: Samuel Zeller, Unsplash