“I look fat today.” “Why am I so bloated all of the time?” “Without makeup I look too tired and old.” “Ugh, I wish I could wear outfits like hers, but I’m too big for them.” All of these, and more, are thoughts that women have on a daily basis. Almost all women, and even men, know the pressures of living up to society’s definition of beauty and how it feels to not always fit that mold. These expectations have caused people of all ages to not have a healthy body image of themselves, and some have become obsessed with becoming what society wants them to look like. The personal care brand Dove found that only 4% of women worldwide believe that they are beautiful. While not all women suffer from body dysmorphia or an eating disorder, many may not realize how skewed their body image truly is. Recently, a video from Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign has been surfacing on my Facebook newsfeed. It is a short 3 minute clip showing women describing the way they look to a sketch artist and then comparing it to a sketch where a stranger describes their looks. The results were unimaginable.
Once both sketches were displayed side-by-side, it was obvious how critical their image of themselves were. Many of the women emphasized their flaws when describing their features while the strangers emphasized the beauty. Watching each woman’s reactions to seeing the comparison, you saw how choked up and in shock they were of just how fault-finding they were of their own body. Even I began to choke up as I myself realized that I hold a too judgmental view of myself and my beauty. NEDA, The National Eating Disorder Association, has published countless articles on improving one’s body image, but one in particular caught my eye; the 10 steps to Positive Body Image. It discusses ways in which we can create healthy minds so we have healthier views on beauty. My favorite step is the first, “Appreciate all that your body can do. Everyday your body is carrying you closer to your dreams.” To me, that realization explains it all; without this healthy body of mine, I would not be able to become the person I want and to have experienced everything that I have done so far. So the next time you look at yourself in the mirror and start to point out your flaws, remind yourself of all the beauty you have and how perfect you are.
If you’re having trouble with body image issues or even self esteem, it might help to talk it over with someone. Give us a call at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando at 407-355-7378 to schedule a free phone consultation with one of our Orlando counselors! Kelli Skorman, would be happy to work with you for Orlando Individual Counseling or Orlando Eating Disorder Counseling. If you have a child who is suffering from low-self esteem, Amy Smith and Jessica Carmean would be happy to work with them for Orlando Children Counseling and Orlando Teen Counseling!
We all go through times of low self-esteem, but with help we can start the road to positivity and satisfaction with ourselves.