WHAT IS BODY IMAGE? How our view toward our body can lead to a negative mindset?
"Body image" is the way that someone perceives their body and assumes that others perceive them. This image is often affected by family, friends, social pressure and the media.
You begin forming your perceptions of your body’s attractiveness, health, acceptability, and functionality in early childhood. This body image continues to form as you age and receive feedback from peers, family member, coaches, etc. Personality traits such as perfectionism and self-criticism can also influence the development of a negative internalized image of your body.
Sometimes body image is negatively impacted by one or more significant events. For example, being teased or bullied as a child for how you looked or being told that you’re ugly, too fat, too thin or having other aspects of your appearance criticized. One thing that has surprised me is the number of my clients that have told me that their negative body issues have come from family members, including parents.
Seeing images or messages in the media (including social media) that make you feel bad about how you look is probably the most common source of negative body feelings.
Body image issues affect a large pool of women. The kind of imagery that surrounds women each day-- whether it be through various media channels, social networks, or pop culture and its references--can make us question our own beauty and self-worth.
Comparing ourselves to others or wishing to change our bodies in order to live up to impossible beauty standards does not lead to happiness. Rather, this kind of negative thinking discourages self-love.
Here are the thoughts of our two recent clients, Vanessa & Hannah:
What it has influenced the most in a negative way my body image has been 2 things:
One was growing up in a dance world where there were certain expectations of how your body should look. Also listening to my friends and teachers talking about dieting, weight and the importance of being thin when I was totally the opposite.
Back in the day we didn’t have social media but TV and magazines would be showing the idealistic beauty, making me have negative feelings about my skin color, size and other physical features. And I grew up with those feelings until finally one day I realized that there was more of myself than just worrying about how I should look in order to fit society’s mold.
And so I learned to recognize more of my qualities, strengths and things that make me feel good about myself beyond my physical appearance.
One of the things that influenced me to learn and have a positive body image was doing things that made me feel good such as exercising, Yoga and meditation. I realized that doing so helped me to recognize and appreciate all the amazing things that my body does for me every day.
It was a great self-esteem booster for and I started to believe that life is so much more than just the way we look. I began to feel mentally confident about my whole self and I choose to feel mentally healthy and happy and celebrate my shape and size and to opt for confidence because after all, confidence is sexy!
2) To me doing a boudoir session was getting myself out of my comfort zone because I used to find it intimidating but I always had the curiosity of doing one. Until finally I was brave enough and decided to do it. I was lucky enough to find an amazing photographer who made me feel very comfortable to the point that I was just having fun with it.
And I think that’s the most important thing! Doing this boudoir session was such a great self-esteem booster for me because I never saw myself in a set up like that and I was quite impressed with the way I looked in the pictures.
I felt gorgeous, sexy, strong and it made me have even more appreciation for my body the way it is. And that’s such an empowering feeling!
1) So the things that have influenced by body image has been a wide variety of things, from watching movies as a kid and seeing the skinny girls being the pretty ones. Being told by family members that I was the bigger one of the cousins because I didn’t participate in sports like everyone else did. I really ingrained in myself that I had to be as skinny as possible to be pretty.
I have since, and on the daily, been practicing to just be happy that my body has carried me to the place I am in today. Mom to a beautiful 3 year old, making it to 28 and having plenty more years to come.
I focus now on making sure that my body is just healthy, I work on making my body a strong foundation for the years to come. Working out, eating healthier and not worrying too much what I look like.
2) Doing a boudoir session really helped me see myself from another angle and see the beauty and strength that I’ve been working on. Seeing the progress of myself growing into the person I am meant to be. I can’t wait to see how much more confident I’ve become since our last session next one is coming up soon!
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