Body Image & Self Esteem
I’ve been plagued for a couple days with thoughts about body image and how it impacts self esteem.
Today, I find that my daughter and many in her peers group (college age) struggle with body image. “I’m too fat” or “just a few more pounds before I feel pretty” or “I can’t wear that, eat that, do that, be that because I’m too fat, skinny, ugly…” and so on.
And the problem isn’t just with young women! Young men want to be stronger; they feel compelled to work-out more, eat less, and find ways to measure their progress. Girls asking them out? No? Should probably work out more. Yes? Should probably keep working out to ensure I can keep my present girlfriend. Pimples, scars, body hair – ANY of it can be used to gouge at one’s self esteem – any of it can tank a body image. 😦
There was a time when my self esteem was very directly tied to how many heads I turned and how many dates I was asked out on. I needed my jeans to fit a specific way (& in the 80s that meant TIGHT). My hair had to be streaked blond and big big big. Make-up on or else I wouldn’t leave the house (or at that time, my military dorm room). And come the summer? Bathing suit shopping was a nightmare because this bump or that lump showed too much (strangely enough, I look back on old photos of me then and I can’t even see the issues that I thought were so damning).
Truth was my body image was shit and my self esteem followed it. And once you’re there, it takes deliberate daily work to break that habit and find another self image…
So today, in a small effort to begin to make a change to that, I’ve made a photo that can be printed and pasted on every mirror, every refrigerator, every bedroom wall. Yes I know it’s a girl — I will make one for guys too 🙂
It captures my feelings perfectly and I hope it can bring some body images (and self esteems) into balance.
Please comment on techniques you’ve used to accept your body, to silence the negative self talk, or ways in which you’re winning in the struggle with body image or self esteem. Blogs and websites that you found helpful would also be great. Or better still … tell me what you did with the picture (mine is hanging in my bathroom) 🙂
For all the guys out there … I’d hate to see you with that lovely girl stuck on your mirror 😛 Here is the promised pic for you (AND I am working on a third that’s universal) … STAY TUNED 🙂