Your body image is how you perceive your physical appearance when you look in the mirror.
DR JOHN DEMARTINI - Updated 1 year ago
At times, what you see and feel when you look in the mirror may not be fully rooted in reality.
You can spend a great deal of time focusing on what you perceive as imperfections of your body rather than focusing on its magnificent balance, which is the true perfection.
Like for magnets their perfection is with two sides or poles.
How does our body image develop?
Your body is designed in a manner that it will be both favorably liked and unfavorably disliked, but not to the extremes.
Your body image can be enhanced and appreciated when you live according to your highest values and maintain a more objective and reasonable expectation on your body image and have an appreciation of yourself and your unique physical form.
Other key factors that can influence your body image (often in a depreciated manner) are unrealistic expectations injected from social media, societal expectations and ideological perceptions of beauty and family and peer pressure.
Depression can be due to making a comparison of your current reality to an unrealistic expectation or fantasy you are holding onto or addicted to.
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How do you know if you have a more reasonable and appreciated body image?
Being grateful for your body and for the multitude of its powerful gifts can make the difference between experiencing wellness or illness in your life.
Having a more balanced body image means appreciating your body for all that it brings. The key to keeping this more balanced outlook is acknowledging that your body is perfect with both favorable and unfavorable aspects.
We all have aspects to our bodies that we both like and dislike and that is the true perfection.
A one-sided only favorable body with only aspects we admire is a bit delusional. Even famous super models have both sides of the body equation.
"The key is to look at the elements in yourself where you have incredible value, attractiveness and appeal and continuously identifying and acknowledging your own magnificence including the aspects that at first seem less than ideal, for even these sides have something to assist you with."
Self-absorption in some form of one-sided beauty is not the answer, but appreciation for both aspects keeps you connecting with others and still appreciative in turn.
How do you know if you have an unreasonable body image?
In today’s social media obsessed world, many people feel pressured to pursue a so-called physical, one-sided false perfection that is simply unattainable.
"The desire for that which is unavailable and the desire to avoid that which is unavoidable is the source of human suffering."
One of the reasons why some people beat themselves up about certain areas of their bodies is because they are comparing themselves to somebody they think is more attractive and who they're 'supposed' to look like.
We then inject the values and ideals of what they look like onto our body and judge ourselves accordingly.
"After working with thousands of people, I am convinced that for every part of our body we don't like there is a complementary opposite part we admire."
If we are putting ourselves down in one area I can guarantee we are proud of another area. We may not like our thighs, but we may admire our eyes.
We may not like the shape of our hips and loins, but we like the shape of our lips and our smile and so on.
Begin to train yourself in becoming grateful for both sides and all parts of your physical body that you currently like and dislike.
Think about your head - How can you be grateful for it? For your hair, scalp, eyes, skin, nose and lips? Ask yourself, ‘How do these liked and disliked aspects serve me just the way they are?'
When you are grateful for all parts of your head, work your way in your mind through your body from head to toe, identifying each and every part inside and outside of you.
Keep asking yourself how that part of your body serves you until you are truly grateful for every part of it.
See your body on the way and not in the way to your most meaningful dreams.
Is it healthy to want to change body shape?
It is important to have a balanced view of your body and not have a false one-sided expectation of what you ‘should’ look like.
When you have an unfavorable body image, the desire to change your body shape is often based on an unrealistic one-sided view of what you ‘should’ look like, rather than appreciating and honoring your body as it is.
The wise thing to do is to compare your life and your own actions to your own dreams.
You’re designed magnificently for your own vision.
Identifying your highest value, inspired mission, to the difference you want to make to the world.
Compare your daily actions to your own values, to have greater fulfillment and achieve further.
What occurs when body image ends up in eating disorders?
When you compare yourself to others, you become infatuated with their perceived physical appearance.
In the process you will end up injecting their values into your life.
You can minimize yourself, creating internal conflict.
This can lead to a body dysmorphia between what you would love to be, do or have physically according to your own highest values.
What you think you ‘should’ be, do or have according to theirs. And your image of yourself can now become affected.
The word ‘dysmorphia’ comes from the words ‘morphia’, which means form.
This unappreciated view of your body can cause a lot of distraction and manifest itself into unwise, volatile behaviors, such as eating disorders, that can result in psychological or physiological illness.
It is wiser to love you as you fully are than trying to get rid of half of yourself.
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