Your body image is the way you see yourself and your body. Sometimes this can be very different to how other people see you. No one looks in the mirror and thinks “I’m Perfect!” We all have our wobbly bits or imperfections that we wish we could change. It is ok to want to look your best, or to be the best you can – but remember no one is ever perfect. We all look around at each other and wish we could be a bit more like them…
Worrying about your body or having a negative body image is not about vanity. You could just be having a bad day / week or even a bad month where you are feeling ‘meh.’ If you are feeling down on yourself you may:-
• worry about how you look a lot
• feel as if it is important to look good because this says something about your value as a person
• dislike the way you look
• feel as if you are worthless because of how you look
• try and change the way you look in expensive or dramatic ways
• buy clothes you don’t need because they make you feel better about yourself
We might also start to feel that, if we changed our appearance, we could have a ‘perfect’ life. It’s easy to forget this is just an illusion. Studies show that we are much more dissatisfied with our own appearance after being shown TV ads featuring exceptionally slim and beautiful people.
Magazine photographs of super-thin models can promote feeling of depression, stress, guilt, shame, insecurity and body-dissatisfaction. The things that we see in print or the media have been altered to perfection. If you saw your favourite celebrity on a week day in a supermarket they would look nothing like that picture in the magazine. Images are often airbrushed and what you see in the media is rarely completely real.
Be more critical of what you see in the media and less critical of yourself.
It can be really hard to see past the airbrushing, the fake tan, the plastic surgery or the full time stylist. There are things you can do to help yourself.
• Think about how media and social media makes you feel. It’s ok to stop following someone (or take a break from social media) if you’re finding it makes you upset or unhappy.
• Try and stay aware of how you feel when you are reading magazines or looking at adverts. Are you making comparisons?
• Make a list of your achievements and everything you like about yourself (not just about how you look!).
• Most of us remember insults and reject compliments. Next time someone pays you a compliment, say thank you and try to remember it. Writing the compliment in a diary on the date it was said can help.
• Is there anyone in your life who puts you down or makes you feel bad about yourself? Do you really need them as a friend?
• Recognise when you are being negative about yourself and putting yourself down. It’s easy to get caught up in insulting yourself.
• Talk to people around you about how you feel.
• If you’re finding that negative body image is taking over your life, or making you very upset, you might want to get some more help. Talk to someone you trust, look for support online or talk to your Doctor. (Link to Going to the Doctors page.)
Need a body confidence boost? Rise Above has tips, videos, quizzes, celeb stories and more to help boost your body confidence.
Be Unique is a local campaign run by North Youth Lincolnshire Youth Council. It focuses on ways to improve Body Image. The top 10 tips of the campaign are:-
• Don’t focus on what other people’s bodies are like.
• Do focus on the things that you like about your appearance.
• Each day, say one thing that you like about yourself.
• Focus on accomplishments that have to do with who you are as a person, not what you look like.
• Understand that things we see in print or in the media have been altered to perfection, everything is not as it seems.
• You don’t need validation from anyone else to feel good about yourself.
• No one is perfect, so embrace that you have differences and love the things that make you unique.
• Surround yourself with people who support you and make you feel good about yourself.
• Do things that make you happy.
• Love yourself the way you are right now, not what or who you could be.
Realise your body is amazing – regardless of what you think about it. It is the coolest, most sophisticated and beautiful piece of kit you will ever own.
Get to know it and make the most of it…
Rise Above – Body confidence boost
Interactive site with tips, videos, quizzes, celeb stories and more to help boost your body confidence.
This Girl Can – National campaign to inspire girls and women to get active, no matter how well they do it, how they look or even how red their face gets!
Body Gossip – Charity that inspires people to be creative and proud their bodies and what makes them unique! Read and share inspiring stories.
SYEDA – Local charity that helps anyone who feels that their relationship with food or body image dominates their lives. Men, women, girls, boys, young and old, all access our services.
Beat – UK eating disorder charity which can help you work out if you may have an eating disorder and offers support.
NHS Choices – Ways to identify and raise your self-esteem.
Childline – 5 top tips to help you feel better about yourself.
North Lincolnshire Young Voice 01724 298440 / 296384
Email – Young.firstname.lastname@example.org