Body image is a complicated issue, but don't worry! As a boudoir photographer, body image is an area of expertise for me! I have written this piece to explain the many factors that contribute to body image, and it has very little to do with how your body actually looks! Read on to find out how to boost your self-esteem for good!
**CW- body image, weight loss, family trauma**
Factor #1- Your Family Environment
Think back to your younger years and your family interactions. What conversations do you remember about bodies or weight? Did any family members make comments to you about your physical appearance?
Your family, and your interactions with them, hold the key to some of your deepest feelings about your body. Ready for some real transformation? Dig deep into your childhood experiences, and unlearn that negative self-talk. This can be achieved through meditation, therapy, research, or a combination of these.
Just remember, completely changing your body-image won't happen over night. Be patient with yourself, and try to remember all of the beliefs that you are holding onto that are not your own.
Factor #2- Cultural Background
Specifically, American mainstream pop culture.
The material that is mass distributed in our nation, like it or not, consistently favors a few specific "types" of women. I believe it is safe to say that most of the female main characters in our favorite movies and TV shows are rarely plus-sized. They sport an hourglass figure, luscious plump lips, and long sexy hair. Does that sound like the everyday woman to you? I think not.
Now, who do you adore more- Angelina Jolie or your best friend?
Obviously, your best friend right? Well, there you have it. You value what is real much more than the ideal of beauty that you see on the movie screen.
Your best friend is beautiful. She can rock her favorite outfit like no other and you love her body simply because she is in it! Are you ready to feel the same way about yourself?
Factor #3- Social Media
Yes, our most loved and most hated obsession has an insidious way of affecting our body image. Think about the influencers that have the most followers. Think about the content they create.
While social media has helped body positivity activists reach wider audiences and spread their message, it has also consistently favored content that supports the established beauty standard.
Does your favorite influencer seem just a bit too perfect? Well, that's because you are viewing her curated feed! In reality, she has bad hair days and uneven skin, too. If your favorite influencers are detrimental to your body-image, then maybe it's time for some new ones!
Factor #4- Your THOUGHTS about your body
Notice I didn't say your actual body! Only your thoughts.
That's right, your body image doesn't live in your thighs. It lives in that big hunk of grey matter bobbling around on your neck! And trust me when I say, your thighs are the cuter ones in this example.
The good news is, anyone can make improvements to their self-esteem without dieting or exercising. That's because the thing that really needs to change, isn't your body at all.
Factor #5- The attitudes of your peers.
It's a fact. The thoughts and feelings of your peers can have a big effect on how you see yourself! Do your friends constantly speak negatively about themselves or you?
It's important to communicate with your friends and peers when you embark on a self-love journey. Make sure you let friends know that you are not comfortable with disparaging self-talk anymore. Explain that you have made a decision to learn to love yourself more and that you need their support.
This one is so important that we created a Facebook group dedicated to women on a journey to better body image! Have you joined our supportive community yet? CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE BARE BABES LOUNGE NOW!