Is Self Esteem Dictated By Body Image?
Is it true that our body image is closely connected to our self esteem? Is it the case that how we feel about our body controls how we feel about ourselves in general? Is improving your body image the key to building your self esteem?
Self esteem is all about how we think of ourselves. A person with high or normal self esteem recognizes that they have value as a person. While you are aware that there are things you can work on, you focus on making people see what you can do well. You are willing to take full accountability for whatever happens to you. They believe that it is in their power to create a good life for themselves, no matter what physical or mental qualities they have been born with.
But looking at the flip side of the coin, people with low self esteem see little to no value in who they are. They do not feel they are in control of what happens to them. You would be the type who is overly self-depreciating, focusing on your weaknesses and the things you cannot do. It would also be common to blame others for bad luck or things not going right. If your self-esteem is low, you would be someone who thinks that being unhappy is a way of life – the status quo for your everyday existence.
Of course the body is a large part of who we are. Therefore, it is clear that body image and self esteem must have a close connection. People with low self esteem commonly have a low personal opinion of their bodily structure. The pros are ignored, as they look at the cons of their body structure. Changing this body structure to them would be impossible. They may be attractive in a certain way, but they would always downplay this, focusing on self-depreciation instead.
When a person is complimented, you can see the above statements ring true. Let us assume a man walks up to a bar and tells the lady next to him she has nice legs. A woman with plenty of self esteem will react to the compliment by thinking, “OK, so it sounds like people think I have nice legs. I should make the most of them by choosing clothes that show them off.”
Women with low self esteem would immediately laugh the comment off and think something like “Oh, I’ve heard that before…he’s just trying to get in the sack with me.” Or, “Why doesn’t he say something nice about my face? Am I so ugly that all he can find to compliment me on is my legs?”
If you’re too fat, or too thin, body image and self esteem may be connected to one another. An example of distorted body image is found in many anorexics, who often believe they are fat when they are actually underweight for their height. But all that slimming down to unhealthy levels won’t be able to make them believe they can look good.
Yet, anorexics make up a small percentage of those people who think they are fatter or uglier than they are. Remember when you were a teenager? Most teenagers have low self esteem at one time or another, and it is very common for teens to believe they are too fat or too skinny, or just plain ugly.
But if you look back on photos of yourself as a teenager after 10 years or more, you will see that in fact, you were fine. With that kind of distance, you can see your good points. So take the time to see your good points in the present, too.
What we think when we look in the mirror has a big effect on how we see ourselves and our lives. Anybody wanting to improve their self esteem will take a big step forward by working on any negative feelings that they have about their body, because body image and self esteem do have a very close connection.