Body images are made up perceptions of what our bodies are to us. Who makes these perceptions up? We do, the media does, our friends, etc. Depending on how we perceive our bodies can greatly affect our self esteem or how we honestly, sincerely feel about ourselves.
What is a healthy body image? It is an image that is real to begin with.
What is an image? The Dictionary defines image as “ a likeness of someone or something in the form of a picture or statue”.
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Where we get into trouble is when we have an unrealistic image of our bodies. In these instances, we tend to see what we want to see, and refuse to see what is so. When this happens, we seem to have blinders on, and we let our imagination run wild with what is possible.
A healthier more positive way to look at this is to acknowledge our bodies as they are. If our body is overweight, very thin, under toned, overly muscular, etc then tell the truth about what is so. If we don’t like the way our bodies look then use creative visualization to help in visualizing a new body that really works for us.
Creative visualization is not daydreaming, or wishing, or hoping. It is a mental tool to help with the creating of something new in one’s life.
For example: My body now weighs 205 pounds. I would like it to weigh 180 pounds. I am now using creative visualization to visualize my body weighing 180 pounds. How would I feel at this weight? What would I be doing differently? How much more energy would I have? I spend time every day with these questions just imagining how I would feel.
Another tool to help with creating a new positive body image and to increasing self esteem is to use an affirmation poster. An affirmation poster is simply a poster board with positive affirmations on it. It usually is used for one’s life, however, it can be used in this situation just for one’s body.
Poster boards can be picked up at the local drugstore, pharmacy or art supply center for just a couple of dollars. Pick out your favorite color. A glue stick and scissors are a must. Examples of positive affirmations are:
Put these affirmations on the poster board either by writing directly on the poster board, or by writing on your computer in a program like WORD. You can change the font size, and or style however you like, before printing it out onto regular paper or use colored paper instead.
Another way is to use affirmations and pictures from old magazines on your poster board. Find pictures you like of the body you want and cut them out. Put affirmations besides these pictures.
As you can see, body images, are just perceptions of what our bodies are to us. If for any reason, we don’t like what we see, then we have the means to change our bodies.
If we genuinely like our bodies, then this has no effect on our self esteem. If we don't like our bodies and are prone to be self-critical or self-judging, then our self esteem drops.
We must forgive ourselves and make positive changes. With positive changes comes an immediate boost to our self esteem.