2019’s Mental Health Awareness week topic this year is Body Image. Today I’m going to talk to you about what ‘Body Image’ is and tell you ‘My Body Image Story’.
So what is Body Image?
Body Image by definition is a person’s perception of the aesthetics of their physical appearance. It is basically the way a person views themselves, and most of the time how society has set a standard that an individual has to ‘live up to.’ It can be detrimental to your mental health as it has psychological effects and physical effects on a person.
Body Image in Media
So how has the Media contributed to our body image expectations? Over the years the media has been highly criticized for creating false body expectations that cause body image problems in people of all ages. Massive companies such as Barbie and Disney Princesses have been slammed for showing unrealistic bodies on their female characters, many people have tried to create links between rises in Eating disorders and other body image complications in response to playing with Barbie dolls or watching Disney Princess movies as a child.
How Body Image affects people?
These amazing diagrams from the HereToHelp website are absolutely brilliant and very accurate on how our body image affects our mental health and self-esteem.
My Body Image Story
I’m well versed in using the phrase ‘uncomfortable in my own skin’. I think it was around the time I started high school that I became more aware of ‘body image’ and how I felt about the way that I look. Before that I can only recall one experience and it was in primary school around age 7.
I remember unchanging for a PE (Physical Education) lesson and another pupil asking me about the scar across my stomach. I’d never really noticed it until then, it had never occurred to me that nobody else had one. Obviously, this experience put that thought into my head and I spent the rest of my school education trying to hide it. Especially when I got to high school when ‘cropped tops’ became a trend, you wouldn’t catch me dead wearing one of those. Up until now, I’d spent the rest of my life unsure about this one scar, I haven’t known the full reason for it.
When I was born with duplicate bowel, which required surgery when I was a week old, I have to accept this and know that it is part of who I am, I can’t change that and I will learn to live it.
I’ve always been slim framed and short but that doesn’t mean that I’m not a victim of body shaming. In my lifetime, I’ve been told I’m ‘too skinny’, ‘too small’ or ‘too short’. I don’t diet or have any specific eating requirement as of now. (I would like to become vegan and I am taking steps to get there.) I do Yoga which you can read about here but besides that, I am fairly active and eat however and whatever I please. I’ve even had people ask me if I have an eating disorder before which really bugged me. Not because there is a problem with having one but I do not, I’ve not always had a healthy relationship with food, I don’t eat ‘healthy’ and I don’t stick to intended meal plans or times but I do not have an eating disorder and people shouldn’t assume that I do.
Other people’s assumptions and hurtful comments affect the way I view myself. It is not uncommon. I have alway’s been my worst critic when it comes to my appearance and I’m sure many of you understand what I mean by that. I always find that somebody else’s comments hurt much more than my own.
Stop judging. Be kind to others, be kind to yourself. You are beautiful inside and out.
What is your Body Image story?
I really hope you’ve enjoyed this post and that you are feeling inspired to share your Body Image Story. I will be posting a new post every day for the next week for Mental Health Awareness Week! I hope you all are well and join me on raising awareness for Mental Health.
If anyone would like to chat about Mental Health I am always available. You can contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via any of my social media’s. I am not a professional and I cannot offer you professional advice. I can offer a listening ear and help you seek help if need be. All conversations will be 100% confidential and I will not judge you in any way. I would hate for anybody to feel alone, you are not alone. I am here for you.
I have wrote a blog post for everyday of the week for Mental Health Awareness week, each day covering a different topic. Tommorow’s blog post is now available here.
The Topic is: Anxiety Crisis Kit