Author (original Greek version): Vivi Katsarou
Translation: Harriet Spala
Do you like your body? Do you feel comfortable or are you trying to hide it under large sized clothes because you feel ashamed? “Body image” is a multidimensional concept regarding appearance issues but also includes the perception one may have for their body. It’s a subjective matter because this perception may be totally different and usually more negative compared to the opinion of others.
Body image is not a superficial issue as many may believe it to be. On the contrary, it gives basic information about our identity. Body image plays a major part regarding self esteem and that in turn plays a major part to our psychological health. A person with positive self-understanding may positively evaluate his/her body image. If someone has low self esteem, he/she could be sensitive regarding issues that have to do with his/her external appearance. A perfectionist on the other hand, may value highly his/her self only if his body image is close to an ideal image.
The body image perception, that anyone may have affects how happy that person can be. When we have a good opinion about our body, we accept it and we respect it. Furthermore we protect it from unrealistic norms and archetypes. We are happier! People, who have a distorted body image, feel ashamed, aversion or disgust for themselves. Women who feel that their body is not attractive enough could fall even to depression.
It is pretty normal not to feel satisfied with certain parts of our bodies and we might wish to change them. This type of worry is not a problem if it isn’t a source of annoyance on a daily basis or on a large scale. When however, they reduce the quality of life and become a barrier to our social life then this worry becomes a real problem.
If one is not happy with their body image, there are two things he/she can do. As our physical features cannot change we have to accept them as they are. Physical features that can change can be improved if we first go through the process of acceptance. What does that refer to? It refers to our body weight and to be more precise, in achieving a healthy body weight. To do this one has to accept first his/her body as it is, to love it and respect it! Remember that we will spend our entire lives in it – it’s our permanent home!
Caution though! Acceptance is not compromise. We don’t have to like our body weight. Our body is not just a pile of kilos and we mustn’t see it that way. It’s obvious that without it we would not even exist! There are a thousand reasons to love our body as it is. As we accept it and take more care of it, change and improvement follow. Just like a flower! As long as we take care of the flower, we water it, we regularly change the earth in its pot and it grows, it becomes beautiful! The same way if we eat healthy food, in proper portions, we drink lots of water and we do not give in excess, the more our body improves, becomes beautiful and the more we feel comfortable and happy! In case you feel you do need improvement regarding your body image but don’t know how to properly improve your body image perception, do not hesitate to visit a specialist (psychologist) as every help towards happiness counts!