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Body Image - How Can We Learn to Love Ourselves

Arianna Pal, 9F

Body image is the way you look at your body in the mirror, the way you imagine your body in your head, or the way you assume that others perceive your body. This image often gets affected by negative comments and bullying, but not only.

The internet has been a big source of negativity since the 2000s, when more people began to have access to it. Since then, with the new standards created, people began being insecure about their body and wanting to become something else, something that they weren’t.

Since the 19th century, people began to judge other people and body image-ing started to be more common. Though, it seems like judging and forcing other people to change their appearance has been around for much longer, as it began with the ancient Greeks. They believed that a beautiful person had to have a harmonious proportion of facial features. Some say that the only ones considered beautiful were the gods.

As much as you might think it is not “that big of a deal”, percentages calculated recently say otherwise. Approximately 91% of the women are unhappy with their bodies and choose to have a diet to achieve their dream body. Only 5% of the women naturally possess the body type portrayed by Americans in the media, in Romania it being a much lower percentage. 58% of college-aged girls are pressured to keep an eye and maintain a certain weight. In a survey, more than 40% of the women and about 20% of the men agreed they would consider cosmetic surgery in the future. Body image has recently been a real issue especially among all kinds of ambiguous developing eating disorders and bad self-esteem. If that doesn’t seem bad enough, 95% of the people with eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25, only 10% seeking professional help. It seems that body image can be bought nowadays, due to cosmetic surgeries being available to everyone. In my opinion, people should learn to love themselves and their bodies without any surgeries.

Nevertheless, the start of the 21st century created a shift towards celebrating diverse body types in the media and in the fashion industry. In 2015, Robyn Lawley was the first plus-size model featured in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue. Last year, reality show Project Runway included models ranging from size 0 to 22 for the first time in history.

How can we stop creating a bad image of ourselves?

Find inspiring people that you can relate to. Learn from others that see life the same as you, which means don’t try to compare a celebrity’s life to yours – you will end up being discouraged, due to different lifestyles. Trying to understand a person’s lifestyle that is completely different from yours can create insecurities and you would start asking yourself “What makes me different from this person?”, when there are millions of things that make each one of us different and unique.

Delete the social media you have grown accustomed to,

As much as being in touch with the drama seems like a “must”, especially in our days, it can damage our originality and make us not love ourselves as we should.

Stop comparing yourself to others. We all are unique and we need to realize that just because we are different doesn’t mean we aren’t quality human beings. People achieve success and fail at different rates.

Laugh at yourself. If you trip over your feet or realize your shirt is inside out, don’t worry and don’t make it a big deal. Mistakes happen and it’s what makes us, well… us!

Be less judgmental. Don’t judge someone if you aren’t ready to be judged yourself.

And lastly, smile more! Your smile looks great on you.

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